October, Domestic Violence Awareness Month, ended a couple of days ago leaving us with sobering data about the prevalence of family abuse in the USA, which we present through our list 11 states that have highest domestic violence rates in America. While the rate of family violence in the USA has decreased during last ten years (from 5.1 per 1,000 in 2005 to 4.2 per 1,000 in 2014), the number of victims who experience abuse in their homes is still alarming. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner which means that more than 10 million women and men are victims of physical violence annually. Moreover, the last available data shows that the rate of female homicide is 1.09 per 100,000 women. You can read our list 11 Countries with the Highest Rates of Domestic Violence in the World to compare the USA with other countries.
The majority of surveys show that women are more often than men victims of domestic abuse. The report Intimate Partner Violence, 1993-2010, which offers a comprehensive overview of gender, age, and ethnicity of victims, shows that 5,9 women per 1,000 were victims of intimate violence, compared to 1.1 men. However, the number of male victims isn’t negligible, and in recent years a number of NGOs have warned that men suffer family abuse more often than is commonly assumed. For instance, the study of CDC showed that more men than women were victims of physical violence in 2010 (5,365,000 men suffered physical abuse compared to 4,741,000 women). However, the same study showed that women are more often than men victims of severe physical violence. Men suffered more psychological and verbal aggression (calling men “losers” is a common form of verbal aggression), as well as control of reproductive/ sexual health. Moreover, compared to female victims, male victims are more often subjected to public stigma when they report abuse because of gender stereotypes which assign men role of stronger sex.
Intimate Partner Violence also shows that women aged between 25 and 34 are the most vulnerable, followed by the age group between 18 and 24. In regards to race and ethnicity of victims, throughout years African American women have been most often victimized. Finally, violence is the most prevalent in households with children, some estimates show that one in 15 children are exposed to domestic violence each year, and 90 percent of these children witness the violence. This is especially alarming if we have in mind the fact that behavior patterns which children observe during formatting years leave strong marks on their future development. Although violence is a complex phenomenon which can’t be explained only by traumatic events from childhood, abuse experienced or witnessed during first years of life influences boys to become prone to aggressive behavior in adult years and girls to engage in abusive relationships.
Domestic violence rate per state is hard to determine for a number of reasons. First, not every incident of domestic violence is being reported. Additionally, available data estimates the number of victims relying on different criteria and sources (some use estimates provided by NGOs, others rely on official police data). We created the list of 11 States that have Highest Domestic Violence Rates in America using two sources – analysis When Men Murder Women, which presents the rates of female homicides per state in 2013, and National Census of Domestic Violence Services, which presents the number of person who sought help from local domestic program on September 17, 2013. Unfortunately, there’s isn’t much data on domestic violence committed by women against men, which is why we had to rely only on these two sources.
Using National Census we created the list of domestic violence rates per 100,000 by states on the day when Census was conducted and we ranked countries by this criterion. We also ranked states using as criteria female homicide rate per 100,000, presented by analysis When Men Murder Women. We compared two rankings to create average rankings. Some countries have the same average ranking, so the order in which they are presented on this list is based on the female homicide rate. For instance, Missouri and Arizona have same average rank – 18. However, since female homicide rate is higher in Arizona than in Missouri, Arizona occupies a higher position than Missouri on our list. Finally, when we compare ranking based on the publication When Men Murder Women, and ranking based on the National Census of Domestic Violence, we see that some countries rank similarly on two lists, and others don’t. Because of this reason, and the fact that National Census shows statistics only for one day in the year, we advise you to bear in mind that presented list may not reflect the actual state of domestic violence across the USA.