What Will It Take to Stop Violence Against Women?

My lord, it’s a privilege opining in this spot week after week. But periodically I get a hankering to dig deeply into meaty and underreported issues, so that I can return with something more informed to say. In collaboration with broadcast journalist Maria Hinojosa’s The Futuro Media Group, we’ve landed a seed grant to do just that. I’ll return to blogging in April. 

The topic is one on which I’ve written here with passion: violence against women, which House Republicans don’t seem to believe merits a law. In all its forms, this is an epidemic that impoverishes and scars on women and their families in ways that can last generations. A few years ago, Hinojosa and I discovered that we were both passionate about telling the untold stories—and exploring the potential policy solutions—of this ongoing public health emergency.

While our country has come a long way in the decades since advocates first introduced the concepts of "domestic violence," "no means no," "sexual harassment," and "marital rape," there’s still farther to go. Every day, mainstream news outlets cover individual instances of gendered violence, or report on new laws or statistics. And yet reporting has not kept up with shifts in the issue. Consider:

  • More than three U.S. women are killed each day by an intimate partner.
  • Every two and a half minutes, someone in the United States is sexually assaulted.
  • Over a lifetime, one of every six American women is raped.
  • Of the 3.4 million Americans stalked in 2006, four out of five were women.
  • In 2009, one in ten high school students reported being hit, slapped, or physically hurt on purpose by a dating partner in the previous 12 months.
  • African American women are more likely to suffer the most severe forms of violence, compared to other groups.
  • One in three Native American women has been raped, a rate of sexual assault that is twice the national average; native Alaskans may suffer sexual violence at 12 times the national rate.
  • Immigrant women often suffer higher rates of battering than U.S. citizens, while being less willing to report to authorities.
  • Approximately 95 percent of all rapes are committed by serial predators who commit other crimes as well. They most often target acquaintances.

While you’re not hearing from me here, I’ll be looking for the statistics, analyses, and stories about the current face of gendered violence—including the breakthrough approaches that are helping to reduce it. I’ll come back and tell you all about it. 

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