Christine de Pizan

Christine de Pizan
The Writer Christine de Pizan at Her Desk

Friday, April 14, 2017

American Women and Domestic Terrorism, Part 2

The Deadly War on Women Continues

Almost a year ago, I wrote about violence against American women--domestic terrorism--and its horrific and unrelenting toll. As Gloria Steinem noted in stark terms on 11 May 2016,
Domestic violence in this country has killed since 9/11 — if you take the number of [Americans] who were killed in 9/11 and in two wars in Iraq, and in the 14-year war in Afghanistan — more women have been murdered by their husbands and boyfriends in the United States in that period of time than [the number of Americans who] have been killed in all of those incidences of terrorism and wars.” 
And now here we are, almost a year later, once more forced to face the facts.

On Monday, 10 April 2017, a school shooter opened fire at North Park Elementary School in San Bernardino, California--the same city where, in 2015, another mass shooting occurred.

When it was all over, four people had been shot, including two children. The shooter died, along with one woman and an eight-year-old boy.

There was no continuing "breaking news" coverage on the cable news networks as there had been in 2015. The president of the United States made no public statement. Anderson Cooper didn't jet to the scene. And, as Michael Calderone notes in the Huffington Post, even major newspapers didn't consider the story all that newsworthy: "The Washington Post, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal didn’t run front page stories on it." (The story that was front-page-worthy was the viral video of a United Airlines passenger being forcibly removed from an airplane.)

School shootings are usually followed by days, if not weeks, of blaring news accounts, but not this one. It's now Friday, just four days after the shooting, and the story has virtually  disappeared. 

Why? Because this horrific school shooting was deemed to be "just" another story of domestic violence. A pissed-off man who shoots his wife and then himself--and who shoots two small children in the process, killing one of them. Too routine to be worth news coverage

This wasn't the act of some "radical Islamic terrorist." Just an ordinary kind of terrorist--the kind that lives in our homes and wreaks deadly vengeance on women and children.

And as Steinem noted, it occurs all too often, and it kills far more people than the kind of terroism we all seem much more worried about

Politifact, fact-checking the numbers, reports that, in the decade between 2005 and 2015, a total of 24 Americans were killed by terrorist attacks "on U. S. soil"--in the same ten years, 280,024 Americans were killed by guns. 

But, more relevant to the story here, three women are killed every single day by their intimate partners. 

In 2014, according to FBI data, 1,613 women were murdered by men in single victim/single offender incidents: 
  • For homicides in which the victim to offender relationship could be identified, 93 percent of female victims (1,388 out of 1,495) were murdered by a male they knew.
  • Thirteen times as many females were murdered by a male they knew (1,388 victims) than were killed by male strangers (107 victims).
  • For victims who knew their offenders, 63 percent (870) of female homicide victims were wives or intimate acquaintances of their killers.
  • There were 239 women shot and killed by either their husband or intimate acquaintance during the course of an argument. 
(For this data, see "When Men Murder Women" (2016), published by the Violence Prevention Center.)

In 2015, in just one state--California--91 women were murdered, their deaths the result of domestic violence. (During the same year, the murders of 27 men were also attributed to domestic violence.) If you're one of those people always yelling "fake news," take a look at the source of the evidence--it's reported in Table 25 of "Homicide in California" (2015), a publication of the California Department of Justice.

In that year, "only" 39 of of 358 mass shootings nationwide were related to domestic violence, as reported in the New York Times, but they were "among the deadliest," accounting for 145 of the 462 total deaths as a result of mass shootings in that year.

In just the first month of 2016--January 2016, as Melissa Jeltsen reported in The Huffington Post--112 people were killed in intimate partner violence. 

And on average, there are 11 murder-suicides, like the one in San Bernardino, every single solitary week--most of them involving a man who kills his wife or girlfriend with a gun.. 

As reported in Mass Shootings in the United States: 2009-2016,* published on 11 April 2017, just a day after the San Bernardino shootings, there have been 156 mass shootings in the United States during this eight-year period. And "the majority of mass shootings in the United States are related to domestic or family violence":
In at least 54 percent of mass shootings (85), the perpetrator shot a current or former intimate partner or family member. These domestic violence mass shootings resulted in 422 victims being killed—more than 40 percent (181) of whom were children. A majority of these cases—56—also ended with the perpetrators killing themselves.
Forty percent of the fatalities in domestic violence shootings are children.

The biggest threat to women is not some crazy-eyed Muslim terrorist who wants to destroy the United States and impose Sharia law on those of us who survive the conquest. 

The biggest threat to women has always been, and remains, men--their husbands, boyfriends, fathers, brothers, sons, dates, exes, colleagues, neighbors, acquaintances, the guys in their yoga class, the man in the Safeway store . . . 

*As of January 2021, this resource has been updated--it is now titled Mass Shootings in America 2009-2019. To access this report, with its current data, click here.

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