We all know that a good number of homicides of women are committed by a partner or a former partner. We all know that a good number of women have been victims of domestic abuse at some point in their lives. But most of the time, these vague generalizations don’t do much for awareness. The fact is, these incidences are a lot more common than we have been led to believe.
Lancet (a medical journal) and Science (another journal) just released reports containing concrete data about domestic violence around the world. All over the planet, almost 40% of homicides of women are committed by a romantic partner. This means that the person you choose to spend the rest of your life with, the person you share your children with, could potentially be a much bigger threat to your life than the man wielding a gun on the street. Unfortunately, just because we live in a first-world country does not mean that we are shielded from this statistic. If you look at the first graph on the chart below, you can see that high-income countries represent the group with the second-greatest homicide percentages. In our high-income countries, over 40% of female homicides are committed by romantic partners. This means that despite awareness movements against domestic violence, despite economic stability, and despite higher education, people are still killing their female romantic partners right in our backyards.
The chart below the homicide chart illustrates the percentage of women who have experienced physical or sexual violence from a romantic partner in their lifetime. Thirty percent (that’s almost one-third) of women on this planet have experienced physical or sexual violence from a romantic partner. The figure for Central Sub-Saharan Africa is the most shocking on this chart — over 65% of women in that region have experienced physical or sexual violence. But there is a bit of a bright side to this chart too. The statistics shown for North America are significantly less than the statistics for most regions on this chart. We are third-to-last, before Western Europe and East Asia. This chart shows that we seem to be doing something right, at least. Domestic violence movements and enlightened equality ideals may have had some impact, pushing us close to the bottom of this list. Our next step is to either emulate what Western Europe and East Asia have done even better than us, or to focus our efforts on improving the circumstances of Central Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.