white text on a purple background that says 'When Men Murder Women, An Analysis of 2020 Homicide Data'

On September 20th, the Violence Policy Center released its When Men Murder Women annual study.

State by state, the study details the circumstances of all reported homicides of women by men in single-victim/single-offender incidents. The study also ranks the states based on their rate of females killed by males. This research is used by state and local advocates to educate the public and policymakers on the realities of domestic violence and promote effective solutions to protect women and children from abusers.

According to an analysis of 2020 data, South Carolina has moved from 6th in 2021 to 23rd in the nation for the rate of women murdered by men.

Seeing South Carolina’s ranking drop so significantly for the first time in 25 years makes us hopeful that this is a trend in the right direction. Still, we cannot lose sight of this state’s real and terrible history when it comes to intimate partner violence — it is only the second time South Carolina has not ranked in the top ten since VPC began releasing this report in 1998.

Despite this most recent ranking, what remains constant is that in 2021, 71 people were killed in South Carolina as a result of domestic homicide, law enforcement responded to 25,000+ incidents of simple/aggravated assault, and firearms remain by far the weapon most frequently used to facilitate IPV homicide. According to VPC, Black women remain at much higher risk—a rate nearly 3x higher than white women, and over 90% of the women murdered by men know the person who kills them.

It must be noted that this report covers the initial months of the COVID-19 pandemic and the data it reports varies significantly from state to state — showing large increases or decreases in the number of women killed by men during this period. There is no geographical pattern to this variance, and we will need to look at the 2021 data and beyond to understand whether or not these were temporary changes driven by the extraordinary circumstances of this time.

Above all, there remains an incredible amount of work to be done to end violence in South Carolina and we are committed to seeing this come to fruition through education, prevention work, and advocacy.