With Black Women in Mind


Brief Summation: With Black Women in Mind

Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) and Sexual Violence are public health epidemics in South Carolina that disproportionately impact communities of color.


While IPV and sexual violence affect people across all races, ethnicities, socioeconomic statuses, classes, religions, sexual orientations, abilities and genders, African Americans are disproportionately impacted in comparison to most other races. The high rates of victimization are further compounded by other intersecting factors and identity categories that make already vulnerable groups even more vulnerable. For example, Black and African American transgender women face extraordinary rates of violence and low life expectancy. It is also important to remember that identities are not static but instead shift during a person’s lifetime, changing the landscape of challenges they face.


A survivor’s response to IPV is often determined by cultural values, social status, and available resources. There is increasing evidence that African American women may respond differently to various forms of abuse than women from other racial groups. African American survivors remain in abusive relationships longer than women from other ethnic groups, experience higher rates of injury and face additional obstacles to finding safety because of social norms and cultural barriers, job instability, the risk for unemployment, homelessness, low-wages, limited resources, higher rates of community violence and fewer available help-seeking options.


Cultural and economic barriers preventing African American women from self-reporting their victimization must be addressed and culturally relevant programming to meet survivor’s diverse and intersecting needs should be developed and properly implemented across agencies to meet survivor’s diverse and intersecting needs. Even as there has been an increase in the community’s formal institutional response to IPV in recent years, the majority of available resources, support and counseling services continue to be underutilized by African American women either because they don’t know they exist or because of perceived (or actual) cultural insensitivity from service providers that undermines trust.