A new report found the country’s increase in gun violence and violent crime has disproportionately affected Black women and girls. According to an investigation by The Guardian, five Black women and girls were killed every day in the US in 2020. About 75 percent of them died by gun violence. This “unspoken epidemic” is the reason we say #SayHerName to bring attention to the women who have been killed, sometimes by the very people they know.
“The headlines are: ‘Black men and boys face astronomical homicide rates’ or ‘Black men and boys face an increase in homicide that’s deeply troubling.’ You might get a paragraph that says: ‘And so are Black women and girls.’ Often the data doesn’t even get reported,” said activist and scholar Kimberlé Crenshaw, via The Guardian.
Once people realized George Floyd’s murder was being circulated more than Breonna Taylor’s, a movement began to draw attention to Black women victims of police brutality and violence. However, Taylor was only one of the 1,821 Black women and girls killed in 2020. Per the investigation, the homicide rate for Black women was eight per 100,000 people in 2020, the highest homicide rate across all women.
Regionally, Black women face the highest risk of being murdered in the southern states bordering the midwest.
More from The Guardian:
In Kentucky, where Breonna Taylor’s killing by white police officers in Louisville sparked national protests, homicides of Black women and girls statewide tripled in 2020, from 10 women and girls killed to 33, compared with the year before. In Wisconsin and Ohio these killings doubled, rising from 21 to 42 and from 57 to 110 respectively.
In Washington DC, the nation’s capital, homicides of Black women more than doubled, from 10 to 25. No women of any other race were murdered in the district in 2020, according to the police department.
The increase in these states, researchers and state officials say, points to larger racial disparities in the midwest, ranging from overall life expectancy to deaths from heart disease, and incarceration rates. And though Washington DC is home to some of America’s most powerful Black people, it is also a majority Black city where many residents face intense disadvantages.
Half of the recorded killings of trans and gender-non conforming people in 2020 were Black trans women. The Human Rights Campaign found 34 were killed in 2021 and so far, in 2022, we’ve seen nearly 20 murders of Black trans women. Both police departments and news outlets have misgendered trans homicide victims which means a number of cases have been misreported.
The most heartbreaking finding isn’t even the numbers. It’s the fact that a third of Black women and girls in 2020 were killed by someone they knew, whether it be a partner, friend or family member. It’s not just the police.
“The heightened vulnerability of Black women to violence should be seen and addressed as a crisis alongside the already recognized epidemic of Black male homicide,” said scholar and activist Kimberlé Crenshaw via The Guardian.