Domestic Violence Statistics: A Reminder

Marissa Alexander, a mother who was given 20 years in prison for firing a warning shot at her abusive husband, is an example of how fighting back against domestic violence often jeopardizes women’s safety. This fact sheet about domestic violence, assembled by a group advocating for Alexander’s freedom, is a sobering reminder about the many ways that social norms and the legal system fail women. For example:

  • 85-90% of women in prison have a history of being victims of violence prior to their incarceration, including domestic violence, sexual violence, and child abuse.
  • study of women incarcerated in New York’s Rikers Island found that most of the domestic violence survivors interviewed reported engaging in illegal activity in response to experiences of abuse, the threat of violence, or coercion by a male partner.
  • Each year, 324,000 pregnant women are physically or sexually assaulted by an intimate partner. Pregnancy can be an especially dangerous time for women in abusive relationships, and abuse can often begin or escalate during the pregnancy.
  • Pregnancy complications, including low weight gain, anemia, infections, and first and second trimester bleeding, are significantly higher for victims of domestic violence.

If these facts don’t signal that we need to give women better options for escaping domestic violence, I don’t know what does.

About Jeana

Jeana

Jeana Jorgensen, PhD recently completed her doctoral degree in folklore and gender studies at Indiana University. She studies fairy tales and other narratives, dance, body art, feminist theory, digital humanities, and gender identity.