By Whitney Greer
President Barack Obama signed the renewed Violence Against Women Act in March 2013, which expands the government’s ability to protect victims of domestic and sexual violence.
March is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, as well as National Women’s History Month.
The revitalized Violence Against Women Act hands a long-awaited victory for women’s groups and women everywhere. particularly black women: while they comprise 8% of the U.S. population, Black women account for more than 22% of intimate partner homicide victims.
The Violence Against Women Act has set the standard for how to protect women, and some men, from domestic abuse and prosecute abusers and is credited with helping reduce domestic violence incidents by two-thirds since its inception in 1994.
“This is your day. This is the day of the advocates, the day of the survivors. This is your victory,” Obama said. “This victory shows that when the American people make their voices heard, Washington listens.”
Black Women & Violence
According to reports, 1 in 5 women will be raped during their lifetime. Also, the Institute on Domestic Violence in the African American Community reports that black women who are battered have more physical ailments, mental health issues, are less likely to practice safe sex, and are more likely to abuse substances during pregnancy than black women without a history of abuse.
They are also at greater risk for attempting suicide, particularly if they were physically abused as a child, for being depressed, and to suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
• Intimate partner violence among African Americans is related to economic factors. Intimate partner violence among blacks occurs more frequently among couples with low incomes, those in which the male partner is underemployed or unemployed, particularly when he is not seeking work, and among couples residing in very poor neighborhoods, regardless of the couple’s income.
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