Just one month into 2016, 112 people died as the result of suspected domestic violence. More than three-quarters of the victims were women, and 89 percent of the alleged attackers were men. These are the findings described in the project "This Is Not A Love Story," which followed the deaths of every person killed by an intimate partner in the United States during the month of January. Published in the Huffington Post, the report provides a disturbing glimpse into the literal everydayness of domestic violence — the violence reportedly began mere minutes into the new year, and it claimed the life of at least one new victim every day afterward.
The report gathered data by noting and following up on news reports around the country, looking for cases in which someone was allegedly killed by a previous or current partner — and the results paint a clear picture of domestic violence in the modern day. Not all cases followed the traditional narrative of man-on-woman violence, but in keeping with most other statistics, the project found that the overwhelming majority of fatalities were allegedly committed by men, on women: A full 77 percent of those who died were women, many of whom had been abused by their partners in the past.
In fact, domestic violence is disturbingly easy to predict; as the report points out, a number of factors can cause someone's chances of being killed by a partner to skyrocket. Access to guns, for instance, increases a victim's chance of lethal violence fivefold, and research has shown that female victims of domestic violence are more likely to be killed with a gun than any other means combined. Despite the likelihood of guns predicting deadly violence, however, hands-on violence is a common predictor as well. Strangulation in particular has been linked to further assault down the road — assault that could very well be fatal.
Despite the clear patterns involved in intimate partner violence, protecting those at risk is easier said than done. According to "This Is Not A Love Story," more than half of the women killed in January had either already left or were in the process of leaving their partners when they were assaulted, a figure which is supported by a multitude of other studies with similar findings. Leaving an abusive partner is hardly as simple as society often makes it out to be — which is why it's so important to identify and support potential victims before it's too late. As the report concludes, "It's not strangers, friends or acquaintances who pose the biggest threat to women's lives: It's the men they date and marry."
Read more at "This Is Not A Love Story."
National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233
Image: Bustle/Claire Jones