In 2020, a year of rising homicides amid a devastating pandemic, the increase in the death rate for Black women rivaled that of Black men, the Guardian reports. As homicides increased nearly thirty percent nationwide that year, the rate for Black women and girls rose thirty three percent, a sharper increase than for every demographic except Black men, and more than double that of white women, found an analysis of homicide data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Killings of Black women and girls increased across age groups, from school-age children to senior citizens. Gun violence drove the increase, with three-quarters of homicide victims who were Black women and girls dying from gunshot wounds. The increase only worsened an unspoken epidemic that has been unfolding over years, advocates say.
From the mainstream feminist movement to the news media to law enforcement to community violence prevention organizations, many institutions have stayed silent about the crisis of violence against Black women, who are expected to care for others, but often do not receive the same level of care. The homicide rate among Black men has long captured national headlines, but despite decades of Black feminist scholarship and organizing, violence against Black women and girls continues to receive little attention, researchers say. Community violence prevention typically focuses on Black men and boys, who face the highest risk of being killed, and domestic violence advocacy is most often shaped by the experiences of white women, researchers say. This creates a vacuum of solutions tailored to the unique ways that Black women and girls are vulnerable to violence. A national march against Black femicide is being planned for late August in Washington D.C., where the homicide rate for Black women was among the highest in the nation in 2020. Rosa Page, an Arkansas-based nurse and founder of Black Femicide US, is helping to organize the march.