Domestic Violence in African American Homes
In 2005, African Americans accounted for almost 1/3 of the intimate partner homicides in this country (FBI Homicide Reports, 2005). It is known that domestic violence affects us all regardless of age, ethnicity, location and economic situation. As frustration builds, aggression is born. African American women experience intimate partner violence rates at 35% higher than their white counter parts (Callie Marie Rennison, 2000). This is due to the increasing number of African American’s in economic distress and their increased likely hood of living in disadvantaged neighborhoods. The rate of partner violence between African American’s and White’s living in higher income areas is almost identical. Almost all altercations in African American homes stem from economic troubles and branch out from there into several sub categories.

Drugs and alcohol affect our minds and has the capability of making us do things we wouldn’t normally do **Anecdote** {Mr Nelson's Mimosa issues}. Alcoholism is related to domestic violence among African American couples more so than White or Hispanic couples. Women use alcohol as a crutch or escape from their lives. In addition to the women’s own use of drugs and alcohol, living with someone who also uses increases the risk of partner violence. Links between adult female substance abuse have been established for both violence in family origin (Miller & Downs, 1993) as well as intimate partner violence (Miller, Downs, & Gondoli, 1989). Drugs and alcohol are both depressants and when used in conjunction with a great deal of stress, it’s usually a recipe for disaster for an entire family or couple. Children are also greatly affected by violence in the home.

Domestic violence can happen at any age range but it seems to create a repeated pattern among younger couples. Sure it can affect us at any age but its much more prevalent in couples between the ages on 20 - 35 {Vignette: True Love?}.The #1 killer of African American women ages 15 - 34 is homicide at the hands of a former or current intimate partner (Tufts University, Stats 2002). Approximately 1 in 3 African American women are abused by a husband or partner over the course of a lifetime {Vignette:Why oh why.} (U.S. Dept. of National Justice, July 2000). Women are not the only victims of domestic violence. African American males experience intimate partner violence at a rate about 62% higher then that of white males and 22 times higher the rate of men of other races (Callie Marie Rennison & Sarah Welchans, 2000). At any age or gender we can all be victims.

The environment and location are also contributing factors to domestic violence. Studies show that when in a controlled environment African Americans with higher incomes and a less disadvantaged neighborhood the violence diminishes or is eliminated. African Americans with low or moderate incomes in any neighborhood had substantially higher rates of violence. This is due in large part to the stressors and hardships families are facing. Boy’s who witness their fathers’ violence are 10 times more likely to engage in spouse abuse later in adulthood than boys from non-violent homes (Family Violence Interventions for the Justice System, 1993). It’s been shown that domestic violence doesn’t occur solely because of an offenders psychological makeup or a persons inability to resolve conflict.


Since the recession started in 2008 the national unemployment rate has risen, almost setting new records for minorities. At the start of the recession, the unemployment rate for African Americans on a quarterly basis was 8.6 percent. In the two years the followed, the unemployment rate rose 7.2 percentage points to 15.8 percent (Luke Reidenbacher & Christian Weller, January 2010). That is close to doubling in only two years time. For the white race it only rose 2.5 percent on average, that’s almost 5 percentage points difference. The difference is astronomical between the two races. When couples become increasingly stressed out the smallest situation could bring on violence. It’s just unfortunate that we as people take our stress out on the closest person to us, majority of the time that person is a significant other.

Only about half of domestic violence incidents are reported to police. African American women are more likely to report their victimization to police (Lawrence A. Greenfield et al, 1998). We need to raise domestic violence awareness. Law enforcement should give increased attention to lower income neighborhoods. Communities need to speak up to help prevent and protect against violence. People should be informed about the domestic violence rates in their communities. Schools should teach our children about domestic violence, steps to be taken if it’s happening in their own home, and who to call or trust if they need to talk. The statistics shown here are outrageous and shocking. With the knowledge and information, we can all help raise awareness and help to put a stop to domestic violence all together.