SC ranks #1 in U.S. in rate of women murdered by men

South Carolina ranked first in the nation in the rate of women murdered by men, with a rate of 2.54 per 100,000, according to the new Violence Policy Center report called "When Men Murder Women: An Analysis of 2011 Homicide Data."

South Carolina's rate was more than double the national average.

This year's report applies to 2011, the most recent year which data is available.

The study released last year ranked South Carolina second in the nation, behind Nevada, in an analysis of 2010 homicide data.

South Carolina has ranked in the top 10 states every year for the past 10 years.

The study covers homicides involving one female murder victim and one male offender, and uses data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation's unpublished Supplementary Homicide Report.

The Violence Policy Center study is released annually during Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October.

"The sad reality is that women are nearly always murdered by someone they know," said VPC Legislative Director Kristen Rand. "Already, many elected officials and community leaders are working tirelessly to reduce the toll of domestic violence. Yet despite these efforts, the numbers remain unacceptably high. We need new policies in place from local communities to the federal government to protect women from harm."

"Nine women each week are shot to death by their husband or intimate partner," said Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. "That's nearly 500 domestic gun violence deaths each year, more than twice the number of service women killed in military conflicts since the Korean War. We urgently need better policies that protect women and their families from this senseless violence. No American, adult or child, should live in a perpetual state of fear. It's inhumane."

This is the list of the 10 states with the highest rates of females murdered by males in single victim/single offender incidents in 2011:

1- South Carolina, 2.54 per 100,000

2- Alaska, 2.01 per 100,000

3- Oklahoma, 1.99 per 100,000

4- Delaware, 1.92 per 100,000

5- Arizona, 1.84 per 100,000

6- Tennessee, 1.80 per 100,000

7- Idaho, 1.77 per 100,000

8- West Virginia, 1.70 per 100,000

9- Louisiana, 1.67 per 100,000

10- New Mexico, 1.62 per 100,000

Across America 1,707 women were murdered by men in single victim/single offender incidents in 2011, at a rate of 1.17 per 100,000, the study says.

For homicides in which the victim to offender relationship was identified, 94 percent of women were murdered by a man they knew.

The report found sixteen times as many women were murdered by a man they knew (1,509 victims) than were killed by male strangers (92 victims). Among victims who knew their offenders, 61 percent of female homicide victims were wives or intimate acquaintances of their killers.

In 87 percent of all incidents where the circumstances could be determined, the homicides were not related to the commission of any other felony, such as rape or robbery.

For homicides nationwide in which the weapon could be determined, more female homicides were committed with firearms (51 percent) than any other weapon. Of the homicides committed with firearms, 73 percent were committed with handguns.