Research Project

Sonya Abrams, Political Science

Advisor: Lisa L. Miller, Political Science & Criminal Justice

Domestic, or interpersonal, violence is a continued threat to women, and its most fatal consequence, homicide, remains all too common. In addition, not all women are equally vulnerable to such violence. Interpersonal homicide (IPH) rates in the United States are racialized, as Black women are killed by intimate partners at higher rates than are white women. This research examines domestic homicide rates in America, with a particular focus on gender and race, and seeks to understand how and whether state intervention can mitigate the risk of IPH to women. Specifically, this project draws on critiques of the Liberal state from feminist and critical race scholarship using the 1994 Violence Against Women Act as a policy lens. Using these sources, I analyze the extent to which policy approaches to IPH directly confront and disrupt violent gender and racial hierarchies. I find that most policy responses to IPH focus on helping women avoid patterns of abuse and removing them from abusive settings, rather than that seeking to identify and reduce male violence against women through more direct intervention with men.