Violence Against Young Women: Still a Problem.

At the risk of getting too bleak today, here's a story that was tucked away on the "Nation" page of The Washington Post's website:

A 20-year-old Pennsylvania college student who vanished last week while on Thanksgiving break in her hometown in suburban Syracuse, N.Y., was killed by her on-again, off-again boyfriend, a prosecutor said Saturday.

Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick said 21-year-old Steven Pieper of Liverpool, N.Y., was arrested on a charge of murder in the death of Jenni-Lyn Watson, a junior dance major at Mercyhurst College in Erie, Pa. [...]

Fitzpatrick said Pieper was upset when Watson tried to end their relationship in October. He said investigators think Pieper killed Watson at her parents' house Nov. 19, and her body was "dumped, frankly, like garbage," in the park.

Depressingly, this incident fits all the statistics as far as intimate-partner violence is concerned. According to statistics compiled from the CDC, the Department of Justice, and the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, 85 percent of domestic-violence victims are women, and women who are 16 to 24 years of age are at greatest risk for violence. Among college students, approximately 32 percent are victims of intimate partner violence, as was emphasized earlier this year, when the media turned its attention to the murder of Yeardley Love at the University of Virginia. In 2004, more than 6-in-10 female homicide victims were wives or intimate acquaintances of their killers, and overall, the majority of victims murdered by their current or former partners had either left the relationship, or were in the process of leaving the relationship. In 2005, more than 1,500 were killed as a result of intimate-partner violence.

Given the rise in intimate-partner violence during the recession, now is probably the time to increase funding for shelters and education and prevention efforts, so that there aren't victims like Watson and Love. Unfortunately, despite the administration's promises to provide more funds for anti-domestic violence efforts, Congress has been incredibly slow to reauthorize the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act, which provides funding for victims and their children at over 1,600 shelters across the country and provides grants for reducing intimate-partner violence in minority, immigrant, and LGBT communities. And while the bill has some bipartisan support, it's far more likely that it will become another casualty of the GOP's intensely anti-government ideology.


-- Jamelle Bouie

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