California, the Golden State, is known for its diverse culture, progressive politics, and booming economy. It is home to Hollywood, Silicon Valley, and some of the most beautiful natural scenery in the world. However, behind the glitz and glamour, there is a dark reality that many Californians face every day: violence.
According to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports, California had the 11th highest violent crime rate in the country in 2020, with 442 incidents per 100,000 residents. Violent crime includes murder, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault. Among these crimes, black women are especially vulnerable to homicide and sexual violence.
In 2018, California reported 1,739 homicides, of which 173 were black female victims. This means that black women accounted for 9.9% of all homicide victims, while they only made up 5.5% of the state’s population. The homicide rate for black women in California was 10.9 per 100,000, which was more than four times higher than the national average of 2.5 per 100,000.
The majority of black female homicide victims in California were killed by someone they knew, such as an intimate partner, a family member, or an acquaintance. The most common weapon used was a firearm, followed by a knife or a blunt object. The most common motive was an argument, followed by domestic violence, robbery, or gang-related activity.
In addition to homicide, black women in California also face a high risk of sexual violence. According to the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, 22.5% of black women in California have experienced rape in their lifetime, compared to 18.3% of white women and 11.9% of Hispanic women. Moreover, 48.8% of black women in California have experienced some form of sexual violence other than rape, such as sexual coercion, unwanted sexual contact, or non-contact unwanted sexual experiences.
Sexual violence can have devastating consequences for black women, such as physical injuries, mental health problems, substance abuse, sexually transmitted infections, unwanted pregnancies, and social stigma. Many black women also face barriers to accessing health care, legal services, and social support, due to factors such as poverty, racism, sexism, and distrust of institutions.
California is the most dangerous state in the country if you’re a black woman, as evidenced by the high rates of homicide and sexual violence that they experience. These crimes are not only a violation of human rights, but also a reflection of the systemic oppression and discrimination that black women face in society. To address this issue, there is a need for more awareness, prevention, intervention, and advocacy efforts, as well as more resources and support for black women survivors and their families. California may be the Golden State, but it is far from being a safe and fair place for all.