Self-defense and minority women

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Chapter 11 endnote 23, from How Emotions are Made: The Secret Life of the Brain by Lisa Feldman Barrett.
Some context is:

[Jean Banks, who is African American] claimed self-defense but nonetheless was convicted of second-degree murder. (Compare this to light-skinned Judy Norman, who was convicted of voluntary manslaughter, a lesser charge.) [...] African American women are in a catch-22.

More than one third of all women in the U.S. report having been raped, beaten or stalked by a romantic partner in their lifetime.[1] About 11% of the murder victims in the U.S. are women who were killed by their romantic partners, and in over 70% of cases, they were physically abused by the partner beforehand.[2] Yet police and judges routinely fail to help minority women who ask for help in ending violent relationships.[3][4] If these women wait to be rescued, they risk injury or death to themselves or their children. If they defend themselves against an abusive partner, they risk prosecution. Battered women of color in poverty are even less likely to receive justice.

A particularly tragic example is the story of Jessica Gonzales, whose children were murdered by her estranged husband as the police failed to enforce a restraining order.

Notes on the Notes

  1. Domestic Abuse Topline Facts and Statistics, National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, 2010 Summary Report. National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Division of Violence Prevention, Atlanta, GA, and Control of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  2. Homicide and Injury from Domestic Violence, Homicide Trends in the United States, 1980-2008. Nov., 2011. U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Statistics; Federal Bureau of Investigation, Uniform Crime Reports “Crime in the United States, 2000,” (2001).
  3. If a woman is poor, lives in the inner city, or is non-white, then the police are less likely to arrest the spouse than if she is wealthy, lives in the suburbs, or is white. See Edem F. Avakame & James J. Fyfe. 2001. "Differential Police Treatment of Male-on-Female Spousal Violence." Violence Against Women 22: 35-36.
  4. Brown, Geneva. 2012. "Ain't I a victim? The intersectionality of race, class, and gender in domestic violence and the courtroom." Cardozo Journal of Law and Gender 19: 147-183.