Posts Tagged ‘domestic violence’

Are African-American Women Too Strong to be Victims of Domestic Violence?

June 2nd, 2014 No comments

By: Chantal Jones

Blog Category: Domestic Violence Issues and the Law, Economics, & Race

Domestic violence is a crime that cuts a painful swath across all races, socioeconomic levels and cultures.[1]  Experts in the field say that one set of victims — black women — is at a far greater risk to experience the grimmest of all domestic violence statistics. According to Dallas News, black women are about three times more likely to die at the hands of a partner or ex-partner than members of other racial groups. Intimate-partner homicide is also among the leading causes of death for black women ages 15 to 35.[2]

Racism alters how African-American women receive treatment through domestic violence resources and how they perceive resources. Therefore, because of racism, African-American women have specific concerns when making decisions about domestic violent relationships and what resources would be the best for them.[3] These concerns include the view of the race as a whole, the perceptions of African-American men, how African-American families are treated American society, economic concerns, and how American public protectors such as the police and judicial system treat victims and batterers in the system.[4]

Often times, African-American women are stereotyped as being too opinionated, bossy, and the subservient woman to her husband or significant other. Being viewed as the “strong black woman” can be positive, but unfortunately, it leaves African-American women in positions where they are not seen as the typical “victim.” Therefore, according to Lisa Martinson of the Wisconsin Women’s Law Journal, the African-American woman must first demonstrate herself to be a victim in general, and then a victim of domestic violence.

African-American women stereotypes negatively suggest that she deserves the violence, that she is strong enough to fight it alone or for any other reason to lay some sort of fault upon the woman. This type of rationalization perpetuates not only racism but also the belief that violence against women is condoned by society. Hopefully, with more awareness of domestic violence and knowledge of how abusers seek to gain and retain power over women, African-American women will not have to first disprove the stereotypes in order to attain the assistance they need to leave and stay safely from the batterer.

The opinions expressed herein are strictly those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Widener Journal of Law, Economics & Race.

[1] Selwyn Crawford, Black Women at Greater Risk of Becoming Victims of Homicidal Domestic Violence, Dallas News, (Sept. 21, 2013, 11:10PM), available at

[2] Id.

[3] Lisa M. Martinson, An Analysis of Racism and Resources for African-American Female Victims of Domestic Violence in Wisconsin, 16 Wis. Women’s L.J. 259 (2001)

[4] Id.

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Supreme Court Unanimously Votes to Protect Victims of Domestic Violence

By: Jamilah Espinosa

Blog Category: Domestic Violence Issues and the Law, Economics, & Race

The Supreme Court unanimously ruled in favor of keeping guns out of the hands of convicted domestic violence abusers.  On March 26, 2014, the court announced its decision in United States v. Castleman, ruling in favor of the Obama Administration and advocates for victims of domestic violence, by overturning a decision by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. James Castleman, a resident of Tennessee, had been convicted of assaulting the mother of his child in 2001, and when he faced gun-related charges in 2009, he was also charged with illegal possession because prosecutors argued that his domestic-violence misdemeanor conviction prevented from owning a gun.

Under federal law, anyone convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence—defined as involving “physical force”—is banned from possessing a gun. Castleman had pled guilty to the offense of causing “bodily injury” to the mother of his child, but now argued that that crime was not sufficiently “violent” to make him fall under the federal gun ban. The exact nature of the injuries sustained by Castleman’s victim was not articulated in court records.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote the opinion for the court, emphasizing that domestic violence takes varied forms  and that it is a crime that doesn’t always reflect what most people view as “violent,” because it can involve pushing, shoving, scratching, or grabbing. She further emphasized that in many states this type of behavior is prosecuted under battery laws, which meant some courts won’t consider such convictions to be domestic violence. Justice Sotomayor said it was enough that Castleman pleaded guilty to having “intentionally or knowingly caused bodily injury to” the mother of this child, further explaining, “because Castleman’s indictment make clear that physical force was an element of his conviction, that conviction qualifies as ‘misdemeanor crime of domestic violence.’” However, the Supreme Court made clear these types of offenses are enough to subject a convicted domestic violence abuse to the federal gun ban.

The opinions expressed herein are strictly those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Widener Journal of Law, Economics & Race. 


United States v. Castleman, 572 S.Ct. 1 (2014).

Adam Liptak, Sweeping Ruling on Domestic Violence, N.Y. Times, Mar. 26, 2014, available at

Spring/Summer 2014 Blog Topics

April 20th, 2014 No comments

new shield

 The Widener Journal of Law, Economics and Race would like to announce the topics of our Spring/Summer 2014 blogs!


Our blogs will feature the following four topics:

      1)  Domestic Violence Issues and the Law, Economics, & Race

2)  International Law & Race

3)  The Economics of Environmental Regulation

4)  Religion & Race 


New blog entries will be added every Monday. Thank you for supporting the Widener Journal of Law, Economics & Race!