Just over a month ago 23-year-old Lauren Smith-Fields died in her Connecticut apartment in December after a date with a man she had met on Bumble. More than a month later, the police opened a criminal investigation. And after one confusing story after another, what happened that night, as well as her cause of death are still unclear. As if being a Black woman isn’t already a difficult feat, new research shows that Black women, like Ms. Smith-Fields, are under attack – especially if she is in or seeking a relationship.
Black women are four times more likely to be murdered by their lover than white women, according to a Bureau of Justice Statistics report. More research by the Violence Policy Center found similar unfortunate statistics – Black women were murdered at more than twice the rate of white women.
Fifty-seven percent of those killings were done by, again, their partners.
“African Americans are disproportionately low income, and statistically, folks who live in low-income environments show higher rates for domestic violence,” expert Oliver Williams, co-director of the Institute on Domestic Violence in the African American Community, told The Trace.
Many instances of murder by domestic partners begin with abusive or violent relationships. It’s important to recognize the signs of abuse and make a plan to escape safely before the relationship claims another life.
Here are some things to look for to recognize abuse in your relationship: