The realities of intimate partner homicide

Just like OJ Simpson’s 1994 trial for the murder of Nicole Brown Simpson, Olympian Oscar Pistorius’ trial for the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp has catapulted intimate partner homicide back into the news. Simpson was acquitted of criminal charges, but was found liable for his former wife’s death in a civil suit. Pistorius’ guilt or innocence remains an unanswered question.

While the unfortunate truth is that husbands and boyfriends kill their partners with disturbing frequency, these cases are the ones that we watch with rapt attention to every trial detail. Our culture is obsessed with falls from grace, especially when it involves a fabled sports hero and his beautiful partner.

Regardless, the problem of a partner killing a loved one is real. And while the overall rate of homicide has declined, the proportion of female homicide victims that are killed by their intimate partners remains stubbornly high.

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