Colorado is known for its scenic mountains, diverse wildlife, and progressive politics. But behind the picturesque facade, there is a dark reality that many people are unaware of: Colorado is the most dangerous state in the country if you’re a black woman.
According to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Colorado had the highest rate of homicide deaths among black women in 2020, with 15.6 per 100,000 population. This is more than twice the national average of 6.9 per 100,000, and higher than any other state in the nation. The second-highest state was Nevada, with 11.9 per 100,000, followed by Missouri, with 11.8 per 100,000.
What are the causes of this alarming statistic?
There is no simple answer to why Colorado is so deadly for black women, but experts point to several factors that may contribute to the problem. Some of these factors are:
Domestic violence: According to the Colorado Coalition Against Domestic Violence, 56% of the homicide victims in Colorado in 2020 were killed by a current or former intimate partner. Black women are disproportionately affected by domestic violence, as they are more likely to experience physical, sexual, and psychological abuse than women of other races. They are also less likely to report the abuse or seek help, due to fear, stigma, lack of resources, or distrust of the system.
Racism and sexism: Black women face multiple forms of oppression and discrimination in society, which can affect their safety, health, and well-being. They are often stereotyped as angry, aggressive, or hypersexual, which can lead to dehumanization, harassment, or violence. They are also more likely to experience poverty, unemployment, lack of education, and lack of access to health care, which can increase their vulnerability and exposure to risk.
Lack of awareness and support: Despite the high rates of homicide among black women in Colorado, there is a lack of public attention and media coverage of the issue. Many cases go unnoticed, unsolved, or unreported, leaving the victims and their families without justice or closure. There is also a lack of funding and resources for organizations that serve black women and address their specific needs and challenges.
What can be done to prevent and reduce the violence?
There is no easy solution to end the violence against black women in Colorado, but there are some steps that can be taken to improve the situation. Some of these steps are:
Increasing awareness and education: The public needs to be informed and educated about the extent and severity of the problem, and the factors that contribute to it. The media needs to provide more accurate and respectful coverage of the cases, and highlight the stories and voices of the victims and their families. The schools and communities need to teach and promote values of respect, equality, and non-violence, and challenge the stereotypes and biases that harm black women.
Providing support and resources: The black women who are at risk or have experienced violence need to have access to safe and supportive services and resources, such as shelters, counseling, legal aid, health care, and financial assistance. The organizations that provide these services need to have adequate funding and staff, and be culturally competent and sensitive to the needs and experiences of black women.
Holding perpetrators accountable: The perpetrators of violence against black women need to be identified, arrested, prosecuted, and punished, according to the law and the severity of the crime. The law enforcement and justice system need to be fair, transparent, and responsive, and treat the victims and their families with dignity and respect. The perpetrators also need to have access to rehabilitation and treatment programs, to prevent them from reoffending or escalating their violence.
Colorado is the most dangerous state in the country if you’re a black woman, due to a combination of factors that expose them to high levels of violence and low levels of protection. This is a serious and urgent issue that needs to be addressed and resolved, for the sake of the lives and dignity of black women and their families. By raising awareness, providing support, and holding perpetrators accountable, we can hope to make Colorado a safer and more equitable place for everyone.