NEW ORLEANS – A new report shows women in Louisiana are more at risk of being killed by men than most other states in the nation.
The report came out the same day Sabrina Watson, 43, was gunned down in the Central City neighborhood of New Orleans. Fresh flowers now mark the crime scene.
According to the Violence Policy Center, Louisiana ranked second for the rate of women murdered by men with a rate of 2.15 per 100,000.
It's a frightening statistic for Aureona Clark, 20, who heads up the stop the violence group Youth 2 Youth.
"I have to live with that fear of who am I standing next to," Clark said. "Can I trust them not to hurt me? Can I trust myself with another person near me?"
Here's the breakdown of women killed in New Orleans over the past three years: There have been 13 so far this year, 22 in 2015 and 24 in 2014.
NOPD Superintendent Michael Harrison said the problem of violence against women is two-fold.
"We've made great improvements with our blueprint for safety on sexual assault, domestic violence and we had a number of those last year," Harrison said. "Then there are women who are not the intended target who happen to be at the wrong place at the wrong time or with someone who was the intended target."
Nia Weeks, from the advocacy group Women with a Vision, said women involved in the sex trade or have been arrested wrongly on domestic abuse charges are often marginalized in the eyes of the law and excluded from services available to other battered women.
"I think that we need to look at creating safe mechanisms for marginalized communities to be able to come to the police and say this is what's happening to me, I need protection in this aspect without being criminalized in any other activity they may be involved in," Weeks said.
Alaska is the only state ahead of Louisiana for the rate of women murdered by men. Rounding out the top five are Nevada, Oklahoma and South Carolina.
Click here to see the entire report: http://www.vpc.org/studies/wmmw2016.pdf.
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