Despite the fact that homicides were the fifth leading cause of death for African-American women ages 15-45 in 2008, and despite the fact that homicides include three other categories besides intimate partners, the Attorney General of the United States Eric Holder makes this false claim on the Department of Justice website: “Disturbingly, intimate partner homicide is the leading cause of death for African-American women ages 15 to 45.” He actually first made that false claim in a speech on August 3, 2009, when he said “Intimate partner homicide is the leading cause of death for African-American women ages 15 to 45. These statistics are shocking and completely unacceptable.”
In a USA Today op-ed back on February 4, 2011, my AEI colleague Christina Sommers pointed out that it would be shocking and completely unacceptable if it were true, but in fact, it absolutely is not true (see table above). Instead, it’s shocking and completely unacceptable for the attorney general of the United States to spread false statistics that aren’t even remotely close to being true or accurate. Shocking, indeed. Especially when you see how that misinformation has spread so widely over the last three years and been quoted as fact by an institute on domestic violence at the University of Minnesota, on YouTube, in books like this one, on the American Bar Association website, and by a writer on the Huffington Post website, among many, many other websites, articles, and blog posts. Disturbingly, a Google search of Holder’s quote “Intimate partner homicide is the leading cause of death for African-American women ages 15 to 45″ reveals that the false claim now appears on more than 9,000 websites.
Thanks to Christina Sommers for exposing this false claim that has now remained on the Department of Justice (DOJ) website for more than three and-a-half years without correction, and her challenge to Eric Holder:
Victims of intimate violence are best served by the truth. Eric Holder should correct his department’s website immediately.
After more than three years, it doesn’t look like the false information on the DOJ website will be corrected. Maybe Rep. Darrell Issa can add the spreading of misinformation by Eric Holder and the Department of Justice to the list of reasons to investigate the Attorney General?