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NYC Sees Over 40% Increase in Felony Assaults Against Women

by Venus Sanders

Startling statistics reveal that physical assaults against women have surged by an alarming 41% over the past four years, according to data from the NYPD obtained by She's SINGLE.

As of October 1 this year, a shocking 2,830 women have fallen victim to felony assaults, excluding cases of domestic violence, compared to a considerably lower figure of 2,006 just four years ago. This troubling trend has shown a 5% increase from the same period last year, when 2,699 women were victims of felony assaults.

Disturbingly, these attacks encompass a wide range of offenses, from random subway shoves to brutal beatings, prompting concern among women who now fear for their safety. A 27-year-old woman, who recently became the victim of an unprovoked attack at a subway station, expressed the sentiment shared by many: "It feels like men just hate us."

Criticism has been directed towards former Mayor Bill de Blasio and city officials for their policies to reduce the city's jail population during the pandemic and for passing legislation aimed at decreasing the number of people in custody as part of the plan to close Rikers Island. The consequences of these actions, according to some, have left individuals with nowhere to go, leading to increased incidents of violence.

Misdemeanor assaults against women, excluding domestic violence cases, have also experienced an 8% rise during the same period, climbing from 8,008 in 2019 to a concerning 8,668 in 2023. The tally is even more troubling when compared to last year, as 7,734 women fell victim to such assaults, marking a 12% increase. This increase in assaults isn't limited to women; it reflects an overall 6% uptick in felony and misdemeanor assaults across all genders citywide this year.

The victims point to women's smaller size and stature as a contributing factor to their increased vulnerability, but they also attribute the rise in assaults to the passage of legislation that has allowed more criminals to roam the streets and the inadequacy of services provided to drug addicts and individuals with mental health issues.

While city officials have recently passed legislation expanding mental health services and proposed budget initiatives to support violence prevention and victim services programs, many victims have resorted to self-defense measures such as carrying knives or pepper spray for protection. The dire situation has prompted women to come together online to share safety tips and experiences.

Experts, including Jane Manning, director of Women's Equal Justice Project, link the surge in assaults to a disturbing increase in aggressive misogyny in public discourse. This phenomenon transcends political divides and emboldens some men to target women. According to Joseph Giacalone, a retired NYPD sergeant and adjunct professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, criminals seek out the most vulnerable targets, emphasizing the importance of public safety in subways and on the streets.

In response to this alarming trend, women in the city are uniting online to raise awareness and share strategies for self-protection. Messages like "Please stay aware because you will never know when s–t like this is gonna happen" are echoing through social media channels, as women strive to protect themselves and their peers in the face of rising assaults.


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