Written Statement on Violence Against Women
United States “Stand Your Ground” (SYG) laws extend immunity to prosecution or civil suit for the use of deadly force in self-defense beyond the home, without imposing a duty to retreat. SYG laws are overbroad and prone to amplifying existing racial biases. Studies have shown that the number of justifiable homicides has increased in those states that have implemented some form of SYG laws.
The often-uneven application of SYG laws perpetuates discrimination and re-victimizes survivors of domestic violence, disproportionately criminalizing African American and Latina women and other marginalized groups who act in self-defense against domestic abuse. In stark contrast to the outcome in the killing of Trayvon Martin stands the case, also in Florida, of Marissa Alexander, an African American woman sentenced to 20 years in prison for shooting the ceiling during an altercation with her abusive husband, who was unharmed in the incident.