College-Educated Black Women More Likely Than Less Educated Black Women to Be Victims of Physical and Emotional Abuse

Kameri Christy-McMullin, an assistant professor of social work at the University of Arkansas, has completed a study of sexual abuse that will be published in an upcoming issue of the Journal of Ethnic and Cultural Diversity in Social Work. Her research examined racial factors from the 1999 National Crime Victimization Survey. She finds that black women with a college degree were 145 times more likely than black women who did not complete high school to be a victim of sexual or other abuse.

Professor Christy-McMullin believes that her research gives great credence to the “backlash theory.” This is that when women with a high level of education take on roles traditionally reserved for males, men strike back with abusive behavior in order to preserve power in their relationships.

“My concern is that these findings are not used to further oppress black women by saying they shouldn’t seek a college education,” Professor Christy-McMullin told JBHE.