Spousal homicides in contemporary Ghana

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19 Scopus citations


This study added to the scant extant literature on lethal marital violence in non-Western societies through the analysis of seventy-two spousal killings that were reported in a Ghanaian daily newspaper during 1990-2005. The findings showed that husbands were five times more likely to kill a spouse as were wives and that sexual jealousy and suspicions of infidelity were the most common precipitating factor in uxoricides. Mariticides were fueled by anger towards a husband who planned to take an additional wife, or by an instrumental need to replace a husband with a new lover. Analysis of data further revealed a predominance of poor and working class victims and assailants. The crime often occurred in the common dwelling place of the couple or a jointly-owned farm, or in cases involving separation, in the wife's natal home or farm. A plethora of methods were used to perpetrate the murders, including shooting with a gun, hacking with a cutlass or machete, hitting with a blunt object, and beating with personal weapons.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)209-216
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Criminal Justice
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2008


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