When a Wife Says “No”: Wife Sexual Refusal as a Factor in Husband–Wife Homicides in Ghana

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In Ghana, wife sexual refusal is a key factor in uxoricides or husband-to-wife murders. Despite this, there is a dearth of systematic research that examines sexual strife as a precipitant of domestic violence and spousal murder. The present article addresses the current lack of research by systematically examining 25 cases of homicides and attempted homicides where wives were lethally and nonlethally assaulted by their husbands following the former’s refusal to engage in husband-initiated sexual intercourse. A content analysis was conducted of all print and electronic media news items where a wife’s refusal of sexual intercourse with a husband triggered lethal or aggravated violence. The results showed that the victims were aged 23 to 55 years old and were generally of low socioeconomic status. The assailants were aged 28 to 60 years old. Assailants used machetes, knives, and personal weapons to perpetrate the crimes, and extreme violence was a frequent feature of both lethal and nonlethal acts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1607-1633
Number of pages27
JournalJournal of Interpersonal Violence
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Feb 2021


  • Ghana
  • homicide
  • intimate partner violence
  • sexual refusal
  • uxoricide


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