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Intimate Partner Violence in Ghana: Examining Bridewealth Payment and Male-Perpetrated Physical Abuse against Women

Charlotte Ofori, Regional Institute for Population Studies, Univeristy of Ghana
Francis Dodoo, Pennsylvania State University
Naa Dodua Dodoo, University of Ghana
Adriana A. Biney, University of Ghana

Male-perpetrated intimate-partner violence is a major public health concern globally. Differential power-dynamics associated with violence against women have deepened not only by socio-economic advantages, but also the cultural-context within which unions are arranged could increase men’s use of violence. In sub-Saharan Africa where marriage is widespread, bridewealth is exchanged to legitimize marriages, maintain kinship ties and ensure marital-stability. Overtime, bridewealth-payment has been linked with the use of violence against women. Using the Bridewealth-Payment and Normative Constraints on Women’s Lives Study conducted in Ghana, we examine if there is an association between bridewealth-payment and men’s self-reported intimate-partner violence perpetration. Results suggest that bridewealth payment is significantly associated with perpetrating physical abuse against female-intimate-partners. Age, education, religion, ethnicity and other personal-history characteristics were significant predictors of violence. If research in the sub-region seeks to induce change, and reduce the high prevalence of male-perpetrated violence against women, cultural-context and practices must be emphasized.

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  Presented in Session 114. Masculinities in Africa: Discourses Regarding Men Sexualities, Health and wellbeing In A Male-Controlled Society