“My Daughter Was Sacrificed by My Mother”: Women’s Involvement in Ritually Motivated Violence and Murder in Contemporary Africa
Chima Agazue https://orcid.org/0000-0002-2995-0179 is a UK-based British-Nigerian scholar with teaching and research interests in the areas of psychology, criminology, and criminal justice. He has taught criminology and criminal justice at the Blackpool University Centre and psychology at Bath Spa University. His research interests include sexual exploitation and abuse of vulnerable women and children; child cruelty and homicide by mothers and female caregivers; witchcraft-motivated violence and homicide; ritually motivated crimes; the perception of children as spiritual entities or possessed by certain mischievous spirits; bystander intervention in violent emergencies; the changing patterns of female criminality, particularly criminal violence and homicide; and the Nigerian notion of "one-chance" robbery.
Ritually motivated crimes are grave crimes that continue to plague contemporary Africa. Occasionally, victims abducted for ritual purposes are discovered and set free. Fresh or decomposing bodies are spotted somewhere, often with missing parts taken by the ritual killers who killed the victims. Some missing persons in the continent are presumed to have been abducted or killed by ritually motivated criminals. Although ritually motivated crimes take different forms, most of them involve brutal acts of violence and murder. The barbaric manner in which these criminals attack or slaughter their victims creates fear and panic. Traditionally, men commit serious crimes involving brutal acts of violence and murder. However, this has changed in recent times as many women currently engage in violent crimes and murder. Thus, researchers in criminology and criminal psychology have paid increasing research attention to women’s involvement in serious crimes. The African magic industry attracts both men and women as clients, witchdoctors, and ritualists. Like male witchdoctors, the female witchdoctors equally dispatch human body hunters and kidnappers to find victims. Women patronize witchdoctors with the full awareness that human parts would be used in the preparation of the charms or concoctions they seek. Women work independently or as accomplices to males who abduct, attack, or kill those targeted for ritual purposes. While women’s involvements in different types of violent crimes and murder are well documented, women’s participation in ritually motivated violence and murder has been overly neglected in academic literature. This article aims to bridge this vital gap. It explores how women actively participate in ritually motivated violence and murder in different capacities in contemporary Africa and calls for research to establish motivations and modus operandi specific to women in these serious crimes.
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.
Agazue, Chima (2021) "“My Daughter Was Sacrificed by My Mother”: Women’s Involvement in Ritually Motivated Violence and Murder in Contemporary Africa," Dignity: A Journal of Analysis of Exploitation and Violence: Vol. 6: Iss. 5, Article 5. https://doi.org/10.23860/dignity.2021.06.05.05
Community Psychology Commons, Criminology Commons, Other Anthropology Commons, Other Psychology Commons, Other Religion Commons, Other Sociology Commons, Social and Cultural Anthropology Commons, Social Control, Law, Crime, and Deviance Commons, Social Psychology Commons, Sociology of Culture Commons, Sociology of Religion Commons, Women's Studies Commons