Dr. Diana Cheng and Dr. Isabelle Horon undertook a study to discover the most likely cause of death among pregnant women. Their findings, which were published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), revealed that the leading cause of death among the pregnant women who died from 1993 to 1998 was homicide. This accounted for approximately 20% of the 247 cases.
The odds seem to indicate that these cases are not isolated incidents. According to 2008 data from the FBI, the odds a victim of a solved murder was in an intimate relationship with the murderer are 1 in 5.94. Murders by a spouse make up a large proportion of these cases, and much more often than not the murderer is the husband. While the odds the victim of a solved murder was the murder’s wife are 1 in 13.71, the odds the victim was the murderer’s husband are only 1 in 66.49. The killing of one’s wife has been so prevalent throughout the centuries that The Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary traces the word uxoricide—murder of a wife by her husband—back to 1733.
While the Bureau of Justice Statistics reports that the number of intimate homicides (that is, those committed by a spouse, ex-spouse, lover, or family member) has declined since 1976, most of the decline is due to fewer male victims killed by intimates. In recent years, according to the agency, one third of female murder victims died at the hands of an intimate, while only about 3% of men met the same fate.
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