To understand the relations between men and women in any society
it is crucial to determine the degree to which the drives of sex
and aggression are linked or individuated. Are these drives shaped
and directed by the sociocultural system so that they overlap, with
the result that the expression of sexual behavior has an aggressive
component and aggression in turn has sexual content? Or are they
so individuated that sex and violence seldom if ever are part of
the same behavioral environment?
Among the Rungus the drives of sex and aggression are highly individuated.
In the literature on sex and aggression the focus usually falls
on rape. Is rape a universal feature of all human societies? Is
it the product of the biological constitution of humans, or is it
a product of sociocultural factors? This narrow focus on rape behavior
limits our understanding of the social construction of the drives
of sex and aggression.
In some societies rape behavior may not be the only expression
of sexual aggression; and in others it may not occur while other
forms of sexual aggression may. Therefore, focusing on rape opens
only a window on part of the universe of the interlinkage or individuation
of the sex and aggression drives.
Furthermore, how do we define rape? Is rape a universal category
applicable to the study of all societies? Or is it a category of
the observer and therefore contaminated by the assumptions of his
society so that it does not map adequately behavior in another society
and may even distort the empirical evidence? Among the Rungus using
the term rape to label certain behaviors seems inappropriate since
violence and assault are lacking in instances of induced intercourse.
In the final result it comes down to the Rungus woman either acceding
to the man's pressures or refusing to. And if she refuses, it is
stated, then the man proceeds no further.
In our analysis we must also distinguish rape, that is sexual assault
which is unlawful in the society studied, from various forms of
intercourse which are against the wishes of the female or male but
which are not considered illegal, as in marital relations.
Finally, it is important to distinguish both linguistic behavior
and projective behavior from social behavior. If we make these distinctions
we can then scale societies more finely than has been previously
done (see Table One).
DEGREE OF INTERLINKAGE OF DRIVES OF SEX
AND AGGRESSION IN A SOCIETY
||Aggressive language involves threats to genitalia
||Terms for coitus involve metaphors of war and violence
||Term for rape exists
||Acts of aggression described by metaphors of coitus
|| Verbal aggression expressed by metaphors of coitus
|| Do the items in the following category of social behavior
appear in dreams, jokes, myths and legends, and the religious
domain? Are they attributed to animal behavior? To other ethnic
||Female refusal to engage in coitus respected by males
Pressure by verbal persuasion to achieve coitus with wife or
Threats of physical harm to achieve coitus with wife or other
Forced coitus not jurally recognized
Sexual act used as a means of expressing dominance over wife
or other woman
Violence is an integral aspect of coitus with wife or other
Sadistic coitus with wife or other woman in which aggression
is itself eroticized
Forced coitus is illegal