Re: Offline/online:domes.violence

Harriet Whitehead (whitehea@WSUAIX.CSC.WSU.EDU)
Wed, 14 Dec 1994 07:21:19 -31802

Chris Morgan writes that we need to be "more specific about what we're
calling domestic abuse" but I note that the thread so far has elicited
only examples that I would call "domestic abuse" - including Morgan's
examples. Obviously we can break them down into subtypes...

Baktaman and Seltaman produced examples of women committing suicide or
attempting to commit suicide after beatings at the hands of a husband or
mother (these were remembered or reported; they didn't occur during my
field visits). Men never suicided in these two groups, but there was a
case or two from more distant Mountain Ok groups; didn't find out why.

Probably the most famous case of spousal abuse among the Seltaman was the
case of "A" (written up by Barth) who repeatedly beat his new wife until
she took sick and died. She is said to have called all the women to her
as she lay dying and told them, "A did this. He's bad news. Don't any of

you marry him." No one ever did. He lived amng the Baktaman for a while
looking for a wife and struck out there too. For a while he had an affair
with a clan sister and wound up killing her in a rage over sexual
rejection. When I arrived at Seltaman, A was still alive (in his 80s),
never married, now a doddering and rather sweet old man. He's the longest
lived Seltaman in the population. Seltaman repeat this story as a
cautionary tale against wife-beating.

Harriet Whitehead
Anthropology, WSU