Re: Sex Crimes

Al Patenaude (
Thu, 10 Oct 1996 17:51:01 -0700

Bill Miller wrote:
> I read something that got me to wondering, do primitive cultures have the
> same problems with sex crimes as we, supposedly more advanced, cultures
> have?
> If not, why not?

Yes, indeed, less civilized (in the sense of being non-urban)
societies did have sexual or reproductive crimes and sanctions
appropriate to their mode of production and worldview.

The Dogrib in Canada's Northwest Territories viewed rape seriously
as their term for rape was "the tearing apart of a woman" and the
offender was either banished or executed. Inuit, further North,
held similar views (although the Inuktitut term escapes me) and
had similar sanctions.

In less egalitarian societies, women were viewed as chattel ot the
property of their fathers or husbands. Rape was viewed as damaging
the goods or property of these other males and the sanction was in
line with that patriarchal view.

It is important to remember, however, that it has only been during
the last 200 years that prisons were used as a place to hold
convicted offenders. Prior to that time, prisons were to hold
prisoners who were awaiting trial and/or execution.

Does this answer your question, or were you more interested in a
more statistical perspective? If the latter, I beleive you'll be
disappointed as so-called "primitive cultures" tend to be non-literate.
I'd like to see this thread develop. Take Care.

Al Patenaude
School of Criminology
Simon Fraser University
Burnaby, B.C. V5A 1S6 email:
Canada website: http:\\\~apatenau