Friday, May 10, 2013

“In societies where nature is held sacred, rape occurs only rarely”

…As far as human societies are concerned, anthropologists have long documented differences in the extent of sexual coercion in different human societies.
More than three decades ago, Peggy Reeves Sanday at the University of Pennsylvania found wide variations in sexual coercion in an analysis of 156 older societies. In some of these societies, sexual coercion was widespread. In others, it was nearly absent. Sexual coercion, Sanday said — in a view backed by numerous feminist scholars — is shaped by cultural forces: “It is important to understand that violence is socially and not biologically programmed.”

“Rape is not an integral part of male nature but the means by which men programmed for violence express their sexual selves,” Sanday wrote in 1981. “Men who are conditioned to respect the female virtues of growth and the sacredness of life do not violate women. It is significant that in societies where nature is held sacred, rape occurs only rarely.”


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