INCEST AND ADULTERY
Besapat ka ai
If a man or a woman wishes to marry his or her first cousin’s son or daughter, the marriage can only be approved provided that the couple pays the fine of besapat ka ai in the form of the articles and animals listed as follows:
Two sows (babi sepa), the blood of which is used for purifying the land in order to avoid earthquakes and erosion caused by heavy rain and high winds. The blood of another sow is used for purifying the river water to avoid flooding after the incestuous couples have bathed in it;
A blowpipe (sumpit) for piercing spiritually the holes of lighting. Again this is done to prevent floods;
The woven blanket (pua kumbu rayong) for spiritually covering the pockets at the edge of the river (ungkap) to avoid landslides;
One long sword (pedang panjai) for slashing the moving clouds in the sky, so that heavy rain can be stopped;
A woven blanket (kain kerabaya) for waving away the black clouds in the sky;
An iron adze (beliong lajong) for cutting the roots of the lensat fruit tree during the purifying ceremony in the river.
A large plate (pinggai besai) in order that the couple may not spiritually slip with the erosion of the earth;
A white shell armlet (rangki siti) is to be thrown into the river before the incestuous couple mingle the blood of a sow (babi sepa) in its waters; and
A tepayan jar for the enclosure of the souls of all of the people in the district spiritually endangered by the marriage.
All of these articles are given to the senior men who participate in officiating the besapat ka ai bathing ceremony, with the exception of the shell armlet (rangki) which is thrown into the river. The slain pigs are buried as no one wants to eat them due to the fact that they are used to purify the land and water from sin. Finally, the man is fined sambilan igi jabir, $9.00; the woman $7.00.
If a man or a woman marries his or her second cousin’s daughter or son, the number of pigs killed for the ceremony is two, together with the rest of the articles as mentioned in No. 7 above. In addition to these, the man is fined tujoh igi jabir, $7.00, and the woman sigi alas ngerang, $5.00; the ceremony is conducted in the same way as in No. 7 above.
Bekalih di darat
If a man or a woman marries his or her third cousin’s daughter or son, the couple is not required to bathe in the blood of a pig in the river. Instead the blood of the pig killed is used only for the purification of the land, so that pests will not damage padi and other crops. In addition the bridal couple is requested to produce a knife and an iron adze plus sigi alas muda, $4.00, to be paid by the bridegroom and sigi panding, $2.00, to be paid by the bride. This form of incestuous marriage is called bekalih di darat. An appointed elder kills the ceremonial pig.
If a man or a woman marries his or her fourth cousin’s daughter or son, the bridal couple is required only to bite a piece of steel (ngetup besi) to strengthen their souls, so that they can live a long life.
If a man or a woman marries his or her fifth cousin’s daughter or son, the bridal couple is required only to cut down a fruit tree each (batebang buah) to strengthen their souls. The fathers of the marrying couple do the felling of these trees.
If a man or a woman marries his or her sixth cousins daughter or son, the bridal couple is required only to bite a piece of salt (baketup garam) in the presence of chiefs and senior men to strengthen their souls.
No incest between uncle/aunty and niece/nephew
No Iban is allowed to marry or commit sexual intercourse with his brother’s or his sister’s daughter and vice versa. If an uncle has sexual intercourse with his niece or an aunt with her nephew, the man is fined $8.00, sigi rusa, and the woman $7.00, sigi alas barejang. In addition to this, they are required to customary adat law to purify the land with the blood of two sows (babi sepa) that have given birth several times to piglets. Moreover adat law disallows their marriage. If they marry after the district chief has fined them, the Penghulu must bring the case to the District Court for the magistrate to decide further fines or imprisonment.
An Iban man is strictly forbidden from marrying more than one wife at a time or a woman from marrying more than one husband. If either takes a second spouse without receiving a formal divorce from his or her previous partner, the spouse will accuse the offender in the Penghulu’s court of committing adultery. If the case is sustained, the man is fined sigi alas muda, $4.00, and their second marriage is not approved until the first marriage has been formally terminated by divorce. In the case of a man, he is also fined for divorcing his former wife. The fine is 20 katties, half of which goes to the government, and half to the injured party.
Butang ngau bini manok sabong
In ancient times if a man committed adultery with the wife of a war leader, he was fined fourteen jabir, $14.00, and the woman was fined the same amount. If in ancient times, a man committed adultery with a well-known warrior’s wife (bini manok sabong), he and the woman were each fined twelve jabir, $12.00.
If a man or a woman runs off with and marries another person’s spouse, the of fenders are both fined sigi alas muda, $4.00 each.
If a man and a woman of the same name (satamang) want to marry each other, their marriage is officiated with the besapat ka ai bathing ceremony, as in the case of incest, after the name of either the man or the woman has been changed. They must produce all articles required for the ceremony including a sow. In addition to these items, the bridegroom is fined sigi alas muda, $4.00, and the bride sigi panding, $2.00.
Butang apai-indai ngau anak
If a father or a mother commits sexual intercourse with his daughter or son, the father must produce a sow that has three times given birth to piglets, and his daughter a sow that has produced young twice. In addition, the father is fined sigi rusa, $8.00, and the daughter enam igi jabir, $6.00. In the case of the mother, she is fined enam igi jabir, $6.00 and her son sigi rusa, $8.00. In ancient times the offenders were executed with sharp bamboo stakes in accordance with the teaching of the deity Sengalang Burong to his grandson Sera Gunting. At the present time the offenders are strictly forbidden from marrying each other.
If a husband or a wife accuses his or her spouse without cause of committing adultery (nyangka butang) the offender who makes a false accusation is fined sigi jabir, $ 1.00.
If a husband or a wife secretly presents a ring to someone else’s spouse, and the two appear to love one another, they will be accused of committing butang tinchin adultery. In this case the man is fined sigi panding, $2.00, and the woman sigi jabir, $1.00.
If a man disguises himself as the real husband of a married woman, and by doing so, he sleeps and has sexual intercourse with her, the offender is fined sigi alas muda, $4.00, for committing butang nyaru adultery.
If a spinster or maiden conceives, but does not report her case to the Tuai Rumah until the third or fourth month, and if anyone in the longhouse falls sick or is wounded in due course, the offender is fined sigi alas muda, $4.00, and must produce a jarlet for kurong samengat, the enclosure of souls. This offence is known as tungkal kandong.