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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).


Linguistic Behavior
  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
Projective Systems
  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 groups?
Social Behavior
  Female refusal to engage in coitus respected by males
Pressure by verbal persuasion to achieve coitus with wife or other woman
Threats of physical harm to achieve coitus with wife or other woman
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 woman
Sadistic coitus with wife or other woman in which aggression is itself eroticized
Forced coitus is illegal
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