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Sanday (1986) has argued that societies which are rape free have certain sociocultural characteristics. In such societies women are respected and are influential members of the community, and the relationship between the sexes is characterized by equality and complementarity. The evidence presented by L. W. R. Appell in this volume and the analysis here tend to support these hypotheses.16

Sanday (1986:85) goes on to argue that rape is a form of silencing or concealing male vulnerability and maternal dependency. Rape is part of a sociocultural script in which the expression of personhood for males is directed by interpersonal violence and an ideology of toughness. Thus, she writes (1986:90):

The various cultural transformations of the theme of male vulnerability and fear of the feminine so far discussed suggest that a logical question to ask of both rape-prone and rape-free societies concerns the cultural mechanisms for resolving male vulnerability and alleviating what may be a generically human potentiality for fearing entrapment by the maternal.

Let us examine Rungus male behavior in the light of these propositions. The personhood of the Rungus male is not constructed on the capacity for interpersonal violence and an ideology of toughness. Headhunting was never a major part of Rungus society. And raiding for property ceased even before the arrival of the British in the late 1880s. The personhood of the Rungus male is constructed on the skills of farming, trading property, and oral argument at the village moots.17

Furthermore, we have not been able to find any evidence to suggest that Rungus males are threatened in any noticeable degree by vulnerability and attributes of the feminine, nor is there any evidence to indicate that they have a fear of maternal dependency. Rungus men are deeply involved in child rearing and the family. It is also believed that to "make" a child intercourse must progress for up to five months before the child is "completed". So they participate more intimately in the act of maternity than in many other societies. Furthermore, at birth the husband receives the child and cuts its umbilical cord. The issue of male personhood being threatened by participating in female activities does not exist.

How do the Rungus resolve the conflict over male toughness and female vulnerability and maternal dependency? They don't. It is not an issue, it is not a cultural construct, as far as we have been able to ascertain.

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