The Origins of War in Child Abuse by Lloyd deMause
Chapter 7
Child Abuse, Homicide and Raids in Tribes  
Each generation of parents commits atrocities
against their children which by God’s
decree remain invisible to the rest to the world.
– John Updike

The next four chapters will describe the slow, uneven evolution of childrearing from the fearful insecure attachments of tribes to the more loving secure attachments of modern fully democratic nations. These historical improvements in childrearing will be shown to decrease the implantation in children of delusional violent alters and increase the achievement of the real self and thereby reduce the amount of homicide, raids and wars.

I discovered evidence of the dependence of historical cultural evolution upon increasingly secure attachments of children four decades ago in my book The History of Childhood1 and have devoted my life since then in seven books and over a hundred scholarly articles to documenting how this psychogenesis took place. I have also published hundreds of additional articles by fellow scholars in my two scholarly journals, The Journal of Psychohistory and The Journal of Psychoanalytic Anthropology in the past 36 years documenting childhood and personality evolution in other times and cultures. That psychogenic parenting evolution rather than genetic evolution is the central source of historical change is a brand new theory, replacing theories that claim that “survival of the fittest” (the most aggressive) is what determines which groups survive and claiming instead that “survival of the most cooperative” (the most secure, the most attached) is what actually counts historically, and that those who had the most loving caretaking as children became the most cooperative and culturally evolved as adults.2

Anthropologists have written extensively about childhood in tribal cultures. Typical of their conclusions is Rohner’s, commenting from his cross-cultural review of parenting from the Human Relations Area Files that tribal mothers were “warm and nurturant toward their children” and that “the more complex a socio-cultural system is, the less warm parents in general tend to be.”3 Their evidence for this is mainly based on the continuous skin contact between nursing mothers and infants, even when the nursing was forced because of maternal need for erotic stimulation and was accompanied by constant genital manipulation of the infant by the mother. The masturbation by mothers of their children, Korbin found in her large cross-cultural sample of tribes, is widespread, but, as was mentioned previously, she concludes sex with children is not abusive because the society itself doesn’t call it abuse, saying “children’s genitals being fondled does not constitute ‘abuse’ if in that society the behavior was not proscribed.”4 Maternal incest is what is behind the cross-cultural finding by anthropologists that “where the mother sleeps closer to the baby than to the father and uses the baby as a substitute spouse, there is more homicide and a higher frequency of war.”5 After all, another cross-cultural study of adult-child sexual relations finds, experts believe that there is “no reason to believe that sexual contact between an adult and child is inherently wrong or harmful.”6 Such “experts” as, for instance, Kinsey and Pomeroy, who claimed that “incest between adults and younger children can be satisfying and enriching.”7 Or as all the anthropological books on cross-cultural childrearing that say “although mothers masturbating children is widespread [it] does not constitute ‘abuse’ if in that society the behavior was not proscribed.”8 The anthropologists report routine “incessant fondling of infants, masturbation by mothers kissing the boy’s penis, women passing baby boys back and forth over their heads, taking turns sucking the penis, lying on sons in the male position and freely masturbating them at night,” practices they call “nurturant.”9

Idealization of other cultures is the rule in anthropology, we found in publishing The Journal of Psychoanalytic Anthropology, by leaving out crucial details—as did Margaret Mead in her portrayal of the ubiquitous raping gangs of Samoa as an example of “sexual freedom” that we should emulate.10 As I discovered when I took classes with Mead at Columbia University, she routinely idealizes tribal childhood as “spoiled and pampered.”11 Most anthropologists do not just idealize childrearing, they baldly state without evidence that tribal mothers are “rarely abusive,” as when they say that children who are forced to eat every second sibling “are the favored ones who started life with no oral trauma,” and that eating one’s siblings believed to be demons “doesn’t seem to have affected their personality development.”12 Dozens more statements as bizarre as this are analyzed in the forty issues of my Journal of Psychoanalytic Anthropology.


Because our task in this chapter is to determine what childhood and war were like in early historical tribes—which of course have left no records other than those archeologists have uncovered—we will concentrate on more recent observations of tribal cultures before they were much affected by contact with the West. We will therefore begin by discussing childhood in New Guinean, Australian aboriginal and African tribal cultures that were among the last to be explored and changed by Western cultures.

Infanticide rates were enormous in New Guinea, with the first missionaries estimating that two-thirds of the children were murdered by their parents.13 As in other tribal cultures, abstinence and abortion were well known, but infanticide was mainly what was the practice,14 so growing children were routinely traumatized while they watched their mothers strangle or otherwise murder their siblings. Margaret Mead said of her tribe “they are always throwing away infants here”15 and not because of lack of resources to feed them. When tribal mothers were asked why they killed their infants, they stated it was because they were “demon children,” because “children are too much trouble,” because “it was a girl and must be killed,” or “because her husband would go to another woman” for sex if she had to nurse the infant.16 Children watched their mothers bury their siblings live, eat them, or toss them to sows to devour—or else they would force the grown-up children to help them kill their siblings or even sometimes make them kill live infants purchased for murdering from other tribes.17 Mothers who ate their children are described as “overcome by frightful hunger for baby meat”—again, not because of lack of food, but because of an inner need to re-incorporate infants after losing them at birth. New Guinea infanticide rates are similar to the 50 percent rates estimated for small-scale societies around the world today.18 Some tribes kill so many newborn that they regularly have to buy children from neighboring tribes so their tribe won’t disappear.19 Differential infanticide (killing more girl babies) is the rule in tribes all the way back to the child sacrifice of infants to Beast-Goddesses that took place in Paleolithic caves, Jericho and Stonehenge.20 The children who watched their mothers killing or eating babies “suddenly avoided their parents, shrieked in their presence, or expressed unusual fear of them…recounting dreams about animal-man beings with the faces of parents smeared with blood.”21 The fears and dreams get stored in their inner alters as time bombs to be exploded later in life.

Females in New Guinea are treated brutally. Since they are routinely viewed as secretly being witches “who can kill simply by staring at a person”22 (Killer Mother alters), they are often killed simply because they are imagined to have poisoned people.23 Mothers in New Guinea are horribly abused as girls, being routinely raped by fathers, brothers, visitors, peers, gangs. When they become wives they are treated brutally by men and have suicide rates as high as 25 percent. Mothers are therefore post-partum depressed, and they use their children for sexual stimulation—repeating their own abuse—and then abandoning them emotionally, so they vary between masturbating them and hanging them up in a bag on a tree all day long. Since the men routinely beat up their wives, there is no evidence of spousal intimate love, so mothers are continuously in despair; if they are not forcibly breast-feeding their babies or masturbating them, sucking on their penises,24 the baby is useless to them as erotic objects and not fed regularly. Small children are routinely allowed to play with sharp knives and burning objects without adults paying any attention to them.25 Mothers hate themselves and consider themselves “bad” for having been raped as young girls26 and for having to endure loveless polygamous marriages. Maternal “mirroring” is lacking, so children do not become secure with others and do not develop an independent self.27 Children even recently are 90 percent malnourished in New Guinea, studies show, even when food is plentiful, because mothers only feed them a couple of times a day, and they die from starvation while the mothers are puzzled what is wrong with them.28 The mothers’ force-feeding during erotic nursing “becomes a battle in which the mother clutches the child, shaking it up and down with the nipple forced into its mouth until it must either suck or choke,” but when not used as an erotic object, they are badly neglected, often “thrown away,” so that abandonment rates run as high as 75 percent as they are sent out for adoption or fosterage.29 When not hung on a tree in a bag or basket, the toddler is “discouraged from walking and not allowed to crawl, [forced to] sit still for hours and make queer noises.”30 All this overstimulation plus abandonment produces extremely insecurely attached children in the infanticidal mode of childrearing who are schizoid personalities with dissociated alters embedded in their amygdalan networks to “carry” the pain of their abuse.31 Schizoid personalities—with their animistic delusional magical thinking processes—are the results of parents who simply are incapable of loving. As Masterson concludes: “The Schizoid child feels there is no pathway to the parents. [They live in] social isolation [with] an impossibility of an intimate relationship.”32 They have no inner Good Mother, so their inner attacking Mother is experienced as a deadly voice inside: “Feeling alone is feeling afraid of death.”33 Masterson calls schizoid patients “safety sensitive because of their twin fears of being controlled and of being hopelessly isolated.”34 In tribal families, there is no hope for forgiveness, only “eat Mommy or be eaten by her.” Yakut shamans hallucinate schizoid self-sacrifice to “a Bird-of-Prey-Mother, which is like a great bird with an iron beak, hooked claws and a long tail [who] cuts its body into bits and devours it.”35 Tribal schizoids then switch into dissociated alter trances and repeat their fears in spirit possession rituals.36

New Guinea mothers constantly “rub the penes of their infant sons [and] the little boys…have erections” while they sleep naked together at night. One boy described to Poole how whenever his mother was depressed or angry she often “pulled, pinched, rubbed, or flicked a fingernail against his penis” until he cried, afraid it might break off. “It hurts inside,” he said. “It bleeds in there and hurts when I pee…Mother not like my penis, wants to cut it off.”37 Males also masturbated and sucked children’s genitals, both sexes, using the child as a maternal breast as all pedophiles do.38 Mothers also masturbate and kiss the vagina of baby girls.39 Malinowski reports watching the widespread sucking of genitals and intercourse between children in Melanesia, encouraged by parents, so that most girls are raped by the time they are seven years old.40 New Guinea fathers rarely care for their little children, but when they do they mainly fondle their genitals, using the child as a breast-object “because they say they get sexually aroused when they watch them nurse.”41 Families in preliterate cultures usually have separate spaces for males “in which the husband and wife live with their respective mothers and at night the man ‘visits’ his wife in her house.”42 Physical contact with wives is avoided, and separate sleeping areas are maintained by husbands.43 A gynarchy composed of the grandmother, mother and other females, brings up the children, so the boys have little contact with males in their early years and are thoroughly ambiguous about their gender. Archeologists have even determined that “there were no Neanderthal families to begin with since women and children lived in separate areas from the males in caves.44 This arrangement was practiced historically from tribal cultures into early states; even in antiquity, “the women’s apartments [were] separated from the men’s quarters by a bolted door…[ancient] Greek couples do not eat together.”45

New Guinea mothers are so violent while using their children sexually that the children regularly blame themselves as they are hurt by them:

Mother twist penis, tight, tight…Hurt, hurt, inside. Cry, she not listen… Mother not like my penis, wants to cut it off… [Wounds himself with a sharp stick.] …Now it hurts here, outside, not in penis. Look, blood. Feels good… Good to be a girl, no penis.

Because of the constant brutal abuse, all schizoid tribal personalities are so insecurely attached they are extremely uncertain about their genders, and most of their adult lives replay the early gender anxieties produced by their parental incest/rejection experiences. New Guinea boys begin this replaying of embedded alters at seven, when men conduct fellatio on them, forcing their penises into the boys’ mouths and anuses the same way their mothers earlier used them both in incest and forced feeding. This oral rape begins by blaming mothers as “evil defilers” of the boys who have “polluted and weakened their sons” with their poisonous menstrual blood. This supposed pollution is countered by forcing the boys to suck the semen of men daily for years, saying, “It’s the same as your mother’s breast milk” but it will “make you a STRONG man” and will prevent them from growing into females.46 That raping boys orally can “make them hard” and “prevent them from being soft” may seem bizarre, but believed in wholeheartedly nonetheless.

Anthropologists sometimes state without evidence that the continuous oral rape by men of boys in New Guinea is “enthusiastically enjoyed” by the boys, who are “eager to suck” men’s penises, and that it has “a positive effect on the boy’s development.”47 The boys are also bled profusely by men by thrusting sharp leaves back and forth in their nostrils to remove the polluted mother-blood inside them, sometimes even subincising the penis, cutting it until it splits open, calling the cut a “boy’s vagina,” and having intercourse in it.48 Anthropologists describing this endless fellatio and genital mutilation of boys do not call it rape, stating instead that “the great majority of Sambia boys regularly engage in fellatio for years [because thereby they] learn how to be men, how to protect themselves from dangers of pollution.”49 Both men and women regularly fondle and mouth little boys’ penises.50 Girls, too, are routinely raped and often have their vaginas mutilated in tribal cultures—again because of extreme gender uncertainties, saying their clitoris must be removed because otherwise it would grow to be a foot long and they could then dominate men—plus it helps prevent girls from being “too sexual.”51 Older children routinely gang rape younger boys and girls, a practice reported by anthropologists with some neutral phrase like “they are typically initiated into intercourse by older and more experienced child,” a practice termed by one anthropologist as “healthy” because it gives the child “multiple experiences of sexual pleasure.”52

The inner alters embedded by all these extremely traumatic childrearing practices are called spirits or demons, and are the central focus of tribal cultural life. Children’s alters are usually called finiik, and they are said to “temporarily depart from the body to wander abroad…during trances, and children regularly tell how their witch alters possess their bodies and make them do things.”53 New Guinea natives can be warm and friendly and then suddenly switch into their alters and kill you because they think you are bewitching them.54 Trance possessions by alter spirits are found in all tribal cultures, in shamans, in witches and in others in the group during possession rituals as groups feel “power surges” and go out to conduct their killing raids.55 Drawings of alter-possessed shamans have been found on the walls of Ice Age “maternal caves.”56

The neurophysiology of possession trances have been well studied as “altered states of consciousness” that are entered into by various “driving” techniques that produce the hyperactivity, convulsive tremors and grandiose states that dominate those who are in a slow-wave electroencephalogram trance, insensible to pain, united with their spirit alters.57 Shamans are full-blown multiple personalities, becoming their alters, not just hearing them as internal voices. Their violent alters are those of the Killer Mother. Before raids, New Guinea shamans hallucinate that they are embedded with maternal spirits, and they call their war drums “the voice of their ancestor mother.”58

Boys in New Guinea are taught to always dominate rather than submit, and to beat up girls—adults urging them to take a branch and “stick it up her vagina.” To restore their masculinities, boys are encouraged to “sit facing each other, exchange endless sexual or personal insults” and then fight each other.59 Homicide rates are from sixty to a hundred times higher in tribal cultures than the current U.S. rate; one careful study of the Gebusi found 60 percent of all males admitted to having committed one or more homicides, almost all because they became sorcerers.60 All women are believed to be capable of becoming witches who can kill you by staring at you—delusional Killer Mother she-demons—so wife beating is nearly universal, female suicide rates are enormous (up to 25 percent of women’s deaths), gang rape of girls is practiced daily, and the torture and execution of women suspected of being witches who poison men is common. All this extreme misogyny is hardly an atmosphere that encourages maternal love and investment in the care of the next generation, so little improvement in childrearing and little evolution of personalities has been seen for thousands of years. Cultural evolution is ultimately psychogenic, not genetic—occurring as an increase in parent-child attachment, not as “the survival of the fittest.”

Since most infants were killed at birth and over half of male adults committed homicide, it is not surprising that deaths in raids, their version of wars, have been said to be minimal. Until recently, anthropologists promulgated the myth of the “peaceful savage,” until Keeley, LeBlanc and others actually demonstrated by voluminous evidence that both tribal societies today and early historical societies killed 10 to 30 times the proportion of people as even the most violent states in recent times. The archeological record is rich with evidence like the studies of Mesolithic hunter-gatherer burials that found over 40 percent of the men, women and children died violently.61 Plus Keeley found over 25 percent of adult males of unwesternized tribal societies died from raids, reaching over 60 percent for Amazonian tribes.62 Knauft estimated that murder accounted for the deaths of at least 35 percent of all New Guinea men and 29 percent of women. Despite anthropologists’ assertions that tribal violence is “adaptive” and that raids were fought for “scarce resources,”63 none of these deaths were over resources at all, all were solely emotional in origin, most of them being blamed on “sorcery” after imagining being insulted or humiliated.64 In fact, as we have previously noted, death inflicted by violence from others is always caused by the previous implantation of murderous “time bombs” in child abuse, and has declined from over 80 percent to under 2 percent even in the most bellicose nations in recent centuries as childrearing has slowly evolved.65 Homicide rates in New Guinea actually run sixty times the current U.S. rate.66 They are caused by the same “collapse of self-esteem” that Gilligan says U.S. murderers experience, where they “imagine themselves to be humiliated and shamed” as they routinely were as children.67

Tribal cultures are, as we have earlier said, also often mislabled as “egalitarian.” What is being referred to is their deep lack of trust in each other, coming from terribly insecure childhood attachments, which produces such overwhelming fear of the group and of authorities that true chiefs cannot be found, only “Big Men” who may be more violent than others but who cannot be trusted and therefore are only mediators, not real leaders.68 Even large tribes often find they cannot trust leaders or designate internal peacekeepers. Since in tribes “the mother is an eternal threat to self-individuation,” men do not securely attach to them and so also cannot bond to other men as their delegates, except in useless symbolic rituals where they cut their veins and smear their [maternal menstrual] blood on each other to form “blood brotherhoods.” In New Guinea, “they execute prominent individuals who overstep their prerogatives [and] Australian aborigines traditionally eliminated aggressive men who tried to dominate them.”69 Even ownership was looked upon by tribes with disfavor: “Those who acquired too much were expected to either engage in gift-exchange or destroy their surplus in cleansing sacrificial ceremonies,”70 so investment in new economic enterprises was missing.

Bloody raids are conducted in tribes by small groups when men fuse with their inner Killer Mother alters, who becomes the death-dealing witch-goddess of the raids, the warriors saying they are “charged with the powerful destructive energy of menstruating women.”71 They fuse with their warrior alters by “leaving their former self behind and becoming something entirely different…The change usually accomplished through ritual drumming, dancing, fasting and sexual abstinence…into a new warriorlike mode of being, denoted by special body paint, masks and headdresses.”72 Borguignon found nearly all tribes had trance induction rituals that reproduced early trauma and gave them the “high” of dopamine infusion that led to violence.73 New Guinea war myths are often based on maternal infanticide themes, as when the Sambia myth says: “Numboolyu’s wife, Chenchi, killed her first male child [so] we now fight—war.”74 Raids are rituals that establish masculinity for a time while being fused with the Killer Mother, as men go into their cult houses “like underneath the skirts of their mother,” replicate childbirth in rituals by male initiators called “mothers,” and go out to kill others in order to re-enact the killings and tortures of their childhoods.75

Most tribes engage in extensive raids at least once every two years. New Guinea tribes sometimes have dozens of raids a year.76 Raids since the Paleolithic have been seen as being conducted when possessed by “a mother-animal, the mistress of the dead, an old woman,” a Killer Mother alter.77 When warriors went out on their purifying headhunting raids, they switched into their killing alters by a “special magic, which placed the fighters in a trance-like state of dissociation in which they became capable of extreme, indiscriminate violence [which] made them capable of killing even their own wives and children.”78 Among the Hua, “it is feared that if a person fails to eat the corpse of his or her same-sex parent, that person will become stunted and weak.”79 New Guinea men often conduct all-night rituals where they are possessed by “spirit women” who tell them which of the many witches that surround them they should now kill.80 Warriors become fused with the powerful mother that masturbated them during menstruation; they then decorate themselves with menstrual blood-red paint so they can appropriate the fearful power of their Killer Mothers.81

Alters are often projected into the heads of the enemy, so head-hunting was endemic in New Guinea, “leading to endless intertribal feuds, and the slightest pretext is seized upon to begin a war to obtain the coveted trophies.”82 Chop off a head and you can capture the power of the Killer Mother. They believe they can restore their masculinity by eating the head or penis of an enemy “to absorb his strength.”83 New Guinea sorcerers continuously call upon their tribes to slaughter others. Knauft found two-thirds of a sample of Gebusi men had committed homicide.84 As Kelly puts it: “It is clear that homicide rates are considerably higher in simple foraging societies than in some sedentary agricultural societies with more developed forms of sociopolitical organization.85 In New Guinea, imaginary humiliations and magical sorcery attacks make immediate retribution necessary: “The assailants spring on their victim from ambush, brutally overpower him, jab poisons directly into his body, and sometimes twist or rip out organs.”86 Fathers help their small boys headhunt by holding his spear hand so he can kill and decapitate some acquaintance or relative.87 Little attempt is made to rationalize the homicides. “An angry man may attack or even kill another who is in no way related to the object or cause of his rage. This is true not only of violence against outsiders, but of violence within the village.”88

Murderous raids are fought when “growth panic” becomes excessive, when new tasks such as building houses or expanding gardens threatens too much personal growth and after initiations when adolescents “grow up” and leave their mothers. As the Mae Enga tribe says: “When times are good, the men of the clan spoil for a fight.”89 The men designate Big Men who find a rationalization for fighting (Faked Provocation Phase), and the warriors go out to meet their opponents with massed chanting, insults and challenges. When no other clan can be found to raid, they raid their own clansmen. That those killed are Bad Selves is everywhere apparent. When tribal raiding parties meet women with babies, they usually kill only the male infants, that is, themselves.90 Prisoners are rarely taken. The easiest raids are burning random houses and axing the families as they try to escape.91 Victims’ heads and penises are taken as trophies, reincorporating their own “strong” body parts. Evidence of the defleshing and cannibalization of “enemies” goes back 750,000 years to the earliest tribes, and most tribes say they collect the skulls so they can absorb the fighting strength of their enemies.92 Indeed, “It is good to have enemies, because they are good to kill and eat.”93 Many warriors even take the name of the victim they eat.94 Both sides often give gifts to the other side after the raids are over. When all the killing and victim-eating is finished, “the Big Men of each side make speeches…listing the dead [and] set the scene for future exchanges…The victors may profit only in terms of glory…they have no right to invade and occupy the losers’ territory…everyone hurries home, satisfied that he has vindicated his honor.”95

The early infanticidal childrearing mode of Austrian Aboriginals has been arguably the most abusive and neglectful of all tribal cultures. It is possible that the poor environment of the Australian desert is partially responsible for their lack of progress in childrearing, though New Guinea was nearly as stuck as they are in early infanticidal mode childrearing and they have had a far better environment than Australia. The origins of the very violent personalities of Aboriginals are, of course, in no way caused by genetic differences, only developmental. Thousands of Aboriginals have been removed from their parents and brought up by modern city parents and they turn out to have personalities indistinguishable from others in their adoptive families.

The custom of raping Aboriginal children, eating “every second child” and making the older children also eat them is termed “a quite favorable picture” by Roheim.96 Mothers regularly forced their children to eat their newborn siblings “in the belief that the strength of the first child would be doubled by such a procedure.”97 Sometimes the fetus would be “pulled out by the head, roasted and eaten by the mother and the children” and sometimes “a big boy would be killed by the father by being beaten on the head” and given to the mother to eat.98 Since most newborns in the Pacific area, from Hawaii to Tahiti, were murdered by their mothers,99 and since their siblings were forced to participate in the killings, all adults had Killer Mother alters implanted in their amygdalan fear networks which they were compelled to reenact. Hippler says Australian children “attacked infants unceasingly” while “the mother rarely intervenes…Children’s attacks become so common that one often hears adults saying ‘Don’t kill the baby.’ But no one interferes and the child is increasingly made subject to violence and stress.”100 He also says “children are abused by their mother and others…routinely brutally…jerked roughly, slapped or shaken…verbally abusive using epithets such as ‘you shit’ [frightened by] a dangerous world full of demons, though in reality the real dangers are from his caretakers…children are terrified to leave the presence of their mothers.”101 Fusion with the Killer Mother is guaranteed by all these practices, plus the mother’s choking the infant with her milk during nursing, the constant masturbation by mother of her children’s penis and vagina while she lies on top of them, twisting and pinching them as we saw was the practice in New Guinea.102

The mutilation of young girls’ vaginas is also practiced by the Aboriginals, “in which old men roll emu feathers with a loop of hair. This device is put into the vagina and then removed, pulling away a large part of the womb. The rest of the womb is then cut horizontally and vertically with a stone knife. When this wound is healed, the girl is then circumcised and made to have intercourse with many young men. The mix of blood and semen is collected and given to frail tribesmen as a fortifying elixir.”103 Again, the fusion with the Killer Mother’s blood is imagined to increase the strength of the male who is uncertain of his masculinity. Males marry many wives and even rape their own daughters104 in order to fortify their masculinity, and fathers often have “boy-wives” to absorb some of their maleness.105 It is not surprising that with both boys and girls “almost their only, and certainly their supreme, game was coitus,” particularly “licking the vagina of girls” to increase their strength.106 Gang raping is constant among Aboriginals, as it is in all tribal cultures.107 Roheim calls the constant rape of Aboriginal children “far more ‘normal’ than the sexuality of the European male” since “their repression of sexuality need not be as deep as it is among Europeans.”108

The initial ritual of Aboriginal boys is accomplished by throwing them into a trench called “The Old Woman” with a bull-roarer called “The Mother” (her womb), repeating their birth by going through a birth tunnel with an umbilical rope attached, being covered by “the menstrual blood that can cause you to die,” and then sub-incising them with “a slit made on the underside of his penis” that is said to create a powerful vagina.109 The men then have intercourse in the split on the underside of the penis, “like a split-open frankfurter.”110 Equipped with a vagina and with the powerful blood of the “Old Serpent Woman” who roams the desert in search of people to eat, warriors go out to kill anyone they can find, living “in dread of enemies” who are Killer Mother serpents, creating Faked Provocations of some fancied wrongs that might justify the killing, either individually or in small groups. Many Australian tribes ate their dead enemies, including their neighbors, though “not for the sake of food.”111 Australian Aborigines also “never neglect to massacre all strangers who fall into their power.”112 “Men, women and children are massacred indiscriminately.”113 A majority of adult men are killed by homicide and over a quarter are killed in warfare.114 These patterns have not changed in millennia: “fighting scenes are extensively depicted in Aboriginal rock art dating back at least 10,000 years.”115 When childrearing doesn’t change, economies and cultures do not change.

When one turns on television news and hears that a quarter million people have died in Darfur, Africa as Muslim military gangs attacked the south, the motivation for this carnage is usually attributed to their Communist ideologies . . . until one learns that what they actually did was chop off the penises of little boys and rape little girls, hardly the stated goal of materialist Communism.116 But if one knows that Darfur boys are routinely genitally mutilated and little girls both genitally mutilated and raped, as most Africans were,117 the motivation for the violence becomes more obviously a re-infliction of childhood traumas upon others. The mutilation of boys is “a practice that serves as a core rite of passage for young men,” sometimes removing all the skin from the penis, the chopping off of girls’ genitals is practiced upon “ninety percent of all women in Darfur,” and the rape of girls is common in Africa.118

The core of these abuses lies in the widespread African practice of mutilating the genitals of African girls, a sadistic sexual assault that is said to be sexually arousing to those who attend the ceremony.119 Mothers, not men, insist on chopping off their daughters’ genitals, producing “horrendous pain, massive bleeding and raging infection.”120 It currently is found in 28 African countries, affecting about 130 million women—in 89 percent of Sudanese women and in 97 percent of uneducated Egyptian families and 66 percent of Egyptian educated families.121 It began historically thousands of years ago before the nations became Muslim, so it is not caused by Islamic beliefs. “Girls tremble as they hear about the experiences of other girls…first there is fear, and then the appalling memory of the experience. Sme girls live with a phobia that one or the other parent will kill them.”122 Also, most African tribal mothers still kill at least one of their children, sometimes as a child sacrifice to the gods.123

Most African tribes practice all the abusive and neglectful childrearing practices described above for New Guinea and Australian families. Infanticide of course is a routine practice in African tribes, as in tribal cultures around the world, with more girls than boys killed at birth.124 Even when food is easily available, African mothers are often described as giving them “a large share of cuffs and kicks, and not over-much food.”125 Overworked mothers rarely talk to or look at or praise or play with their children, hanging them as infants on trees. Girls are married off in their early teens to older men chosen by their parents, most mothers beat and cane their children from infancy, frighten them with dangerous spirits, abandon them because they believe them to be witches, and so on.126 Boys, too, are commonly raped by older men in much of Africa, both orally and anally—even boy wives are known—and fathers sell their boys to men for sex or to boy brothels.127 Boys are taught to hate their enemies, and because they are ambivalent about their masculinity to prepare for a life of fighting (anthropologists who report “peaceful” tribes like the San Bushmen have been disproven).128 In fact, many African tribes have been measured to have fifty times the homicide rate as modern nations, with the majority of males admitting to committing at least one homicide.129 As the !Kung explain it, they often go into alternate states (alters) when “the n/um lifts you in your belly and makes you tremble…you experience death, you give up who you are…you are reborn...the boy becomes a man, the man a hero.” and they go out and find someone to kill.130 Before violent outbursts, Africans are often possessed by their inner spirit selves, “indulging in filthy language and seized by a fit of rage punctuated by convulsions.”131 They feel they have lost their soul [arutam], and go out to kill others in raids to recover their soul—believing “if they fail to kill someone they would not be entitled to obtain new arutam souls and would die within weeks.” 132 Their leader, often a full Chief, is seen as a super-powerful Killing Mother with whom to fuse.133 Raids are for the purpose of killing and “securing as many human heads as possible” (among headhunters like the Jivaro), but “no case could be found of war being pursued to seize territory.”134 Throughout African history, slavery was rife, and “three men could not be sent on a journey together for fear two of them may combine and sell the third…[in some tribes] any man falling into their hands is killed and eaten.”135 With the development of slavery, kingship and the early state, we move to the next chapter on “Child Abuse and War in Early States.”


1 Lloyd deMause, The History of Childhood. New York: Psychohistory Press, 1974.

2 Lloyd deMause, The Emotional Life of Nations. New York: Other Press, 2002, pp. 240-245.

3 Ronald P. Rohner, They Love Me, They Love Me Not: A Worldwide Study of the Effects of Parental Acceptance and Rejection. New Haven: HRAF Press, 1975, p. 157.

4 Jill E. Korbin, “Child Sexual Abuse: Implications from the Cross-Cultural Record.” In Nancy Sheper-Hughes, Child Survival: Anthropological Perspectives on the Treatment and Maltreatment of Children. Boston: D. Reidel Publishing Co., 1987, p. 251.

5 Lloyd deMause, The Emotional Life of Nations, p. 124.

6 Claudia Konker, “Rethinking Child Sexual Abuse: An Anthropological Perspective.” American Journal of Orthopsychiatry 62(1992): 148.

7 See evidence in Lloyd deMause, “The Universality of Incest.” The Journal of Psychohistory 19(1991): 123-164.

8 Lloyd deMause, The Emotional Life of Nations, p. 263.

9 Ibid., pp. 264-268.

10 Derek Freeman, The Fateful Hoaxing of Margaret Mead: A Historical Analysis of her Samoan Research. Boulder: Westview Press, 1999.

11 Margaret Mead, “The Ethnography of Childhood.” In Robert A. LeVine and Rebecca S. New, Eds. Anthropology and Child Development: A Cross-Cultural Reader. Malden, Mass.: Blackwell Publishing, 2008, p. 23.

12 Geza Roheim, Psychoanalysis and Anthropology: Culture, Personality and the Unconscious. New York: International Universities Press, 1950, pp. 150 and 60.

13 Lloyd deMause, The Emotional Life of Nations, pp. 258-260.

14 Nathan Miller, The Child in Primitive Society. New York: Brentano’s, 1928, pp. 27-50.

15 Margaret Mead, Letters From the Field, 1925-1975. New York: Harper and Row, 2001, p. 132.

16 Lloyd deMause, The Emotional Life of Nations, pp. 259-260.

17 Ibid.; L. L. Langness, “Child Abuse and Cultural Values: The Case of New Guinea.” In Jill E. Korbin, Ed., Child Abuse and Neglect: Cross-Cultural Perspectives. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1981, p. 15.

18 David Levinson, Family Violence in Cross-Cultural Perspective. Newbury Park: Sage Publications, 1989, p. 25.

19 Larry S. Milner, Hardness of Heart/Hardness of Life: The Stain of Human Infanticide. Lanham: University Press of America, 2000, p. 143.

20 Lloyd deMause, Foundations of Psychohistory. New York: Creative Roots, 1982, pp. 277, 299.

21 Fitz John Porter Poole, “Cannibal, Tricksters, and Witches: Anthropophagic Images Among Binim-Kuskusmin.” In Paula Brown and Donald Tuzin, Eds., The Ethnography of Cannibalism. Washington, D.C.: Society for Psychological Anthropology, 1983, p. 13.

22 L. L. Langness, “Child Abuse and Cultural Values: The Case of New Guinea.” In Jill E. Korbin, Child Abuse and Neglect, p. 28.

23 Marie Reay, “The Magico-Religious Foundations of New Guinea Highlands Warfare.” In Michele Stephen, Ed., Sorcerer and Witch in Melanesia. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1987, p. 144

24 Ibid.

25 John W. M. Whiting, Becoming a Kwoma: Teaching and Learning in a New Guinea Tribe. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1941, p. 25.

26 See Steven Levenkron, Stolen Tomorrows: Understanding and Treating Women’s Childhood Sexual Abuse. New York: W. W. Norton & Co., 2007.

27 James F. Masterson, Ed. The Personality Disorders Through the Lens of Attachment Theory…Phoenix: Zeig, Tucker & Theisen, 2006, pp. 168-178.

28 Patricia K. Townsend, The Situation of Children in Papua New Guinea. Port Moresby: Papua New Guinea Institute of Applied Social and Economic Research, 1985, pp. 17, 43.

29 Lloyd deMause, The Emotional Life of Nations, p. 270.

30 Ibid., p. 269.

31 Harry Guntrip, Schizoid Phenomena, Object-Relations and the Self. Madison, CT: International Universities Press, 1968; James F. Masterson, The Emerging Self: A Developmental, Self, and Object Relations Approach to the Treatment of the Closet Narcissistic Disorder of the Self. New York: Bunner/Mazel, 1993, p. 41.

32 James F. Masterson, Ed., The Personality Disorders Through the Lens of Attachment Theory and the Neurobiologic Development of the Self. Phoenix: Zeig, Tucker & Theisen, 2005, pp. 170-171.

33 James F. Masterson, The Emerging Self: A Developmental, Self, and Object Relations Approach to the Treatment of the Closet Narcissistic Disorder of the Self. New York: Brunner/Mazel, 1993, p. 101.

34 James F. Masterson, Ed., The Personality Disorders, p. 124.

35 Mircea Eliade, Shamanism: Archaic Techniques of Ecstasy. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1972, p. 36.

36 Lloyd deMause, The Emotional Life of Nations, pp. 394-396.

37 Ibid., p. 265.

38 Charles W. Socarides, Preoedipal Origin and Psychoanalytic Therapy of Sexual Perversions. Madison: International Universities Press, 1988; Geza Roheim, Psychoanalysis and Anthropology, p. 160.

39 Gillian Gillison, Between Culture and Fantasy: A New Guinea Highlands Mythology. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1993, p. 176.

40 Bronislaw Malinowski, The Sexual Life of Savages in North-Western Melanesia. London: George Routledge & Sons, 1929, pp. 44-51.

41 Lloyd deMause, The Emotional Life of Nations, p. 264.

42 Ibid., p. 287.

43 Bruce M. Knauft, Good Company and Violence: Sorcery and Social Action in a Lowland New Guinea Society. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1985.

44 James Shreeve, The Neanderthal Enigma: Solving the Mystery of Modern Human Origins. New York: William Morrow and Co., 1995, p. 163.

45 Lloyd deMause, The Emotional Life of Nations, p. 288-289.

46 Gilbert H. Herdt, Ed., Rituals of Manhood: Male Initiation in Papua New Guinea: Male Initiation in Papua New Guinea. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998, p. 70
47 Lloyd deMause, The Emotional Life of Nations, p. 274.

48 Ibid., p. 276.

49 Roger M. Keesing, “Introduction.” In Gilbert H. Herdt, Ed., Rituals of Manhood: Male Initiation in Papua New Guinea, pp. 9, 71.

50 L. L. Langness, “Oedipus in the New Guinea Highlands?” Ethos 18(1990): 395.
51 Ibid., pp. 276, 308.

52 Ann Chowning, “Child Rearing and Socialization.” In Ian Hogbin, Anthropology in Papua New Guinea: Readings From The Encyclopedia of Papua and New Guinea. Melbourne: Melbourne University Press, 1973, p. 76; Stanley N. Kurtz, “Polysexualization: A New Approach to Oedipus in the Trobriands.” Ethos 19(1991): 70.

53 Ibid., p. 254.

54 Lloyd deMause, The Emotional Life of Nations, p. 148.

55 Erika Bourguignon, Possession. San Francisco: Chandler & Sharp, 1976.

56 Alice Beck Kehoe, Shamans and Religion: An Anthopological Exploration in Critical Thinking. Prospect Heights: Waveland Press, 2000, p. 55; Robert E. Ryan, The Strong Eye of Shamanism: A Journey Into the Caves of Consciousness. Rochester: Inner Traditions, 1999, p. 49.

57 Sheila S. Walker, Ceremonial Spirit Possession in Africa and Afro-America. Leiden: Brill: 1972; Michael Winkelman, Shamanism: The Neural Ecology of Consciousness and Healing. Westport: Bergin & Garvey, 2000, p. 76.

58 Michael Ripinsky-Naxon, The Nature of Shamanism: Substance and Function of a Religious Metaphor. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1993, p. 49.

59 L. L. Langness, “Child Abuse and Cultural Values: The Case of New Guinea.” In Jill E. Korbin, Ed., Child Abuse and Neglect, p. 16.

60 Bruce M. Knauft, Good Company and Violence, p. 55; John Craig, “Kindness and Killing.” Emory Magazine, October 1988, pp. 26, 3.

61 Barbara Ehrenreich, Blood Rites: Origins and History of the Passions of War. New York: Metropolitan Books, 1997, p. 122.

62 Lloyd deMause, The Emotional Life of Nations, p. 219.

63 Jonathan Haas, The Anthropology of War. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990.

64 Michael P. Ghiglieri, The Dark Side of Man. New York: Perseus Books, 2000, p. 140.

65 Lloyd deMause, The Emotional Life of Nations, p. 221

66 Ibid., p. 222.

67 James Gilligan, Violence: Reflections on a National Epidemic. New York: Vintage Books, 1996, p. 45.

68 Eli Sagan, At the Dawn of Tyranny: The Origins of Individualism, Political Oppression, and the State. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1985, p. 237.

69 Christopher Boehm, “Egalitarian Society and Reverse Dominance Hierarchy.” Current Anthropology 34 (1993): 236.

70 Lloyd deMause, The Emotional Life of Nations, p. 280.

71 David K. Jordan, Personality and the Cultural Construction of Society. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Pres, 1990, p. 175.

72 Barbara Ehrenreich, Blood Rites: Origins and History of the Passions of War. New York: Henry Holt and Co., 1997, p. 10.

73 Erika Bourguignon, “Dreams and Altered States of Consciousness in Anthropological Research.” In F. K. L. Hsu, Ed., Psychological Anthropology. 2nd Ed. Homewood: The Dorsey Press, 1972, p. 418.

74 Gilbert H. Herdt, Guardians of the Flutes: Idioms of Masculinity. New York: McGraw-Hill Book Co., 1981, p. 351.

75 Eric Kline Silverman, Masculinity, Motherhood and Mockery: Psychoanalyzing Culture and the Iatmul Naven Rite in New Guinea. Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press, 2001, pp. 79, 71, 38.

76 David Livingstone Smith, The Most Dangerous Animal: Human Nature and the Origins of War. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2007, p. 25.

77 Lloyd deMause, The Emotional Life of Nations, p. 252.

78 Simon Harrison, The Mask of War: Violence, Ritual and the Self in Melanesia. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1993, p. 95.

79 Ann S. Meigs, Food, Sex and Pollution, New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 1988, p. 110.

80 Gilbert Herdt and Michele Stephen, Eds. The Religious Imagination in New Guinea. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1989.

81 Lloyd deMause, The Emotional Life of Nations, p. 401.

82 Maurice R. Davie, The Evolution of War: A Study of Its Role in Early Societies. Mineola, N.Y.: Dover Publications, 2003, p. 144.

83 Simon Harrison, Violence, Ritual and the Self in Melanesia. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1993, p. 88.

84 Raymond C. Kelly, Warless Societies and the Origin of War. Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press, 2000, p. 21.

85 Ibid., p. 21.

86 Leonard B. Glick, “Sorcery and Witchcraft.” In Ian Hogbin, Ed., Anthropology in Papua New Guinea, p. 183.

87 John W. M. Whiting, Becoming a Kwoma, p. 61.

88 Peter Birkett Huber, “Defending the Cosmos: Violence and Social Order Among the Anggor of New Guinea.” In Martin A. Nettleship et al, Eds. War, Its Causes and Correlates. The Hague: Mouton Publishers, 1975, p. 647.

89 Mervyn Meggitt, Blood Is Their Argument: Warfare Among the Mae Enga Tribesmen of the New Guinea Highlands. Palo Alto: Mayfield Publishing Co., 1977, p. 18.

90 David Livingstone Smith, The Most Dangerous Animal, p. 15.

91 Ibid., p. 75.

92 Steven A. LeBlanc, Constant Battles: The Myth of the Peaceful, Noble Savage. New York: St. Martins Press, 2003, p. 95.

93 Simon Harrison, Violence, Ritual and the Self in Melanesia. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1993, pp. 88 and 131.

94 Eli Sagan, Cannibalism: Human Aggression and Cultural Form. New York: Psychohistory Press, 1974, p. 20.

95 Mervyn Meggitt, Blood Is Their Argument, pp. 20, 21.

96 Geza Roheim, Children of the Desert: The Western Tribes of Central Australia. Vol. One. New York: Basic Books, 1974, p. 255.

97 Ibid., p. 71.

98 Ibid., p. 72.

99 Eli Sagan, At The Dawn Of Tyranny, pp. 75, 196-197, 200.

100 Arthur E. Hippler, “Culture and Personality Perspective of the Yolngu of Northeastern Arnhem Land: Part 1—Early Socialization.” Journal of Psychological Anthropology 1(1978): 221.

101 Ibid., pp. 229-244.

102 Ibid., pp. 235; Lloyd deMause, The Emotional Life of Nations, pp. 264-267.

103 Cathy Joseph, “Compassionate Accountability: An Embodied Consideration of Female Genital Mutilation.” The Journal of Psychohistory 24(1996, p. 12.

104 Geza Roheim, Children of the Desert, pp. 22, 54.

105 Ibid., p. 117; Edward Brongersma, Loving Boys. Vol. I. Elmhurst: Global Academic Publications, 1986, p. 89.

106 Ibid., pp. 119, 120, 102, 97.

107Lloyd deMause, The Emotional Life of Nations, pp. 699, 700.

108 Ibid., p. 255.

109 Ibid., p. 400; Robert Tonkinson, The Mardudjara Aborigines. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1978, p. 23.

110 Rosalind Miles, The Women’s History of the World. Topsfield: Salem House, 1988, p. 38.

111 Maurice R. Davie, The Evolution of War: A Study of Its Role in Early Societies. Mineola: Dover Publications, 2003, p. 69.

112 Ibid., p. 13.

113 Azar Gat, War In Human Civilization. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006, p. 22.

114 Richard J. Barnet, Roots of War. New York: Penguin, 1973, p. 93.

115 Azar Gat, War In Human Civilization, p. 18.

116 Frontline, WPBS, June 10, 2008.

117 Sarah LeVine and Robert LeVine, “Child Abuse and Neglect in Sub-Saharan Africa.”In Jill E. Korbin, Ed., Child Abuse and Neglect: Cross-Cultural Perspectives. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1981, p. 38

118 “Male Circumcision,”; “Male Circumcision In Africa,”; “Sudan: For Raped Women in Darfur,”; Carol R. Horowitz and J. Carey Jackson, Journal of General Internal Medicine, 12(1997): 491; Ellen Gruenbaum, The Female Circumcision Controversy. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2000; “Kenya: Report on Female Genital Mutilation.”; Felix Bryk, Circumcision in Man and Woman; Its History, Psychology, and Ethnology. New York: American Ethnological Press, 1934, pp. 270-287.

119 Lloyd deMause, “The History of Child Abuse,”
htm/05_history.html; Lloyd deMause, “The History of Child Assault,” The Journal of Psychohistory 18(1990): 6; Pamela Paradis Tice, “Female Genital Mutilation,” The Journal of Psychohistory 30(2003): 310-313.

120 Hanny Lightfoot-Klein, Prisoners of Ritual: An Odyssey Into Female Genital Circumcision in Africa. Binghamton: Hawroth Press, 1989.

121 Esther K. Hicks, Infibulation: Female Mutilation in Islamic Northeastern Africa. New Brunswick: Transaction Publishers, 1993; Gerry Mackie, “A Way to End Female Genital Cutting.”

122 Efua Dorkenoo, Cutting the Rose. Female Genital Mutilation: The Practice and Its Prevention. London: Minority Rights Publications, 1994, p. 97.

123 Nathan Miller, “The Child in Primitive Society.” New York: Gale Research Co., 1975; Jon D. Levenson, The Death and Resurrection of the Beloved Son. The Transformation of Child Sacrifice in Judaism and Christianity. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1993.

124 Larry S. Milner, Hardness of Heart/Hardness of Life, pp. 139-170.

125 Nathan Mill, The Child in Primitive Society, p. 119.

126 Robert A. LeVine, et al, Child Care and Culture: Lessons From Africa. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994; Beatrice B. Whiting and Carolyn P. Edwards, Children of Different Worlds: The Formation of Social Behavior. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1988; Paul Parin, et al, Fear Thy Neighbor As Thyself: Psychoanalysis and Society Among the Anyi of West Africa. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1980, p. 134; “Child ‘Witches’ in Africa.’ Guardian Unlimited

127 Stephen O. Murray and Will Roscoe, Ed. Boy-Wives and Female Husbands: Studies of African Homosexualities. New York: Palgrave Publishing, 1998.

128 Robert B. Edgerton, Sick Societies: Challenging the Myth of Primitive Harmony. New York: The Free Press, 1992, pp. 5, 57.

129 Lloyd deMause, The Emotional Life of Nations, p. 222.

130 Robert Katz, “Education for Transcendence.” In Richard B. Lee and Irven DeVore, Ed. Kalahari Hunter-Gathers: Studies of the !Kung San and Their Neighbors. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1976, p. 287.

131 Traugott K. Oesterreich, Possession and Exorcism Among Primitive Races, in Antiquity, the Middle Ages, and Modern Times. New York: Causeway Books, 1974, p. 264.

132 Bruce Lincoln, Death, War, and Sacrifice: Studies in Ideology and Practice. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1991, p. 140.

133 Paul Parin, Fear They Neighbor As Thyself, p. 220; Eli Sagan, At the Dawn of Tyranny.

134 Ibid., p. 183.

135 Maurice R. Davie, The Solution of War: A Study of Its Role in Early Societies. Mineola: Dover Publications, 2003, p. 13.