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Over 80% of homicides are committed by men . Most of the victims are also men. The most common cause of homicide is due to the escalation of a relatively trivial disagreement over status that starts with words and escalates into lethal violence. It seems that men resort to violence to protect or gain status and honour.
This sex difference is found across all cultures. Criminal violence is most likely between the ages of 14 and 24.
Traditional psychologists argue that boys are trained to be aggressive and girls learn to be passive. However, Dyson-Hudson (1995) found that 'low-conflict societies' with affectionate socialization and aversion to inter-personal confrontation (e.g. Inuit, !Kung Bushmen, Gebusi of lowland New Guinea) have high rates of violent death. In contrast, Turkana pastoralists (East Africa) are taught to fight as children; and most men reported having participated in inter- personal fights intended to cause injury, having engaged in recreational within-group fighting mimicking warfare, and having taken part in raids on the neighboring Pokot. Yet demographic data indicate that within- group homicide rates among the 'violent' Turkana are lower than those reported for the 'low-conflict' societies.
It may be that Turkana rules which require bystander intervention and adjudication by elders, are effective in preventing within-group aggression and violence from escalating into lethal fights.
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