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“Both male and female children were initiated at puberty although the females were not required to participate in all three stages of initiation (Reay 1953, p. 114)[[1]]. Females entered a period of seclusion at the time of their first menstruation and were required to perform a purification ritual before being released from seclusion. There were three stages of initiation as outlined by Williams (1930, pp. 180-209; Reay 1953, p. 114). They were: the 'terror', the 'seclusion', and the 'investiture' (Reay 1953, p. 114)[2].



Newton (1985:p135)[3]:


“While secluded in the house it appears that there is some opportunity for socialization of the girl towards womanhood. Such norms of behaviour were verbalized in the old ceremonies described by Williams. On receipt of valuable ornaments 'a woman is told to lend an ear to what her husband says, and never to give him 'strong talk' in return; to accompany him wherever he goes; to be faithful to him; and to keep her hands off other women's property'.[n] While there is no formal statement of such values in Koropata, the sedentary, passive existence of the girls does seem to make them amenable to advice. Older female relatives impress the importance of diligence in garden work and cooking. Girls are advised to marry a man who works well in the garden or an urban worker who provides food money and does not drink too much. Husbands should allow visits to natal families and should not lose their tempers. Sexual knowledge has already been imparted over a long period by older sisters and cousins. When she leaves the house, the pubescent girl does become more of an adult person in both productive and sexual matters. She is expected to have her own garden and be a responsible childminder, and she may begin to court young men, writing notes and whispering through floorboards at night. Actual sexual relationships do not generally occur until the girl is 16 or 17”.






Janssen, D. F., Growing Up Sexually. VolumeI. World Reference Atlas. 0.2 ed. 2004. Berlin: Magnus Hirschfeld Archive for Sexology, Berlin

Last revised: May 2005


[1] Reay, M. (1953) Social Control Amongst the Orokaiva, Oceania 24:110-18

[2] Banks, C. (1993) Women in Transition: Social Control in Papua New Guinea. Canberra: Australian Institute of Criminology, p124-5. ch.6 []

[3]Newton, J. (1985) Orokaiva production and change. Canberra: Development Studies Centre, AustralianNationalUniversity [eHRAF 2005]