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Evolutionary theories of rape

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Abstract:

There are several evolutionary views of rape, each of which leads to different predictions. Rape can be viewed as itself adaptive or the by-product of other characteristics that are. If adaptive, it can be regarded as conditional in that it either applies only to certain individuals, or to certain circumstances. Evolutionary views of rape are often criticized because they are viewed as being counter to the feminist position that rape is motivated by power. Although this criticism often confuses ultimate and proximate explanations, there is one division between the evolutionary and feminist positions that cannot be bridged, its ultimate origin. Animal behaviour research indicates that forced copulations do occur widely in the natural world, and therefore predate the patriarchal power that is the presumed origin of rape in feminist theories.

Keywords: EVOLUTION; FEMINISM; RAPE; REPRODUCTIVE STRATEGIES

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14616660110049609

Publication date: June 20, 2001

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