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Rape, Evolution, And Untenable Hypotheses

The hypothesis that rape is a hardwired human behavior is not a new one, and it remains controversial. One new take on the situation, though, is the hypothesis that women have evolved to protect themselves from rapists. At first glance, this is an interesting idea–but sadly, it relies on fragmentary evidence and misogynistic premises. First, the author’s narrow definition of rape as “the use of force, or threat of force, to achieve penile-vaginal penetration of a woman without her consent” ignores the spectrum of sexual assault that does not involve intercourse, and which is no less damaging to a woman (whether we’re talking emotionally, psychologically, or in terms of her reproductive worth or ability to select a mate, as this author seems most interested in the Darwinian effects of rape). The author, to his credit, acknowledges that studying the history of rape in human evolution is not the same as condoning the behavior… Continue Reading →