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 behavior research indicates that forced copulations do occur widely in the natural world, and therefore predate the patriarchical power that is the presumed origin of rape in feminist theories.
Psychology, Evolution, Gender
The purpose of this article is to review and discuss different evolutionary views of rape and their implications. Evolutionary theories are divided into views of rape as an adaptive strategy or as a by-product of other forms of adaptive behavior. These views are often criticized by feminists who support the view that rape is an exercise of power. However, in determining the origins of rape, the authors point out that forced mating has occurred in the animal kingdom predating patriarchal structures thereby weakening the power-related basis of feminist theories.