The Evolutionary Advantage of Getting Raped

You are the result of twenty-five thousand rapes during the last two thousand years.

This assumes that, over forty generations of your ancestors, one of every thousand sexual acts that resulted in conception was a rape. In fact, this is a conservative estimate. Considering that a women is more likely to be raped during her most fertile years, that there was no birth control for most of history, and that spousal rape has only been considered a reportable crime in the last couple of decades, probably more than one pregnancy in every thousand was the result of a rape.

This also assumes that you have more than ten million ancestors in the last two thousand years. The exact number is smaller than a simple geometric expansion would indicate because there were only about a hundred million people alive two thousand years ago, not the trillion assumed by a complete independence between ancestors. Assuming that your ancestors came from a some specific geographical region, you probably have around a million ancestors who were alive at 1 AD (1 CE). You would be the product of a thousand rapes in that generation alone. Add in another thousand for each of the next twenty generations, then small numbers as your number of ancestors shrank and you quickly arrive at a twenty-five thousand rape minimum. Modify these conservative assumptions even slightly and the number of rapes soars.

If we extrapolate this logic through ten thousand generations to the dawn of homo sapiens as a species, each of us must be the product of millions of rapes.

If your male ancestors had not been able to rape your female ancestors, you would not exist today. The logic of natural selection predicts that women should have evolved to be rapeable.

What makes a woman rapeable? Several things. First, women only have one-third the upper body strength of men. A man can overpower a woman relatively easily. Second, a woman can be penetrated passively. There is no specific action that a woman has to take to make her genitals work. Third, women have no biological defenses around their vulvas. No teeth or stingers or bony plates. Nothing that they can employ to keep a rapist out.

Does this mean that women want to be raped or that they should be raped?

No. Not at all.

Natural selection also predicts that a woman would prefer to be impregnated by a man who has a commitment to her and her child. Single mothers are less able than married mothers to care for themselves and their children. And a mother will have more difficulty attracting a suitable male than a childless woman.

Thus, the logic of natural selection also says that women should have evolved ways to discourage rape and to reduce their chances of getting pregnant following a rape. Furthermore, it says that they should employ their anti-rape mechanisms more readily against strangers than spouses.

These conflicting forces should result in women evolving a balance between their rapeabilty and their ability to resist rape. A woman should be neither easily raped by anyone nor able to resist rape completely.

During the past decade there has been a growing body of scientific literature on this topic (e.g., Thornhill, R. and Palmer, C. (2000), A Natural History of Rape: Biological Bases of Sexual Coercion. Cambridge: MIT Press). But, as an author of fiction, I am more interested in the implications of the rapeability of women for my writing. Exploring the circumstances in which a woman might be raped, the ways that she might resist her rapist, and her reaction after the event has been the grist for literature since the Ancient Greeks told stories about Zeus raping any woman who struck his fancy. This theme continues throughout literature today, though, in the wake of the feminist ideology, it must be accompanied by considerable “tut-tutting”.

Yours, Ashley

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About Ashley Zacharias

I'm a post-modern woman who lives a vanilla life and dreams about kinky adventure. I write BDSM pornography but have no interest in acting out my fantasies in real life. Find my work on SmashWords.com and Amazon.com
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