Evolutionary Theory: Product of Evolution
Finally, a controversial theory on the origins of rape comes out of evolutionary theory. Randy Thornhill and Craig Palmer, authors of Natural History of Rape: Biological Bases of Sexual Coercion, propose that rape is rooted in human evolution (Thornhill & Palmer,
2000) . According to evolutionary theory, men and women have developed differing reproductive strategies, wherein men desire frequent mating in order to spread their seed, whereas women are designed to protect their eggs and be more selective in choosing mates (see Chapter 2 for more information about evolutionary theory). Rape has developed as a consequence of these differences in reproductive strategies. The majority of rapists are male, Thornhill and Palmer assert, because men are designed to impregnate and spread their seed.
As you might guess, this theory is controversial, and many feminists and sociologists alike are upset about ideas proposed in this theory (Brownmiller, 2000; Roughgarden,
2004) . However, controversial or not, it’s an interesting argument for us to consider when discussing theories on the development of rape.