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FSU ANT 2301 - SEXUAL COERCION

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SEXUAL COERCIONHard to recognize in animals- have to interpret behaviorWhen estrus there is active solicitation of copulation by females- concealed ovulation & continual attractiveness in humans makes sexual coercion MORE LIKELYIs it adaptation? - relevant data for evolutionary explanation- age of victims; if female not fertile doesn’t enhance male RS- how common it would need to be to have been chosen for behavioral selection- benefit vs cost to male- males do the coercionproduce childbehavior more likely to be inheritedNaturalistic Fallacy: whether a trait is an adaptation or artifact, natural, or unnatural does not bear on whether is should be accepted – what is DOES NOT mean what out to beOrangutan Mating Tactics- 2 distinct male phenotypes: flanged (dominant) unflanged (non-dominant)  leads to more coercion- based on sexual dimorphism; ancestral mating systems where single dominant males controlled and protected group of females3-5 mya SE Asia- climate shift  longer/more severe periods of low food availability- females disperse to patchier food sources  solitary social organization; dominant males could no longer guard mates- unflanged males benefit by being opportunistic sexual predators; need to avoid flanged male (sneak & rape)- females resist coercion from unflanged males; but bigger so still happens- flanged males remain preferred mating partner- 30% fathered by dominant maleGorillas- bachelor males form groupsFrom an evolutionary perspective: can be seen that rape (malefemale) benefits a males RS; esp when that male is of lower statusEvolutionary Theory:- sees the male propensity to rape females as being based on natural selection as a response for an ‘unfit/inadequate’ male to better transmit his genes to future generations**theory fails to explain** male-male; female-male; and female-female rapeRapist Psychopathology: A Disease Model- men rape due to alcohol intoxication, mental illness, or uncontrollable sexual urges- research fails to support any physical characteristics of rapists- nothing biological between rapists and non rapistsVictim Precipitation Theory: Blaming the Victim- victims make themselves vulnerable to rape by their dress, behavior, and where they go- research doesn’t support ^^ this way of thinking adds to victims guilt- men more likely to believe this vs womenFeminist Theory: Keeping Women in Their Place- rape & threat of rape is used to keep women subordinate to men- sex role stereotyping encourages rape:- men are strong & aggressive- women are weak & passive- not viewed the same in all culturesSociological Theory: The Balance of Power- rape is an expression of power in society- when men feel they are losing power they need to overpower women with their symbol of masculinity (penis) to reestablish a sense of control- rape is a matter of power & sexual issuesGender Differences in Attitudes about Rape- men less sensitive toward rape & put blame more on victim; tend to read friendly symbols as an invitation to sex- college years men have decline in negative rape attitudes- until recently that women can legally rape a manThornhill & Palmer- 1975 Susan Brownmiller asserted that rape is motivated not by lust but by the urge to control and domination- Thornhill & Palmer argue that rape has evolved over human history, along with courtship, sexual attraction, and other behaviors related to the production of offspringEvidence:- Most rape victims are women of childbearing age- In many cultures rape is treated as a crime against the victims husband- Rape also takes place in a variety of other animal species, not solely in humans- Married women and women of childbearing age experience more psychological distress after a rape than do girls, single women, or women who are past menopause- cross-culturally all have some sexual coercionPractical consequences of studying sexual assault from an evolutionary perspective:Prevention measures currently being taught are based on social science views and ineffectiveBelieve that only by acknowledging the evolutionary roots of rape can prevention tacticsbe devised that workSince women are choosy men have been selected for finding a way to be chosen- By possessing traits that women prefer - Gain access to females by defeating other men - See sexual assault as a 3rd kind of sexual strategy Thornhill and Palmer-Wrote a book about theory: A Natural History of Rape Lay out 7 hypothesis: 7 alternative evolutionary hypothesis considered with predictions:- Rape is a male adaptation engaged in by males of all social status when victims are highly vulnerable- Rape is a male adaptation engaged in by only low-status males excluded from other mating alternatives- Rape is a male adaptation for achieving dominance over females- Rape is a male adaptation that is the result of female preference for physically strong males- Rape is not an adaptation, but a by-product of evolved differences in male and female sexual behavior- Rape is not an adaptation, but a result of how recently disturbed environments impact men’s evolved sexual psychology- Rape is not an adaptation, but a pathological act of abnormal individuals. This hypothesis is evolutionary in that it implies that selection in the past has designed men’ssexuality such that it is sometimes subject to pathology- Critics attacked book; T&P accuse them of setting up “straw man” argument against their book- Argue that sex researchers need to understand the sorts of criticisms are seriously flawed so that future research efforts toward understanding the causes of sexual coercion are productive - Straw Man Arguments: presenting a misrepresentation of the opponent's position and then refuting itGender Differences:- men less empathetic & sensitive than women about rape & attribute more responsibility to victim- women see rape as more justified; see victim as more responsible if they perceive woman was “leading a man on”Ethnic Differences:- minorities have more traditional attitudes towards women  affects their attitudes about sexual assault- degree of empathy, responsibility, excusing the assaulterDrunk man accused of rape is seen as less responsible due to alcohol; drunk woman more responsible for her behavior *double standard*Assault of MAN by WOMAN- 5% of all reported cases of sexual assault- seen as not possible b/c men always willing to have sex  increases humiliation man feels after this happensAssault of MAN by another MAN- often


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