McKibbin, W. F., & Shackelford, T.K. (2011). Women’s avoidance of rape. Aggression and Violent Behavior, 16, 437-443.

Women’s avoidance of rape

William F. McKibbin and Todd K. Shackelford


Females of many species have recurrently faced the adaptive problem of rape over the species’ evolutionary
history. In humans, rape of women by men has occurred throughout recorded history and across cultures, and exacts on women severe psychological, physical, and reproductive costs. Women therefore may have evolved psychological mechanisms that motivate rape avoidance behaviors. We provide an overview of recent theoretical and empirical research addressing women’s rape avoidance psychology and behavior from an evolutionary perspective. This research indicates that women may possess evolved mechanisms that motivate rape avoidance. We conclude by highlighting several directions for research that may further clarify the design features of human female evolved mechanisms that motivate rape avoidance

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