Did Prehistoric Men Rape Women On Regular Basis?
I had a discussion with a friend recently, who mentioned that in the stone age men probably dragged woman by their hair and raped them if they wanted to have sex with them. And this is not the first time that I have heard someone say this.
But is it actually true? Did men really use women as objects when they pleased to? Or was there a more equal relationship between the males and females?
This subject is not an easy one, since there have been many speculations on both sides. The science seems to lack absolute empirical evidence on the matter.
Theories about why men DID rape women on a regular basis:
- in early civilization and in tribalistic eras this was a regular occurrence.
- look at poor countries, rape often occurs there.
Theories about why men did NOT rape women on a regular basis:
- People are social creatures who live together in a group. It is to the disadvantage of that social group if women are abused. It will create disharmony and unrest. Before there was personal possession and money, women often had the say about whom they chose (thus which men were liked and disliked). They selected men who were good for others, helped out, and were an asset to the group. This made it very unlikely that men would rape women. The female selected the beneficial behavior for her and her child.
Rape and dominance only started to occur when possession and money came about.
-Most children have an inbuilt mechanism for empathy, which would stop males from deliberately harming females.
–> This confers with Dawkins’ ideas in ‘The Selfish Gene’. Altruism has evolutionary roots because it practically follows through with our classification as social animals/collective creatures while also being compatible with the idea of species survival. I.E. Self-sacrifice and empathy for the good of the pack so that the species may prosper. Ideal clans and groups that survived weren’t necessarily made up of self-indulgent meat heads–quite the opposite, actually. Case and point: the logical progression towards and of, modern civilization. We’re trending towards a direction that favors altruism and empathy more than self-indulgence.
THUS: rape and spreading ones own genes might sound favorable on a personal/individual level, but it certainly harms the prospects–both long and short-term–of the group as a whole.
Some things I found online:
Life in the Stone Age was pretty fantastic. Our ancestors were foragers, wandering to find the next savanna when food got scarce. Humanity was so scattered that they rarely had to fight over the best feeding grounds. A varied diet and constant roaming resulted in excellent health: adults grew to be about six feet tall and live long into their 60s and 70s. Foraging tribes show “no evidence of hypertension, heart disease, or cancer. No anemia or common cold. No internal parasites. No sign of previous exposure to polio, pneumonia, smallpox, chicken pox, typhus, typhoid, tuberculosis, malaria, or serum hepatitis” (page 206). The nomadic lifestyle meant they had no sense of property or ownership, so few real reasons for conflict. (John Lennon, are you listening?). Also: group sex.
The survival benefits were immense: since there was no way of telling who fathered which child, children were raised by the community of foragers rather than single monogamous pairs. Everyone had lots of orgasms (women most of all). Women weren’t used as property or bartering chips, which led to more equality between the genders. http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/blogs/we-read-it/2010/07/26/sex-at-dawn-the-prehistoric-origins-of-modern-sexuality.html
So rape, seems to have started with possession and dominance, and is also often a result of war and poverty. That is why in times of war, and in times of poverty, more violence and sexual abuse occurs.
That is why it is crucial to address these situations and not just point the finger with blame. The most constructive thing we can do is address the root cause. Currently, our world system creates separation, war, deprivation .. with all sorts of negative consequences. It is something we created, and maintain, and which we thus can also stop and turn around.
Working on a global solution is crucial. Because the longer we continue like this, the more beings are abused and have to live in conditions less than ideal. And who knows, one day it might be us.
Thanks to Kade Storm for some of the info!
Anyone who has more info on this, please share!