Rape is not a misunderstanding. It has nothing to do with miscommunication. Rape would not be avoided if women spoke more clearly. Popular books would have us believe men and women simply speak different languages, and that oppression and rape would go away if we could all just speak the same language. Correction: they say rape would go away if women would learn to speak like men, as it is the only politically correct way of speaking. This is not the case. I know this because men as a whole are not stupid. To say that men rape because of a misunderstanding is to say men are stupid or socially inept. They are not.
The argument made by rape-apologists and MRAs is frequently this: most supposed rapists do not rape, most women simply do not speak clearly enough. Men are unable to interpret women’s complicated signals, and presume that if she didn’t want to be raped, she would say so. The argument is also that women enjoy being pursued and frequently put up a fight in order to make men chase them. Thus, no does not mean no. One MRA had this to say:
[Men] will have to ignore … “no” signals in some situations. It’s impossible to tell if she means them, or if she enjoys the attention and just wants you to try harder!
This is completely insane. The argument is frequently that women simply need to speak clearer, and that if we did, rape wouldn’t occur. But here we are being told that even when we say no, it can be interpreted as yes. Furthermore, he’s saying that men are not in fact so stupid and thick as to be unable to read no signals. They hear them/see them, they just choose to ignore them because ignoring them gives them the greatest chance of getting laid.
Rape is not the removal of consent, but the absence of consent. Legally if a woman has to express that she does not consent in order for it to be rape, it allows any woman who is unable to speak (coma victims, unconscious women, mute women, etc…) to legally be raped at any time. This is not the case, so why is it different if the woman is conscious?
Take for instance, a case study from The Guardian where a woman in a man’s dorm room continuously said she was tired and wanted to sleep. When the man became more aggressive, she lay down and pretended to sleep. He interpreted this as consent for sex, and had sex with her. She became so frightened for her safety that she continued to pretend she was asleep so as not to aggravate him and be hurt more severely. When she reported this, it was chalked up to bad communication and more or less dismissed. Why didn’t she yell no? Why didn’t she scream and thrash and kick and bite? He obviously would have stopped, right?
It is illegal to “have sex” with someone while they sleep. They are not in a state to consent, legally. No one would consider falling asleep to be enthusiasm, enjoyment, or anything of the sort. How could lying there sleeping signal anything but “Get the fuck off me?” That was rhetorical since the only person who would have sex with a sleeping person is a rapist. As women we are taught not to confront people, and especially to not confront men. Women are even frequently taught not to be so confrontational as to make direct eye contact with men, let alone to forcefully “reject” an already aggressive man. The media reinforces this, with frequent stories warning women about ex-boyfriends who stalk, murder, etc… Warning women that if they don’t let men down gently enough, they may be hurt, even murdered. The odds of this are significantly higher when he’s already violent, it makes absolutely no sense to encourage women to further aggravate her attacker just to make prosecution easier. It’s completely insane.
And here’s where the real problem is. It’s all down to her lack of communication, not his. There is constant questioning of why she didn’t say no loud enough, or fight hard enough, or try harder to communicate. There is never, ever, ever, ever, ever, in a million years, in any rape trial ever on the face of the planet, questioning of why he didn’t try harder to get clearer communication. If there was any sort of ambiguity, which the MRAs and rape-apologists claim is justification to rape, then why isn’t the onus on him to clear away the ambiguity? Why is it her job to make sure rape doesn’t happen, rather than his job to ensure he doesn’t rape anyone? To claim it is her responsibility to make sure there is no ambiguity, that it is her responsibility to make sure he doesn’t interpret her no or lack of enthusiasm as a yes, is to treat men like incompetent children with no capacity to make their own decisions. It treats men as some kind of animal, incapable of interacting in any way with women.
If men want to stop being accused of raping women, then they need to stop raping them. If men are worried about going to jail over miscommunication, then they need to take responsibility for themselves and get their own clarification. If this supposed miscommunication has such terrible dire results for them, then they should take the lead for their own problems and just get the consent. It’s not that hard to just say, “Do you actually want to do this?” “Do you want to have sex?” “May I stick my penis inside you, please?” I guarantee you that if the law was that women would have to consent to sex in order for it not to be rape, the number of rapes would still stay the same. It’s not as though men are some unstoppable train of libido. It doesn’t really matter if they really, really, really want to get laid. That doesn’t excuse being deliberately oblivious to her lack of enthusiasm, it just further shows that he did in fact rape her.
Not only is miscommunication not a justification to rape, it is further proof that he in fact raped someone. It is not illegal to be mute or to remain quiet or to remain calm and not respond physically. It is, however, a crime to have sex with someone against their will. Claiming she did not communicate her intentions clearer simply shows how blatant his disregard for her well-being is that he couldn’t be bothered to ask her if she wanted sex. At the very least it proves he didn’t care about her wants and desires during the encounter, he only cared about fucking someone at all costs. If he wanted to have sex, her wants and desires would matter at least enough to ensure sex was acceptable if not enjoyable. If he wanted to rape, her wants or desires, especially whether or not she wanted sex not only wouldn’t matter, but would hinder his ability to fuck women without any sort of barrier. Again, it is not her job to ensure he does commit a crime. It is his job to worry about his wellbeing, rather than the wellbeing of his dick.
But men won’t change this, and they would never advocate for this. Men don’t want to have to ask for consent not because it’s difficult, not because it’s inconvenient, not because it’s too complicated, but because they know women would say no more (I use the term “say no” since anything but a clear yes would be considered equal to a clear no). It would hinder their access to “sex” with women, regardless of whether she wants it. So by forcing women to go against all other social conditioning and to risk that their rapist has a bad temper and will kill or otherwise hurt them for being blunt, they allow themselves further access to use women against their will. MRAs and rape apologists know the law is in their favor. They relish the fact that miscommunication is a well-accepted excuse. This is a sampling of how they feel about the issue of non-violent rape (anything in brackets  is what is said in the rest of the response these were taken from, nothing was added for effect or exaggerated):
The true meaning of rape is to use physical force or threat to have sex. If a woman is persuaded to have sex by a man who’s playing mind games with her (which she herself should be good at), then it’s not rape.
If a guy is getting mixed signals and sex happens I don’t think he should be charged. I mean, guys and gals both send mixed signals, and if sex occurs that’s not “forcing” someone, it’s mixed signals.
To say that “she hints, looks worried…” is equivilent to a single “No” is like saying that bondage is tying someone up with spiderwebs. It’s just not strong enough.
If your in that situation [of “having sex” against your will], you must have done something to say/indicate “This is ok”. … at some point you let him into your room(s), onto your couch. Communication is the first part of the problem.
Rape is not rape … if the female in question is in the postion to say “No” … and does not do so.
So the problem is not that the girl consents, she never consents —- she just somehow omits to say no. … if that’s all it is, it isn’t rape: it’s him scoring and her losing, that’s all.
Give out misleading “signals”, and never state your mind? Be prepared to be misunderstood [raped].
It boils down to this. Claiming rape is a problem with communication, 100% on the woman’s end, allows men the legal ability to bully, badger, and coerce women into sex fully against her will. It takes all blame for the rape off the man, places it squarely on the woman, and in some instances even attempts to gather sympathy for the rapist, who’s being attacked by the mean, predatory, slut.
One would have to be a complete moron (or a rapist) completely inept at all social communication to honestly believe rape is a problem with communication. If it truly was simply miscommunication, men would be clearer in their intentions. It is never up to the victim to prevent men from raping them, it always up to the rapist to not rape someone. As I said before, just like with a robbery, no one would argue that the shopkeeper didn’t make it clear enough that he didn’t want his money stolen. No one would argue that the person who had his house broken into didn’t make it clear enough that he didn’t want his house broken into. If the would-be burglar honestly thought the shopkeeper wanted to give him his money, he would have asked. He knows that the shopkeeper doesn’t, so he steals. If the burglar honestly thought that the homeowner would let him into his house, he would ring the doorbell and ask first. He knows the homeowner will say no, so he breaks in. If the rapist thought the woman wanted sex, he would ask. But he deep down thinks or knows that she will deny him though, so he rapes. Only in this case, the law doesn’t challenge him since they support his need to “score.”