Whenever someone makes the argument that one way to stop rape is to teach men not to rape, the response is usually some form of “but most men know that rape is wrong.” I don’t doubt that most men would say rape is wrong. I haven’t been out in the field to conduct a study on men’s attitudes toward rape, but we’ve had enough education around rape and sexual assault that it’s not hard to believe most men, if asked, would say rape is a bad thing. Great.
The problem is this — what do they consider rape? When the United Nations conducted a survey on sexual violence in Asia, “researchers intentionally didn’t use the word ‘rape’ in any of their questionnaires about Asian men’s sexual histories,” according to ThinkProgress, “Instead, they asked men whether they had ever ‘forced a woman who was not your wife or girlfriend at the time to have sex,’ or if they had ever ‘had sex with a woman who was too drunk or drugged to indicate whether she wanted it.’” If they had used the word “rape,” it’s likely that these same men who admitted to these non-consensual acts would have said they had never raped anyone.