The statement in the title of this post is something that too many people react to with denial or the claim that pointing this out is an act of man hating. This simple concept is so hard for these people to accept because of the persistent widespread belief that girls and women who are raped or abused by men are the primary cause of this violence committed against them.
This belief is why most of the rape prevention messages are directed at girls and women.
Under this model, boys and men who rape and abuse are turned into Pavlov's guys. Girls and women are ringing these guys bells and these guys can't help but salivate. Except in acts of violence against girls and women such as rape these guys aren't salivating like the dogs in Pavlov's experiment, they are taking action.
Pavlov's dogs didn't maul him when he didn't give them the food they were anticipating. They drooled.
This idea brings me to an Iowa Independent article which features the work of Jackson Katz who co-founded the Mentors in Violence Prevention (MVP) Program at Northeastern University's Center for the Study of Sport in Society. Katz is also the author of the book The Macho Paradox: Why Some Men Hurt Women and How All Can Help.
Katz said one underlying problem is that college campuses tend to focus on the prevention of rape and sexual violence. "But the term prevention in not really prevention; rather, it's risk reduction," Katz said. "These programs focus on how women can reduce their chances of being sexually assaulted. I agree that women benefit from these education programs, but let us not mistake this for prevention."
"If a woman has done everything in her power to reduce her risk, then a man who has the proclivity for abuse or need for power will just move on to another woman or target," Katz added. "It's about the guy and his need to assert his power. And it's not just individual men, it's a cultural problem. Our culture is producing violent men, and violence against women has become institutionalized. We need to take a step back and examine the institutionalized polices drafted by men that perpetuate the problem."
What Katz is getting at is that the desire and willingness to rape is within the rapist before any so-called risky behavior by girls or women in the presence of this would-be rapist. And this desire and willingness to rape is sociological not biological.
The current prevention strategy is what I call the, "Don't rape me. Rape her." strategy.
Think of warnings to not go to frat parties. If all frat parties are this dangerous and the individual attitudes of fraternity members cannot change, then the correct rape prevention strategy is for all colleges and all police forces to schedule regular patrols so they can immediately shut down all frat parties.
Unfortunately, most rape prevention messages directed at girls and women are worse than ineffective, they provide backhanded support for rapists who will respond to genuine allegations with, "It was consensual" because the corollary to "If you don't want to be raped, don't drink." is "If you do want to be forced sexually, do drink." That turns drinking even one beer into defacto consent.
No wonder drinking is often used as an excuse to do nothing about a rape allegation.
With that belief set why would a boy or man bother asking outright since the answer to his question is likely to be no or a polite alternative which clearly means the same thing.
Right now most of the rape prevention messages only teach boys and men how to get away with rape. Don't rape the sober. Don't rape using a knife or a gun. Don't give your rape victim bruises which can't be dismissed as being part of rough sex. Introduce yourself to your rape victim before rape so your rape will be dismissed as a misunderstanding.
We must teach boys and men that those who are good at getting past a girl's or woman's lack of willingness are not good at changing that person's mind about sex, they are skilled rapists -- which is no more admirable than someone who is good at overcoming another person's defenses to succeed at any other personal crime such as murder.