Women's rights advocates have denounced the defence strategy of Northern Districts cricketer Scott Kuggeleijn, whose rape trial ended yesterday with a hung jury.
Defence lawyer Philip Morgan, QC, told the jury it was a case about a young man who thought he could. "A young man who heard the word 'no' the previous night and stopped, and when he didn't hear 'no' the following morning ... intercourse occurred and that is not rape."
The complainant claims Kuggeleijn, 24, pinned her arms down and had sex with her against her will.
But Morgan said what happened in the morning played out the same way it did during the night, with the only difference being she did not say "no".
He went on to say the 21-year-old woman relented because of the "social pressures" of being labelled a tease by friends.
He said Kuggeleijn acted like any other man when he tried to have sex with her that morning.
"I suggest if I said to you that 100 men who have been in that situation and tried again, you would have a forest of hands."
Hamilton Abuse Intervention Project manager Lila Jones was astonished at the comments, calling the defence insulting to both sexes. In one sentence Morgan had managed to tar all men with the same brush, suggesting "they're going to push for sex with a woman against her will and that's how men are wired".
The message being sent to women was that they have to be careful, which was a blight on their liberty: "You can't socialise with a male and expect to be completely safe. That your 'no' might not mean 'no' in his mind. Or that actually you're just playing hard to get."
It also raised concerns for young women and girls entering adult life.
"What kind of message does it send to them? You're expected to concede?"
The National Council of Women chief executive Lynn McKenzie condemned Morgan's defence, saying it condoned a culture of victim shaming and reinforced a social pressure on women to have sex against their will.
"If it is true that 100 men may have acted in the same way Scott Kuggeleijn is alleged, it certainly does not mean it is right or just. We cannot condone and excuse this behaviour by dismissing it as the status quo. If this is the status quo, then it's time New Zealand changed."
Help Auckland executive director Kathryn McPhillips said the sexual violence laws needed an overhaul to help change the culture around rape.
"The idea of consent as it stands is she has to resist the initiation of sex instead of going, well, consent is about asking, about getting a 'yes'. Don't worry if you didn't get a 'no', you need to have got a 'yes'."