If someone stole your car, would anyone suggest this wasn't so serious an offence if the vehicle was later found abandoned and in a repairable condition? Hey, you got your car back when it was all over.
Or if a burglar broke into your home and stole favourite, valuable or useful items, would the fact that the house wasn't also set alight and reduced to rubble mean that the burglar should then be handed a lesser sentence? There was no visible damage, not even chipped paintwork, to show for the invasion of a person's private sanctuary.
What if a team of professional criminals broke into The Louvre and swiped the world's most beloved paintings, then later admitted, "Sure, it was us!", should they then be made to do a spot of community service, perhaps, since no real harm has been done? The paintings survived. And if these same thieves claimed they'd merely misunderstood the exact meaning of the phrase "public ownership", would any jury believe them? Of course not.
So why is rape treated differently?
Why, despite all the legislation and debates about equal rights, is half the population of Planet Earth still considered fair game by some members of the other half? Do we blame this on biology or cultural and religious lunacy? Germain Greer wrote in The Female Eunuch, "Women have very little idea of how much men hate them." I would love to say she was overstating her case but I'm not so sure that this is true. Think of how many swear words are also crude terms for female genitalia. Even the word "woman" is hurled as an insult.
"No" is a simple word indicating a decline and a refusal.
This is sufficient clarity for anyone - apart from certain politicians, who this week have been cheerfully debating how rape might be at least partially excusable or, at least, not so important. How out of touch with reality, and how thoroughly insulting to women the whole world over.
Rape is never excusable, or even partially excusable. Surely that's plain enough.
Related news article: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/crime/8521962/Rape-most-certainly-is-rape-Mr-Clarke.html