IT'S a boy's place to try and a girl's to deny.

It was in a workplace setting I first heard that expression and it was, very much, said as a joke, the joke being that it was a shockingly retro statement.

Gosh, what they got away with back in the day, eh? Can you believe it?

Yet, have we moved so far away from that as a default model for romantic relations?

Yesterday Police Scotland launched its latest campaign, #GetConsent, which aims to alert young men to the fact that sex without consent is rape. Talk about back to basics.

The hook for the campaign is figures showing that in 2018/19 more than 160 people reported being raped in the early stages of dating, so more than one in 10 rapes committed by someone other than a partner or ex-partner happened on a first or second date. In total there were 2293 rapes reported in Scotland in the same period.

It is suspected also that this number – 160 – is significantly under reported.

This isn't, of course, the first anti-rape campaign from Police Scotland. In 2015 the We Can Stop It campaign made the same statement: sex without consent is rape.

While that campaign was aimed at men aged 16 to 27 years old, who were at the time responsible for more than one-third of reported rapes in Scotland, this campaign targets men aged 18 to 35, those in the peak age for offending.

In both cases, besides the clear and simple matching messages, the campaigns align in their insistence on targetting the perpetrator instead of the victim.

As a crime, rape is still distinct in that a focus is turned on what the victim could have done differently, how they could have prevented the crime against them.

Women are still fed information about what they can do to avoid attacks - as if controlling where they are, how they dress and how they behave might also control the actions of a man primed to commit a crime.

This focus on the victim relieves society of its collective responsibility to prevent sexual violence, it stands in the way of conversations about who the perpetrators are, why they behave as they do and how the criminal justice system can do better in prosecuting these men.

Police Scotland, which is working with Rape Crisis on this campaign, has avoided this sexist trope by honing its focus on the men who rape.

While Police Scotland would not break the figure down further to say how many of those 160 people who reported a rape were women, men or non-binary people, the force did say the number is "mostly women" - and the perpetrators are all men.

"[No one] should anyone feel bullied, coerced or shamed into having sex," said Assistant Chief Constable Gillian MacDonald, "Because their date expects it or believes they're entitled to it because they paid for drinks or dinner."

The myth of entitlement was also tackled by Sandy Brindley of Rape Crisis Scotland. “No-one is entitled to sex," she added. "It’s not something that anyone can earn through their efforts at flirting, or whole evenings spent messaging or chatting someone up."

From where do men get this notion that they have somehow earned sex by paying for dinner or sending a glut of flirty messages? While women are told they are the gatekeepers of men's behaviour, men are still encouraged to believe that women "play hard to get". Just because she says no, doesn't mean she isn't open to a little persuasion.

Ask women and most of them will have a story about a date where the man tested the limits. Pushing at boundaries is not unusual behaviour – it's a boy's place to try, after all, and against a backdrop of the routine objectification of women.

There's something dehumanising about dating-by-app also. I wonder if it makes it more difficult for dating partners to view each other as unique individuals when they can be easily replaced by a few more swipes. If you are a young man prone to believe that women owe you something, having a selection on a digital carousel must only reinforce your odious beliefs.

So Police Scotland is entirely right to focus on perpetrators. It is entirely right to, as it does on the website accompanying the campaign, focus on how people can and should challenge the sort of behaviours that create a climate in which rape happens, no matter how awkward or difficult: countering rape jokes, treating others with respect, intervening when a friend is in a risky situation.

One thing is missing, though, and that is the notion of enthusiastic consent, perhaps the most difficult thing of all to talk about. Enthusiastic consent is not only a yes but an eager yes. It is exactly the counter to the insidious standard of boys trying despite girls denying.

Enthusiastic consent is the gold standard but it means allowing women sexual agency without shame. That's a truly difficult yet truly necessary conversation to have.