College Student's Idiotic Essay On Campus Rape Is Going Viral

October 20th 2015

Laura Donovan

British college student George Lawlor is under fire for his viral essay against sexual consent classes on student news network, The Tab Warwick.

Lawlor says he was furious to receive an invitation to an "I Heart Consent Training Session" on campus, prompting him to share this photo of himself and explain why he does not look like someone who would commit sexual assault, among other things. By sharing a photo of himself, Lawlor presents a troubling and false assertion that sexual predators have a distinct appearance. As noted by writer Daisy Buchanan, a sexual assault victim who wrote a lengthy rebuttal to Lawlor, someone does not need to look a certain way to be a rapist. A beloved classmate by all, she says, is just as capable of rape as anyone else, and a person's appearance does not determine who will and won't decide to sexually assault others.

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"Rapists aren’t usually baddies in alleyways – they’re entitled people who think what they want takes precedence," she writes. "Lawlor believes that his wants – not have to consider what the horrible, distressing label 'rapist' might mean in the context of his life and his friends – are greater than the needs of the women around him."

Student says this “Doesn’t Look Like A Rapist”

But Lawlor, a self-proclaimed lover of consent, says he was profoundly offended by an invitation to a consent education course, which is surprising because a growing number of schools are trying to spread awareness of sexual assault on college campuses. Investigating the issue is totally necessary, as a 2007 U.S. Department of Justice study revealed that 1 in 5 undergraduate women endure an attempted or completed sexual assault during college. Despite this chilling reality, Lawlor doesn't see a need for a consent course.

"Of course people should only interact with mutual agreement, but I still found this invitation loathsome," he writes. "To be invited to such a waste of time was the biggest insult I’ve received in a good few years. It implies I have an insufficient understanding of what does and does not constitute consent and that’s incredibly hurtful. I can’t stress that enough."

He says that he doesn't "have to be taught to not be a rapist," attesting that the same is true for many others.

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"That much comes naturally to me, as I am sure it does to the overwhelming majority of people you and I know," he continues.

While he recognizes that there have been "tragic cases of rape and abuse on campuses in the past," he doubts that potential rapists can be swayed by consent courses.

"[D]o you really think the kind of people who lacks empathy, respect and human decency to the point where they’d violate someone’s body is really going to turn up to a consent lesson on a university campus?" he asks. "They won’t. The only people who’ll turn up will be people who (surprise, surprise) already know when it’s okay to shag someone."

He finishes up the piece by saying consent teachers are not heroes as many have been led to believe and that their push for consent is a poor use of time.

"Self-appointed teachers of consent: get off your fucking high horse," he writes. "Next time you consider inviting me or anyone else to another bullshit event like this, have a little respect for the intelligence and decency of your peers. You might find that’s a more effective solution than accusing them of being vile rapists-in-waiting who can only be taught otherwise by a smug, righteous, self-congratulatory intervention."

Lawlor received a fair amount of criticism for his biting post, with some people condemning him for suggesting that a rapist must look a certain way. Some even pointed out the irony in his physical resemblance to serial killer and rapist, Ted Bundy, even though looks are irrelevant to who is and isn't a rapist, as earlier stated:

The truth about sexual assault in the U.S.

The White House released a consent PSA this fall featuring a slew of celebrities. President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden's "It's On Us" campaign aims to end sexual assault on college campuses. In the video, Matt McGorry, Minka Kelly, Zoe Saldana, John Cho, the band HAIM, and Josh Hutcherson talk about the "one thing" needed for sexual activity: consent.

The U.S. Department of Justice's National Crime Victimization Survey found that there are an average of 293,066 victims of rape and sexual assault each year. It's well known that many rapes go unreported as well. The Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network (RAINN) reports that nearly 70 percent of incidents are not reported.

College sexual assault has become a big talking point in the media, and while more schools are increasing awareness of the issue, not all of them believe it's a huge problem for their respective campuses.

Earlier this year, Inside Higher Ed released its fifth annual Survey of College and University Presidents, which found that a third of college presidents acknowledge that campus sexual assault is common on college campuses in the U.S. Just 6 percent of the surveyed college presidents, however, believe sexual assault is prevalent at their institutions.

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