It’s a Friday night. A young man drinks one too many beers with his friends as he prepares for a night out. He deserves to blow off some steam, after all. Dressed in jeans and a button down shirt, with a little gel in his hair, he sees a girl from his biology class standing across the room at the party. He makes his way over to her, and they talk all night.
She wakes up in his bed, with no recollection of how she got there. She sees her clothes spread out around his room. A condom wrapper sits on his bed stand, glaring at her, as she gets dressed. She didn’t say yes. She leaves and thinks, “But he didn’t look like a rapist.”
Last week, college student George Lawlor posted a picture of himself in the online student publication The Tab with the caption “Do I really look like a rapist?” The online world was immediately divided, and an overwhelming number of people decided to join the conversation on the relevance and importance of sexual consent and education. Well, George, any number of young women that have been sexually assaulted on a college campus in the last week, month or year probably did not think their perpetrator looked like a rapist, either. Yet, they cringe every time they walk past them on campus or see them at a party on the weekend.
After being invited to a sexual consent seminar, Lawlor claimed in his blog post that he did not need such training because he doesn’t need to be taught not to be a rapist. He even went as far as to say that the invitation was a “massive, painful, bitchy slap in the face.” His viral blog post challenged the necessity of such seminars — that are now being required on most college campuses, including USC — and essentially said they were a big waste of time. Truthfully, though, consent classes are the only viable option that can change the culture of rape on college campuses.
A few other men have since followed suit, agreeing that consent classes are offensive and demeaning. Blogger Milo Yiannopoulos, who spoke on campus at a USC College Republicans event just last month, even went as far as to say in a Breitbart article, “this whole campus rape culture myth is really just created to control men, by demonising them and making them fear their own masculinity.”
Well, given that 1 in 5 women are raped while in college, according to The Washington Post, this is not an issue of feminism, but an issue of basic human respect. The reality is that sexual assault and rape are far too common on college campuses, even though most men wouldn’t consider themselves “rapists,” and some are inevitably happening because men don’t understand what rape or full consent means. This is not to say that all men are criminals and rapists. It simply means that everyone, even women, need more education about sexual assault and sexual consent.
This education is especially necessary in a world full of endless gray areas. On any given night across most college campuses, alcohol is a huge factor in the party scene. Intoxication, of course, seriously lowers inhibitions, and according to many state laws, including California’s, when someone is incapacitated from alcohol, a person can no longer give their full consent. Though this idea is extremely controversial, it is something that college students, especially men, need to take into consideration.
Lack of education regarding consent opens up the door for assault, especially in college. Though some men may see these consent classes as common sense or as a waste of time, sitting through a few seminars and lectures is a far better alternative than the lifetime of emotional trauma that a rape or sexual assault can cause a rape victim. Something needs to be done to end this, and the only viable solutions right now are these types of classes.
George Lawlor and other like-minded college males may not think they need this education, but if they honestly think rapists have a certain physical look or that rape culture is a myth, then they are only further proving that they are the ones who need it most.