A guy named George Lawlor wrote an essay about how disgusted and insulted he was by the concept of "consent classes," which are designed to teach both men and women about what consent means as a way to prevent sexual violence. That essay went viral, in large part because George had the terrible idea that he should illustrate his nonsense with a picture of himself holding a sign that read: "This is not what a rapist looks like." The Internet had a field day with him:
In a follow-up with The Tab, he talked about what being one of the world's most famous non-rapists has been like:
I didn’t expect a backlash on that scale. I expected a bit of negativity but only ad hominem in the comments section. Not the entire internet.
I think the picture was the thing that was most misunderstood. And, of course, you can recognize me from the picture.
It’s put my entire life on hold really – I’ve had to pause work and uni to deal with all of this. I’m trying to get back into my normal routine again but I still receive the odd message now and then.
Some people won’t talk to me anymore, others no longer want to be associated with me and going onto campus isn’t really a pleasant experience because people just go quiet as I walk past.
The problem is now, if you Google my name, it’s going to forever be linked with the word “rape” – regardless of whether or not you agree with me. It’s about perception. If I’m perceived to be something I’m not, that’s going to have a negative impact on my entire life.
This is all true. If you don't want to be the face of rape culture, don't put your face on a terrible message that is wrong on its very face. Rapists don't all look like cartoon Neanderthals (and to be fair to George, looking like a huge douche doesn't necessarily mean he is one). The Internet is written in ink. Some people, like George Lawlor, write their histories there by choice, but many do not. If you're embarking on a career as an inflammatory op-ed writer, consider his case.