White House Announces Campaign Against Campus Sexual Assault

September 19, 2014

President Obama unveiled a new White House campaign aimed at combating campus sexual assault, saying such violence is “an affront to our basic humanity.”

The “It’s On Us” campaign, which includes several new public service announcements, is backed by the NCAA and promoted by media giant Viacom. It’s built on guidelines introduced by Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan in 2011 to help colleges and universities understand federal civil rights laws aimed at preventing and responding to campus sexual assaults, the White House says.

Following a presentation by Lilly Jay, a sexual assault survivor, Obama spoke, saying “as a father of two daughters, I am on the one hand enraged about what has happened and on the other hand am empowered to see such an incredible young woman be so strong and do so well.

“We’re here to say today it’s not on you; it’s not your fight alone. This is on all of us to fight campus sexual assault,” he said.

The White House says the campaign “aims to fundamentally shift the way we think about sexual assault, by inspiring everyone to see it as their responsibility to do something, big or small, to prevent it.”

Vice President Biden, who as a senator sponsored the Violence Against Women Act, pushing it through Congress, said although the rates of domestic violence against women have fallen dramatically in the past two decades, “when I asked my staff to dig into the numbers … we learned that one place hadn’t changed much — women the ages 16 to 24, 1 out of every 10 of them was being physically assaulted.”

As part of the new campaign, the NCAA has agreed to promote anti-assault messages on stadium screens at championship games, and Viacom will also promote the message on its websites and the channels MTV, VH1, BET and CMT.

The Associated Press says: “The White House has enlisted Hollywood stars including Jon Hamm of Mad Men and Connie Britton of Nashville to help fight campus sexual assault.”

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