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Obama Launches "It's On Us" Campaign to Stop Sexual Violence

Obama Launches "It's On Us" Campaign to Stop Sexual Violence

Obama Launches "It's On Us" Campaign to Stop Sexual Violence

Because it's time to stop blaming the victims

President Obama has stepped up yet again in defense of the young women (and some young men) of this country in a new campaign aimed at putting an end to sexual assault on college campuses.  He is calling it the "It's On Us" campaign and in a recent speech outlined the main problem that is preventing us from moving forward in the fight to prevent rape and other violence towards women in college: the tendency to blame the victims rather than the perpetrators.

We hear all the time as women ways in which we should be protecting ourselves against these attacks.  Don't dress provocatively, don't have that extra drink, don't take a drink from a stranger, don't walk in this place or that place late at night.  We are constantly told "don't get raped" and though it's well and good to be cautious and try to not put yourself in a dangerous situation, wouldn't the message be a little more effective if we told the would-be perpetrators a strong message of "don't rape" instead?

In a speech to the country, President Obama called out the young men of the nation to step up when they hear or see something that makes them uncomfortable or looks like a situation that needs to be stopped:  

"It is on all of us to reject the quiet tolerance of sexual assault and to refuse to accept what’s unacceptable.  And we especially need our young men to show women the respect they deserve, and to recognize sexual assault, and to do their part to stop it.  Because most young men on college campuses are not perpetrators...But the rest of us can help stop those who think in these terms and shut stuff down.  And that’s not always easy to do with all the social pressures to stay quiet or go along; you don’t want to be the guy who’s stopping another friend from taking a woman home even if it looks like she doesn’t or can’t consent.  Maybe you hear something in the locker room that makes you feel uncomfortable, or see something at a party that you know isn’t right, but you’re not sure whether you should stand up, not sure it’s okay to intervene... It is your responsibility to speak your mind.  It is your responsibility to tell your buddy when he’s messing up.  It is your responsibility to set the right tone when you’re talking about women, even when women aren’t around -- maybe especially when they’re not around."

For the full text of the speech you can go here.  And also check out this great new PSA that has been made in support of the campaign. The PSA features celebs including Jon Hamm, Kerry Washington, Rose Byrne, and Mayim Bialik - among others. 

Advocate Channel - The Pride StoreOut / Advocate Magazine - Jonathan Groff and Wayne Brady

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Katie Boyden