Back in May, the White House rolled out a PSA aimed at fighting sexual assault on college campuses targeting men called “1 is 2 many.” The video clips featured well-known stars schooling young men about the importance of getting explicit consent from their partners before engaging in sexual activity.
The “1 is 2 many” website explained why such an initiative was important. “Young women still face the highest rates of dating violence and sexual assault,” the site said. “In the last year, one in 10 teens have reported being physically hurt on purpose by a boyfriend or girlfriend.”
Recently, the White House rolled out a new campaign aimed at expanding the conversation around sexual assault. The PSA features Kerry Washington, The Roots’ drummer Questlove, rapper Common, President Obama, and Vice President Biden telling Americans that “It’s On Us” to prevent rape.
The campaign asks men and women to sign a pledge that states they promise, “To recognize that non-consensual sex is sexual assault; to identify situations in which sexual assault may occur; to intervene in situations where consent has not or cannot be given, and to create an environment in which sexual assault is unacceptable and survivors are supported.”
Combating sexual assault on campuses is a huge issue. According to the U.S. Department of Education, reported assaults rose 79-percent from 2001 to 2012 at colleges across the nation. And while many believe the numbers of students who have actually been harmed is much higher, it’s estimated that one in five women will face sexual harassment or assault in college.
The Obama Administration has made decreasing the risk of on-campus assault one of its key issues because it hits so close to home for the president.
“This is a personal priority for the President, for the Vice President, and for every single one of us who serve this Administration every day — as husbands and wives, as fathers and mothers, friends, and, most fundamentally, as Americans who know we can do better, and are willing to step up to create the environment we want to see,” Jeff Zients, the Director of the National Economic Council, wrote on WhiteHouse.gov.
It remains to be seen what kind of effect the “It’s On Us” initiative will have on curbing sexual assaults on campus, but this push by the White House is certainly a good start.