As high school and college students begin a new school year, Vice President Joe Biden is making a personal appeal for their help in ending violence against young women, which continues to occur on campuses across the country at disconcerting rates.
“The reason I’m talking to you today is I need your help. We’ve got a big problem in the United States,” Biden says in a new video message posted online and tweeted out by the @VP account. ”The problem is too many young women are getting victimized by sexual assault, and it’s happening way too frequently in high schools and on college campuses.”
Teenage girls and young women ages 16 to 24 face the highest rates of dating violence and sexual assault, according to the Obama administration. One in 10 teens have reported physical abuse by a boyfriend or girlfriend in 2010; one in five college-age women said they were victims of sexual assault.
“There’s no such thing as an innocent bystander when it comes to the abuse of a woman,” Biden says. “If you know of it, or you see it, you have an absolute obligation to try and stop it. And the only way we’re going to stop it is if all of us speak up and make it clear that violence against women will not be tolerated in your school, on your campus, any time for any reason period.”
Biden also has a message for men and boys, looking directly into the camera to deliver what he calls “a very simple rule.”
“No means no,” he says. “No means no if she’s drunk or sober. No means no if she’s on the dorm room or the street. No means no even if she said yes first and changed her mind. No means no no matter what. I’m asking all of you, all of you to help get this message out.”
The vice president’s office is pushing the education campaign – “1 is 2 Many” – through its website and on Twitter, using the hashtag #1is2many.
Biden, a longtime advocate for women, authored the Violence Against Women Act when he was in the Senate. It was signed into law 17 years ago today.
And a transcript for those who can't watch, via the SAFER Blog:
"Hello. The reason I’m talking to you today is that I need your help. We’ve got a big problem in the United States. The problem is that too many young women are getting victimized by sexual assault and rape. It is happening way too frequently in high schools and on college campuses. Every young woman going back to school has an absolute right to be free of sexual assault and rape, but, unfortunately, too many young women are victimized by their dates and their classmates. The research statistics are staggering. 1 in 5 young women will be a victim of sexual assault while they’re in college. 1 in 10 teens will be hurt on purpose by someone they’re dating; and 1 in 9 teen girls will be forced to have sex. You don’t know these women as statistics. You know them as your classmates, as your friend, as your sister, the person you study with and hang out with. And you also know that they need help; and one of the ways to help is when you know what’s happening or happened intervene, step up. There’s no such thing as an innocent bystander when it comes to the abuse of a woman. If you know of it, if you see it, you have an absolute obligation to stop it. And the only way we’re going to stop it is for all of us to speak up and act and make it clear that violence against women will not be tolerated at your school, on your campus, at any time, for any reason. Period. No man has a right to raise his hand to a woman. And you guys have to understand a very simple rule: No means no. No means no if she’s drunk or sober. No means no if she’s in a dorm room or on the street. No means no even if she said yes first and changed her mind. No means no, no matter what. Assault is assault. Rape is rape is rape and it’s a crime. I’m asking all of you, all of you to help get this message out all across the country on every single college campus in the country. I want you to know, and I want to know from you, actually, what has your school done to make you feel safer? What could they do that they’re not doing to make you feel safer? What ideas do you have to help prevent dating violence and sexual assault and make campuses safer for everyone? We all have an obligation to stop sexual assault. We have an obligation that any woman who has been assaulted knows she’s not alone. So talk to me. Let me know what you think, because we have to act and act now. Since I wrote the Violence Against Women Act way back in 1990, violence against women has gone down by 50%. But it’s gone up lately in the category of teens and college women. And there’s no reason why we can’t make the same progress in that area with young girls and women as we have overall. So start talking about this on campus. Let me know what else we should be doing by visiting whitehouse.gov/1is2many. Tell us what you think. Or use the hashtag #1is2many to share your idea on Twitter. Finally, if you’ve been abused or need help, please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE and they’ll direct you to help in your area immediately. One more thing guys: If you know somebody’s being abused or see someone being abused, be a man. Step up. It could be your sister. It’s your obligation. Thanks guys. We need your help. We’ve got to stop this. So be in touch. Let me know what you think. Thank you."
The site is soliciting feedback on strategies to reduce partner violence and sexual assault from September 13th - September 27th, if anyone would like to share their input.