It’s On Us to Shift How We Talk About Sexual Assault

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It’s On Us to Shift How We Talk About Sexual Assault


By Doug Bair
Managing Editor, Generation Progress

In an event at the White House last month, President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden launched the It’s On Us campaign in partnership with Generation Progress.

In a culture where one in five women and one in 16 men are sexually assaulted in college, it is more important than ever to engage in discussions that create a shift in the way we think about, talk about and act around sexual assault.

“To the survivors who are leading the fight against sexual assault on campuses, your efforts have helped to start a movement,” President Obama said. “But we’re here to say, today, it’s not on you. This is not your fight alone. This is on all of us, every one of us, to fight campus sexual assault.”

Obama also emphasized the need to reach out to men through this campaign.

“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,” Obama said. “It is your responsibility to tell your buddy when he’s messing up.”

Vice President Biden discussed how a change of conversation around the topic of sexual assault is needed.

“It is never the right question for a woman to ask, ‘What did I do?’ Never. Get this straight: never is it appropriate for a woman to ask, ‘What did I do?’ The question is, ‘Why was that done to me, and will someone do something about it?,” Biden said.

The It’s On Us campaign includes partnerships with student leaders from almost 200 colleges and universities throughout the country, collegiate sports organizations such as the NCAA, celebrities, sports stars, private companies, non-profits, and many more.

It’s on us to recognize that if someone does not or cannot consent to sex, it’s sexual assault. It’s on us to take responsibility for our actions and our inaction. It’s on us to realize we have a role to play in stopping sexual assault. It’s on us. All of us. Take the pledge at itsonus.org.

YWCA Week Without ViolenceThis post is part of the YWCA Week Without Violence™ 2014 Blog Carnival. We invite you to join the dialogue! Post your comment below, share your story and follow the conversation on Twitter with the hashtag #workagainstviolence.