Obama Launches Sexual Assault Awareness Campaign

Obama Launches Sexual Assault Awareness Campaign

Kerry Washington, Common and Questlove will be featured in the anti-rape PSAs.

Published September 19, 2014

Here’s what we know: One in four women will be raped in her lifetime.

It’s also important to point out that this is our issue, too. Just think about CeeLo’s controversial comments about nonconsensual consent and Jada, the Texas teen who was drugged and raped at a party after school, for example. And while many of us understand that rape is not about what the woman was doing, anti-rape advocates are still fighting to change the conversation to show that sexual assault of women begins and ends with men.  

One way to usher in that change is President Obama’s “It’s On Us” campaign.

This initiative, which is a joint project with the Center of American Progress, hopes that it can be a force in changing our culture by emphasizing the need to treat rape as an assault on the community as a whole and not just an individual. To bring about this change, the “It's On Us” website encourages folks to take a pledge to "not be a bystander to the problem, but to be part of the solution."

“The campaign reflects a belief that sexual assault isn’t just an issue involving a crime committed by a perpetrator against a victim, but one in which the rest of us also have a role to play,” the White House said.

But the White House is also clear that this program is also about taking young men to task and asking them to stand up and begin rethinking the ways that they look at consent, healthy sexual relationships and their treatment women.

"Most men are not comfortable with violence against women, but often don't speak out because they believe that other men accept this behavior. By getting men involved, we can change this way of thinking and create new social norms," says a White House release.

In addition to ads and posters, there will be a series of PSAs featuring celebrities such as Kerry Washington, Common and Questlove lending their voice to this campaign. The PSAs will air on BET, MTV, VH1 and other networks in the upcoming weeks, the New York Times reported.

Addressing rape on campus isn’t new to the Obama Administration.

This new campaign is part of ongoing efforts the White House has made in the past year to address the alarming epidemic of sexual assaults on college campuses around the country. Back in January, President Obama and Vice-President Biden put together a White House task force to set forth change, which resulted in recommendations for colleges on how to deal with sexual assault.

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(Photo: Saul Loeb-Pool/Getty Images)

Written by Kellee Terrell

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