In addition to destroying ISIS, the White House is committed to a battle against campus sexual assault at home. “It’s On Us,” a newly unveiled awareness campaign, includes celebrity spokespeople alongside President Obama and Vice President Biden to say that stopping sexual assault depends on everyone, but mostly men.
At least 55 colleges are currently being investigated by the Department of Education for their handling of sexual assault cases. In New York, Columbia University senior Emma Sulkowicz has been carrying around her mattress as an art project to comment on the university’s handling of her accusations. Statistics show that Sulkowicz is not alone: According to an oft-cited statistic, one in five women is sexually assaulted during her college career.
Crucially, this new effort seeks to engage men in addressing the issue. “Most men in fact are not comfortable with violence against women, but they don’t speak out because they believe that other men accept this behavior,” a senior administration official told CNN. “By getting men involved we think we can interrupt that way of thinking.”
Officials are hoping the new ads will be screened on youth-oriented television networks and shown at sporting events. In order to appeal to the collegiate demographic, the White House recruited celebrities like Questlove, Jon Hamm, Rose Byrne, and Cleveland Cavaliers center Kevin Love to film spots. On the campaign’s website, individuals can take a pledge:
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.
To create an environment in which sexual assault is unacceptable and survivors are supported.
And like any good 21st-century campaign, It’s On Us it also selling T-shirts to help pub the cause. At $10 apiece, they’re a steal.