It Really Is On Us

Staff Writer: Ashlyn Richardson

As President Barack Obama finishes out his final few months in office, Joe Biden finally steps out of the president’s show to highlight a campaign that the president has had in action since last November.

The “It’s On Us” campaign aims to combat sexual violence and bring awareness to the plague of sexual assaults in America. According to whitehouse.gov, “‘It’s On Us’ aims to fundamentally shift the way we think about sexual assault, by inspiring everyone to see it as their responsibility to do something, big or small, to prevent it. The campaign reflects the 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… and will focus particularly on motivating college men to get involved.”

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President Barack Obama, with Vice President Joe Biden, delivers remarks at an event to launch the “It’s On Us” campaign, a new public awareness and action campaign designed to prevent sexual assault at colleges and universities, in the East Room of the White House, Sept. 19, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

By allowing men to feel comfortable with standing up to sexual assault, the spectrum will shift entirely. The goal of the program is clear; the government is urging involvement of its citizens regarding sexual assault. The scale of the campaign currently focuses on raising awareness on college campuses, the most common setting for sexual assault.

President Obama was quoted saying, “To work so hard to make it through the college gates only to be assaulted is an affront to our basic humanity… It insults our most basic values as individuals and families, and as a nation.  We are a nation that values liberty and equality and justice.

In addition, we’re a people who believe every child deserves an education that allows them to fulfill their God-given potential, free from fear of intimidation or violence.  And we owe it to our children to live up to those values.” The campaign has been very successful, even going as far to gain celebrity supporters like Lady Gaga, whose song about sexual assault awareness was introduced by Vice President Joe Biden at the 2016 Oscars.

Katie Costa, a junior at Woodstock High School, said that the performance was the first time she had heard of the campaign and she is very glad she did. She said, “I’m not too big of a fan of Gaga but that really changed my mind about how common sexual assault is.”

us1Lady Gaga Performing, “Until It Happens to You” at the 2016 Oscar awards.

With the program in full swing, the White House is currently implementing programs for guidance in every district, college, and university that provides a map for legal obligations regarding the prevention and response to sexual assault on campus, the creation of the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault that  works with colleges and universities on developing prevention and response programs regarding sexual assault, and reviewing existing laws to make sure they appropriately protect victims of sexual assault.

Samantha Hill, a junior at Woodstock High School, said the program makes her feel a lot more comfortable to go to college in the future.

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