Carolyn’s Online Magazine (#COMe)
‘IT’S ON US’ RAISES AWARENESS OF
SEXUAL ABUSE ON COLLEGE CAMPUSES
…the cardinal sin is when a man raises his hand to a woman or a child or when anyone raises a hand to anyone who is weaker…
These words (changed from past to present tense) were formative for Vice President Joe Biden, who heard them from his father during his childhood.
He shared these words with more than 1000 University of Pittsburgh (city) students on April 5, 2016, during the first stop of a 3-college tour meant to build support for “It’s on Us,” a White House initiative launched September 2014.
“It’s on Us,” designed to raise awareness of sexual abuse on college campuses, urges educators and students “to make a personal commitment to step off the sidelines and be part of the solution to campus sexual assault.”
- The timely message. preceded Sexual Assault Awareness Week, April 11-15, 2016
- brings attention to the Walk a Mile in Her Shoes event in Greensburg, sponsored by the Blackburn Center Against Domestic & Sexual Violence, scheduled for April 16th at Lynch Field. The event is a men’s march to stop rape, sexual assault and gender violence.
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Mr. Biden cited statistics suggesting up to one in five women are sexually assaulted in college. About 68% of the victims don’t go to the police or a college official after being assaulted, preferring instead to tell a roommate.
Actor Matt McGorry, also speaking, said It’s time to step up…. It’s not a women’s responsibility to not be raped or assaulted: It’s a man’s responsibility not to rape or assault.
“Help her,” Mr. Biden urged the crowd. “Help her. Intervene. Engage…Everybody has an obligation to speak out. Ask yourself — and I mean this sincerely — ask yourself Are you doing enough? Are you doing enough to change a culture that asks all the wrong questions…by focusing on how assault victims were behaving…
Asking the right question is difficult because, even today, Buried deep in our psyche as a culture is the idea that if it wasn’t stranger rape, somehow the woman must have done something to encourage the assault.
The effects of sexual assault dampens the exchange of everything from ideas to feelings. It violates the right of everyone to a safe society, according Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf, also a speaker.
Domestic and sexual violence extend beyond women to relationships with spouses, children, organizations, nations. The existence and affected behaviors are buried so deep within the culture that to define, acknowledge, and remedy the problem is a daunting task.
Although the vast majority of victims and survivors of domestic violence are women, there are male victims. Whether the man is the perpetrator or the victim, men must be a part of the solution to ending the violence. 4/23/2013
- For anybody whose once-normal, everyday life was suddenly shattered by an act of sexual violence, the trauma, the terror can shadow you long after one horrible attack. It lingers when you don’t know where to go or who to turn to. It’s there when you’re forced to sit in the same class or stay in the same dorm with the person who raped you; when people are more suspicious of what you were wearing or what you were drinking, as if it’s your fault, not the fault of the person who assaulted you. It’s a haunting presence when the very people entrusted with your welfare fail to protect you. —Pres. Obama
Mr. Biden’s message needs to be heard, wants to be heard, as evidenced by the capacity crowd and the number of students who were unable to be accommodated and were turned away.
To begin to understand another person, you must begin to walk a mile in their shoes.
The upcoming Walk a Mile in Her Shoes event in Greensburg, sponsored by the Blackburn Center Against Domestic & Sexual Violence, is scheduled for April 16th at Lynch Field.
- It’s a playful opportunity for men to raise awareness in their community about the serious causes, effects and remediations to sexualized violence. The walk literally asks men to walk one mile in women’s high-heeled shoes.