Tell VP Joe Biden your ideas for preventing sexual assault and dating violence

You gotta love Joe Biden. Earlier this week, on the 17th anniversary of the Violence Against Women Act, he released a video calling on young people to share their ideas for how to prevent dating violence and sexual assault at their schools and on their college campuses.

Biden notes that young women age 16-24 continue to have the highest rates of rape and sexual assault and cites some always-staggering statistics: Approximately 1 in 5 women will be a victim of sexual assault while they are in college and 1 in 9 teen girls will be forced to have sex. 1 in 10 teens have been physically hurt on purpose by someone they’re dating.

He urges everyone, particularly boys and men, to speak out against violence against women when they see it. And he offers this simple advice:

No means no. No means no if she’s drunk or sober. No means no if she’s in the dorm room or on the street. No means no even if she said yes first and changed her mind. No means no—no matter what. Assault is assault. Rape is rape is rape and it’s a crime.

Biden, who drafted VAWA back in 1994 as a Senator, has been re-focusing on this issue a lot lately. In the spring, he and the Department of Education told colleges they needed to do more to prevent sexual assault. And he recently launched the “Apps Against Abuse” competition.

I’m curious to hear what you would tell the VP. Leave your ideas in the comments and then share them with Biden by filling out the form on his website or tweet at him using the #1is2many hashtag.

Atlanta, GA

Maya Dusenbery is an Executive Director in charge of Editorial at Feministing. Maya has previously worked at NARAL Pro-Choice New York and the National Institute for Reproductive Health and was a fellow at Mother Jones magazine. She graduated with a B.A. from Carleton College in 2008. A Minnesota native, she currently lives, writes, edits, and bakes bread in Atlanta, Georgia.

Maya Dusenbery is an Executive Director of Feministing in charge of Editorial.

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  • nazza

    We live in a culture of violence. It is this acceptance of violent acts, regardless of what form they take that fuels rape culture. Like the idea of war, it’s so enmeshed in our psyche and takes so many complicated forms that many people scarcely know where to begin.

    Where would you begin, Vice President Biden?

  • Maya

    I’m glad that he’s doing this but at the same time I can’t believe he called on men to be the ones to protect women at the end of the video. That’s what we need. more men deciding what happens to our bodies.

    He still gets cool points though.

    I’ve only been at uni for a week so I’m not totally settled into the atmosphere of the school, but in the long term I think teaching more than “no means no,” but that it’s wrong for one person to have to physically stop anyone from touching them in the first place. On the other hand, it would also be great if we could just tell murderers to stop… I don’t know how receptive people would be.

  • Sophie Andersen

    “1 in 9 teen girls will be forced to have sex…”

    …so, raped.

  • Blossom

    This one’s tricky because while the 1is2many campaign is a great initiative by Biden; and of course he did great work on the VAWA, in terms of his audience here it feels a little off. If he’s really trying to reach to high school and college students, for starters this video is a snooze-fest. Also as the previous commentator noted, he places the control of the situation in the hands of males…and the whole ‘be a man’ thing is troubling also as it just falls into the gender stereotypes that feed this violence.

    However, it is great to see such interest in the issue by this administration, and since it’s incredibly precedent-setting, I can only hope the work continues and improves.

  • fyoumudflaps

    Lately after reading stuff like this about Biden, I almost hope Obama quits so Joe heads our ticket.

  • Molly Driftwood

    This is the comment I left:

    “I’m no longer at school, but I wanted to throw my 2¢ in anyway. In my experience, one of the major problems is a disconnect between what men perceive as assault and what women experience as assault. Men (and women, too, because a lot of women have trouble naming their own experiences as sexual violence) need to be educated about what sexual assault is, what it looks like, and how to avoid becoming “that guy”. Young people should also be made aware of how pervasive sexual violence is. They are often oblivious to the fact that many of their classmates have already experienced it. Ideally, this discussion would happen as part of a comprehensive sex education curriculum at the high school level.”

  • billy williams

    While i agree that NO means NO-couldn’t our Vice President make it gender-neutral-No means No whether she/he is drunk,etc.