#1is2many: Why Vice President Joe Biden made me cry today

Via The White House

I was totally crying earlier and it’s all Joe Biden’s fault. Vice President Joe Biden, a long time advocate for women and girls and strong ally in the fight to end violence against women, announced a new White House PSA today called “1 is 2 many.”  The much needed PSA, featuring all men and everyone from President Obama to David Beckham calls for all of us to do our part in stopping dating violence.

As the White House site says,

1 in 5 women will be the victim of sexual assault while they are in college, 1 in 9 teen girls will be forced to have sex, 1 in 10 teens will be hurt on purpose by someone they are dating, 1 is 2 many.

As a survivor of sexual assault, one of the many challenges I’ve faced in my recovery is feeling completely alone.  I’ve often felt like no one understands me, no one believes me, no one supports me, and everyone blames me.  That feeling is only compounded when our society promotes wrong headed ideas like, “domestic violence is a private matter,” or “we don’t really know what happened because we weren’t there,” instead of simply stating that violence against women is wrong no matter what.  

When men see other men committing acts of violence against women it is their duty to say and do something about it.  Silence is passive acceptance for this behavior, and the PSA is hoping to communicate clearly to all men that this is not okay.

As Former Yankees’ manager Joe Torre, who grew up in an abusive household, says in the ad, “Violence against women hurts all of us.”  The public service announcement calls for us to step up instead of what usually happens where society focuses on how the victim could have changed their behavior to prevent the violence.  Violence against women is not someone else’s problem.  The ad also addresses another problematic and fictional narrative, that violence against women only happens to women at the hands of a stranger in an alley.  “No woman should have to fear violence.  Especially not from someone they know and trust.”

This PSA means so much to me personally.  In some ways, it’s powerful validation that no it was not my fault and even the leader of the free world agrees and wants everyone to do more to support people like me who are the “1.”

The reality is that so many of us have experienced both violence and the societal blame that follows and in some ways it’s the latter that is more hurtful and damaging long term.  This ad is a monumental step in changing the narrative around who should receive all of the blame for violence – the person committing it – and it helps put everyone else on notice that it is our collective responsibility to support and speak up for and with  survivors brave enough to tell their stories.

Watch the official White House PSA below (transcript after the jump):

Transcript: Hey Everybody Listen up, listen up guys, listen up.  No one should ever hit a woman.  Not their wife, not their girlfriend, not their date.  No woman should have to fear violence.  Especially not from someone they know and trust.  But that’s the reality for too many women.  We have to change it.  It’s up to each of us because even 1 is too many.  Violence against women hurts all of us.  Growing up I was ashamed and afraid of my father when he abused my mom.  The worst abuse of power is when a man raises his hand to hurt a woman.  We all have to take responsibility.  So if you see someone threatening a woman step up, speak out, and get help.  Dating violence hurts all of us so step up and help out because 1 is too many. One is too many. One is too many. One is too many. End the violence because it’s wrong. Because one, one is too many.

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