President Obama to survivors of campus sexual assault: “I’ve got your back”

Last week, in a coup for anti-violence activists of all stripes including many members of the Feministing crew, the Obama administration released a report and launched a new initiative to end rape and sexual assault on college campuses by holding those schools that receive federal funding accountable for accurate reporting.

In his Friday “weekly address”, which you can view in the video above, President Obama expanded on some of the reasoning behind this monumental decision, saying in part:

“Sexual assault is an affront to our basic decency and humanity…and it’s about all of us.”

While much of the language was very restrained, I was glad that he did point to the need for a collective outrage around this epidemic of violence by stating that “real men are outraged by sexual violence.”

He also had something to say to survivors:

“We need to keep saying to anyone out there who has ever been assaulted: You are not alone. We have your back. I’ve got your back.”

This seems like a good time to thank the many activists whose sustained efforts to address sexual assault in their communities has helped place the scourge of campus violence on the national stage, and facilitated collaboration among organizers from disparate campuses across the U.S. On this site in particular, I’ve learned so much from straightforward news coverage as well as through critiques of rape culture in mainstream media and pop culture.

For more on campus sexual assault and sexual violence, please see:

Brooklyn, NY

Lori Adelman is a writer and advocate focusing on race, gender, and sexual and reproductive rights. In addition to serving as an Executive Director at Feministing, Lori is the Director of Global Communications at Planned Parenthood Federation of America. Lori has previously worked at the United Nations Foundation, the International Women’s Health Coalition, and Human Rights Watch, and has written for a host of print and digital properties including Rookie Magazine, The Grio, and the New York Times Magazine. She regularly appears on radio and television, and has spoken at college campuses across the U.S. about topics like the politics of black hair, transnational movement building, and the undercover feminism of Nicki Minaj. In 2014, she was named to The Root 100 list of the nation's most influential African Americans, and to the Forbes Magazine list of the "30 Under 30" successful people in media.

Lori Adelman is an Executive Director of Feministing in charge of Partnerships.

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