What will it take for the message to finally sink in with college (and high school) students: rape is a crime and sexual violence will not be tolerated?
Universities have enacted policies filled with legal jargon which bans athletes from playing sports; college campuses have launched programs to handle growing concerns; even survivors have carried mattresses across graduation stages in protest of their very own rapes.
Former Vice President Joe Biden had a simple and straight-forward message to a crowd of college-age men at George Mason University on Wednesday.
He said: "Guys, a woman who’s dead drunk cannot consent. You are raping her.”
Consider this a lesson in brevity. According to BuzzFeed, Biden visited the campus on behalf of the organization he and ex-President Barack Obama founded called It's On Us.
Among many of its aims, the organization intends to “[c]reate an environment in which sexual assault is unacceptable and survivors are supported,” according to the website. Prevention and intervention are also touch points.
According to Biden, some of that prevention begins in the locker room. "I've been in a lot of locker rooms. I don't know where in locker rooms where it is acceptable to talk about, 'Man, I was out this weekend and boy, I got a piece of her, and I did this and I did that,'" he said.
"The guys who usually say that are usually the ugliest sons of bi— guns in the room," he added, to laughter and applause from the crowd, Biden continued. "Here's the deal guys, you gotta speak up. You cannot let that kind of talk be bred on a college campus."
Biden then went on to call out those who passively stand by without trying to help or prevent a situation from escalating.
“When you see something, if you're a fraternity brother and you see a young freshman co-ed in the second week dead drunk, and him walking her up the stairs, you gotta go up to him and say, 'Hey, not in my house, Jack. Not in my house.' Because if you don't, you are an accomplice. You know what's about to happen. You know!"
Over the years Biden has been vocal about prevention of sexual assault and aiding survivors. In 2015 he was an instrumental player in the Obama administration’s pledge of $41 million dollars to fund rape kit testing.
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