Written by Emily Crockett
Vice President Joe Biden is leading a campaign called “1 is 2 Many” to combat dating violence against young women, which kicks off with a PSA featuring sports stars and targeted at young men.
“There’s never, never, never an excuse for a man to raise his hand to a woman other than in self defense,” Biden said at a press conference last month.
The PSA, which features Biden and President Barack Obama with sports stars such as Jeremy Lin, David Beckham, Eli Manning, Evan Longoria, and Jimmy Rollins, begins with the simple message: “Hey guys, listen up. No one should ever hit a woman. No woman should ever have to fear violence.”
“It’s a game-changer when [these role models’] voices are suddenly in the room,” said White House Advisor on Violence Against Woman Lynn Rosenthal.
The PSA has aired over the summer on the ESPN Networks, the Fox Sports Networks, MLB Network, and the NFL Network, in an effort to reach large numbers of young men.
Women between the ages of 16-24 face the highest rate of dating violence. Eighty percent of sexual assaults happen to women under 25, and 1 in 5 women report being sexually assaulted in college.
Biden, along with Rosenthal and Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett, said that in order to stop violence against women, the culture must change.
“We can end this violence,” Biden said. “But it can’t happen until everyone understands that dating violence and sexual assault will never be tolerated, and the person who engages in it becomes a pariah.”
Biden also urged young men to speak out if they see someone abusing or talking about abusing women, even if it means taking a personal risk—they should have as much courage as the women who finally decide to pick up the phone and ask for help.
The culture of dating violence has certainly changed in the 18 years since Biden introduced the Violence Against Women Act; rates of domestic violence against women have fallen by 60 percent since its passage. The Vice President said he received a number of negative responses at the time VAWA was first proposed, and some fellow legislators went as far as to suggest the government not intervene in what they called a “private matter” which was not appropriate to discuss in public.
Nowadays, such language concerning women’s health would be unthinkable, although modern conservatives hid behind anti-gay and anti-immigrant sentiments to oppose the bill’s renewal this year.
Still, much needs to change, including how public officials reach young people.
“We’re trying to go where the young people are,” said Cynthia Hogan, Counsel to the Vice President, noting that since young people make fewer phone calls these days, the “1 is 2 Many” campaign includes text, email and Twitter access to hotlines and dating violence resources.
The “1 is 2 Many” PSA will run through the summer, and the campaign uses the Twitter hashtag #1is2many.
This post was originally published by Campus Progress.