Sexual assault prevention organizations who visit college campuses are, and have been, promoting a new consent slogan for students – rather than “no means no,” which leaves room for gray areas in certain cases, the no-nonsense and clear-cut message is “yes means yes” when it comes to acts of intimacy. Furthermore, California Governor Jerry Brown signed legislation in September of 2014 mandating that public colleges in the state teach “yes means yes” consent standards or face elimination of state-allotted funds.
Now, President Obama and Vice President Biden have made further steps to help prevent sexual assaults on college campuses – a problem which affects approximately one in five women on campuses nation-wide, and which threatens to affect more.
After writing a passionate letter to the Stanford survivor whose rapist was given just six months in jail and speaking out against sexual assault at the Oscars, Biden, Obama, their spouses and the whole of the federal cabinet will reportedly not visit and speak at universities and colleges nationally who fail to speak out about sexual assault.
According to the Washington Post, Biden mentioned possible plans to withdraw federal funds to those schools failing to make necessary steps in preventing a national problem.
Sexual assault prevention has been a main effort of Biden’s since before his status as Vice President. As a senator, Biden introduced and lobbied for the Violence Against Women Act, which created support systems for women and, since its passage in 1994, aided in the decrease of domestic violence rates by over 50 percent.
Earlier in 2016, Biden spoke at The United States of Women Summit, urging men in particular to speak up and speak out openly against sexual assaults, especially in front of peer groups. While there, he also firmly pointed out that those who do not intervene when they see attempted or current situations of assault are accomplices.
“I’m going to continue to travel, long after this job is over, to college campuses all across America (that are) promising … to intervene when they see something, (which have created) an environment where sexual assault is unacceptable,” Biden said in the speech he delivered at the summit.
It is definitely time for something like this to enforce the idea that sexual assault is not okay.
Lead Image Credit: Mark Beane; Loyola University Chicago via Flickr Commons