Sexual assault on college campuses is a growing epidemic. The statistic that one in five women will be sexually assaulted during her college career is an astounding and shocking one.
As that particular statistic has gained mass amounts of media attention, The White House, among many others, has taken a firm stance on the issue. President Obama first created a White House Task Force to stop sexual assault in colleges. Now he and Vice President Joe Biden have announced the launch of the “It’s On Us” campaign.
This campaign goes far beyond The White House though. It enlists help from big name celebrities, including Rose Byrne, Jon Hamm, and Kerry Washington, and tapped creative agency Mekanism to bring the vision to life.
Here’s the first PSA:
The campaign, however, isn’t targeted at the aggressors, according to Harris and the other panel members. It is instead meant to change the conversations taking place about sexual assault and change the behaviour of the bystanders, the people who witness a situation that looks unsafe and don’t think to do anything about it.
In other words, it’s meant to encourage people to step in before something happens.
“There’s an accountability to it,” Viacom’s Niels Schuurmans says. “This is about us not being a bystander. It’s on us to get involved and actually step in in moments that we see where there may be an issue.”
The campaign extends online at itsonus.org, where people can take a pledge to be vigilant and “identify situations in which sexual assault may occur,” and “intervene in situations where consent has not or cannot be given.”
Users can share their pledge via Twitter or Facebook in the form of a “viral badge,” or they can make their own PSA video. It also provides colleges with a tool kit to organise and hold their own rally.
Harris announced “It’s On Us” will roll out a second video in two weeks’ time to keep the campaign’s momentum going.
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