On 17th Anniversary of the Violence Against Women Act, Vice President Biden Says “1 is too Many” Youth Victims of Dating Violence and Sexual Assault
Washington, D.C. – Earlier today, in a video message tweeted by @VP, Vice President Biden called on high school and college students to share their ideas for how to prevent dating violence and sexual assault at their schools and on their college campuses. Over the next two weeks, young men and women are invited to join this important conversation by submitting their ideas via the new whitehouse.gov/1is2many page or by using the hashtag #1is2many on Twitter.
Despite the significant progress made to reduce violence against women since the landmark Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) – authored by then-Senator Biden – was signed into law on September 13, 1994, young women aged 16-24 continue to experience the highest rates of rape and sexual assault. One in five young women will be a victim of sexual assault during college, while one in ten teens have been physically hurt on purpose by a boyfriend or girlfriend in the last year.
“The only way we’re going to stop it is for all of us to speak up and act and make it clear that violence against women will not be tolerated at your school, on your campus, at any time, for any reason period,” Vice President Biden says in the video message. “No means no. No means no if she’s drunk or you’re sober. No mean no if you’re in a dorm room or on the street. No means no even if she said yes first and changed her mind. No means no, no matter what.”
“I am asking all of you to help get this message out, all across the country, on every single campus in the country,” the Vice President continues. “I want to know from you…what has your school done to make you feel safer? What could they do that they’re not doing, to make you feel safer? What ideas do you have to help prevent dating violence and sexual assault and make campuses safer for everyone?”
For over 20 years, Vice President Biden has led the fight to combat violence against women. With the introduction of VAWA, then-Senator Biden exposed high rates of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking experienced by women every day in this country. Over the past year, in response to the high rates of violence and abuse young women are still experiencing, the Vice President has refocused his longstanding commitment to reducing violence against women specifically on teens and young women aged 16-24.
In April, the Vice President announced comprehensive guidance with Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to help schools, colleges and universities better understand their obligations under federal civil rights laws to prevent and respond to the problem of campus sexual assault.
In July, the Vice President, with the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, launched the “Apps Against Abuse” challenge – a national competition to develop an innovative software application, or “app,” that provides young adults with tools to help prevent sexual assault and dating violence in real time. The winner of the challenge will be announced next month.