Former VP Biden’s campaign seeks change across campuses

On April 9, 2017

USF, along with other college campuses, puts on events like “Take Back the Night,” giving students a forum to talk about sexual assault. SPECIAL TO THE ORACLE

A public service announcement released by former Vice President Joe Biden and his “It’s On Us” campaign, shows how easily rape culture seeps into the conversations of college students.

The PSA “Autocorrect,” released earlier this month, takes a look at a conversation between two students about a hookup from the other side.

When one texted something like, “I had to encourage her,” it changes it to “forced her” — a darker example, changing “good time” to “rape.”

Biden started the “It’s on Us” campaign in 2014 to bring to light the problem of sexual assault and ways the issue at hand is sometimes suppressed.

It is work by campaigns like Biden’s that gives life to events across the nation, such as USF’s “Take Back the Night” event, which will be held Tuesday at the Marshall Student Center Amphitheater from 6-9 p.m.

“It’s on us, it’s on all of us,” Biden said on a conference call with college students on Wednesday. “Everyone on campus and everyone in the country who sees this violence occurring has an obligation to intervene.”

Despite seeing a gradual overall decline over past two decades, sexual assaults on college campuses have not changed.

One in five women on college campuses have, or will be, sexually assaulted during their time at a university, according to a survey done by the Association of American Universities.

It’s a trend Biden has worked to reverse.

“We have to change the culture on campuses, and we can,” Biden said. “It is within our power to change the culture.”

But his efforts so far, though the resources have been put in place, haven’t been able to bring about a decline of sexual assaults on college campuses. 

For that, he calls on the students to challenge the administration.

“Demand of your school, whether you’re at one of the top universities academically in America or at a community college, demand that your administration have a mechanism in place to greet, with open arms, women who have been assaulted or are asserting they have been assaulted,” Biden said.

That is one thing that Alexandra Pellot, President of N.I.T.E at USF, said the school does well.

USF, along with other college campuses, puts on events like “Take Back the Night,” giving students a forum to talk about sexual assault.

“It is important to give people a forum to speak in and address this widespread issue because sexual and relationship violence is something we are taught to keep under the radar,” Pellot said. “People often ask, ‘Well why did you not fight? Why didn’t you just leave?’ 

“But it is not that easy. So therefore, no one really talks about it.”

Pellot said this event brings these issues to life, making them no longer a statistic or an abstract idea.

“Speak outs put a face to the story,” Pellot said. “It is no longer words on a page. You hear and see the raw emotion and impact that this has on the person. 

“It also serves as a reminder that it is happening in the community, it’s happening right here on our campus.”

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