The bad news is that one in five women are sexually assaulted during their college years. The good news is that more than 250,000 people around the country have signed the “It’s On Us” pledge to help end sexual assault on college campuses.
The White House held a conference call Thursday afternoon to preview the It’s On Us campaign’s Week of Action, which will run from Sunday through Nov. 14, as well as a new PSA being released with College Humor.
Participants included White House Senior Adviser Valerie Jarrett, Vice President of College Humor Spencer Griffin, and Jake Johnson, an actor best known for his roles in New Girl and Jurassic World.
President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden partnered with Generation Progress and launched the It’s On Us initiative on Sept. 29, 2014, as an awareness movement to help put an end to sexual assault on college campuses.
“The campaign has become a rallying cry, calling on everyone to step up and engage,” Jarrett said.
The initiative encourages students “to recognize that non-consensual sex is sexual assault, to identify situations in which sexual assault may occur, to intervene in situations where consent has not or cannot be given, and to create an environment in which sexual assault is unacceptable and survivors are supported,” according to the It’s On Us website.
Jarrett said that for Week of Action there are currently 249 scheduled events at 92 schools in 35 states. Since the campaign launched last September, there have been more than 1,000 events, most of which have been student-led.
Additionally, Jarrett said that as part of the Week of Action, Biden will travel to the Naval Academy and Clemson University, among others.
It’s On Us is also releasing a new PSA in partnership with College Humor — the most-viewed comedy channel on Youtube, with more than 10 million subscribers, Griffin said — titled “What If Bears Killed One in Five People?”
Griffin said that College Humor has been a proud partner since the first day of the campaign, and since the launch it was important to use its reach to help others by leveraging the power of comedy to break through to this generation.
“We really wrestled with how to use comedy to address such a serious issue,” Griffin said. “We’re very proud of this video and the impact it can have, and College Humor is proud to be part of the It’s On Us campaign.”
Johnson, who is featured in the PSA with a group of friends, said he liked the idea of using comedy to reach many people and get them laughing.
“When I see something that really strikes me, I am thrilled to help get the message out,” Johnson said. “Everybody wants to be part of this and everyone wants to stop what’s going on, and put simply, to make the world a better place.”
Students who are interested in getting involved can visit itsonus.org, sign the pledge and learn more about the initiative and how they can make a difference. Victims or survivors of sexual assault can visit notalone.gov for resources and information or call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE.
“We believe that as the program evolves and the culture begins to change, we will obviously see the number of sexual assaults come down,” Jarrett said. “The whole goal here is to change the culture.”
Danielle Hendrix is a News Editor for the Central Florida Future. Follow her on Twitter at @ByDaniHendrix or email her at DanielleH@centralfloridafuture.com.