Today, the President announced an initiative to help put an end to campus sexual assault. It's called "It's On Us."
That's not just a slogan or catchphrase. It's the whole point. Because in a country where one in five women on college campuses has been sexually assaulted -- only 12 percent of which are reported -- this is a problem that should be important to every single one of us, and it's on every single one of us to do something to end the problem.
As a husband, as a brother, and as a father of three boys and daughter who is a sophomore in college, it's on me to help create an environment in which sexual assault is unacceptable, and where survivors are supported.
It's on me to tell my kids to never blame the victim. To not be a bystander. It's on me to make sure they know that if they see something that looks wrong, they need to get involved -- to intervene any way they can, even if it means enlisting the help of a friend or resident advisor. It's on me to teach them to be direct, and to trust their gut.
That's why this is personal for me.
And it’s why I took a step this morning to show my commitment to doing my part. And whether you're a parent, a student, a survivor or a friend of one, there's something you can do right now to do the same.
Go to ItsOnUs.org, and take the pledge -- a personal commitment to help keep women and men safe from sexual assault. It's a promise that you won't be a bystander to the problem -- that you'll be a part of the solution. The President took the pledge this morning. I did, too -- along with dozens of other White House staffers. Do it right now.
Here's what you will be pledging:
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.
To create an environment in which sexual assault is unacceptable and survivors are supported.
Then, once you do, spread the word. Share your pledge on your social networks. Put it on your Facebook page. Tweet it to your followers.
Because in a world where victims of sexual assault feel as if they must live out a long and lonely fight, it's on all of us to let them know they're not fighting alone. It's on us to have their backs, and to tell them so.
It’sOnUs.org also will give you tips about how to identify, handle, and prevent campus sexual assault. You can watch the testimonies of others, and record a video sharing why this is personal for you. You can download the campaign organizing toolkit, and spread the word on your college campus, or on your kids' college campus, or on the college campus of someone you know.
The point is: There's something for all of us to do.
This campaign is one part of a broader effort by the President’s team to combat campus assault. Three years ago, our Administration sent guidance to every school district, college, and university that receives federal funding, clarifying their legal obligations to prevent and respond to sexual assault. In January, the President created the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault -- a group tasked with working with schools on better ways to prevent and respond to assault. And moving forward, we're building up our enforcement efforts, and we're demanding greater transparency from schools and reviewing existing laws to make sure they're working.
And this new initiative will help move that work forward by creating a new energy and awareness around these issues on campuses across America.
This is a personal priority for the President, for the Vice President, and for every single one of us who serve this Administration every day -- as husbands and wives, as fathers and mothers, friends, and, most fundamentally, as Americans who know we can do better, and are willing to step up to create the environment we want to see.