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Tremendous Progress on the First Anniversary of It’s On Us

Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett writes on the Progress of the It's On Us Campaign

One year ago, the President and the Vice President launched the It’s On Us campaign with Generation Progress. It’s On Us was created to increase public awareness and education around preventing sexual violence on our nation’s campuses. Our partners are students and survivors, activists, college administrators and the campaign’s outside partners – including a number of media companies – all committed to ending the horrifying fact that one in five women are sexually assaulted during their college years. Our goal is to create a rallying cry that moves every American to step up and realize that the responsibility to prevent sexual assault begins with each of us. To end it requires a change in culture that demands everyone’s engagement.

Over the last year, It’s On Us has grown rapidly into a force for change, and we are starting to see a palpable culture shift. Students have launched their own It’s On Us campaigns at more than 300 schools, and hosted more than 650 events. Over 220,000 people have taken our pledge to end sexual assault on college campuses, and It’s On Us PSA videos have had over 12.5 million views online. The latest PSA was released just a couple weeks ago, and it makes a simple, important point to young people about consent: “If you don’t get it, you don’t get it.” And just yesterday, Lady Gaga released a graphic music video that is the soundtrack to the movie the Hunting Ground. The video graphically captures the pain of sexual assault.

The campaign now has over 90 outside partners, including media, sports leaders and conferences, alumni organizations, sexual assault prevention organizations, non-profits, and corporations, all using creative tactics to reach people where they are. Three organizations – Mekanism, PVBLIC Foundation, and National Campus Leadership Council – have partnered with Generation Progress on It’s On Us since day one.

It’s On Us PSAs have aired during March Madness and in the back of taxicabs. More than 220 colleges and universities have made their own PSAs with their own student leaders on their own campuses. It’s On Us logos have appeared on football fields and the t-shirts of students across the country. President Obama spoke about the campaign at the Grammy Awards. And most importantly, people are beginning to stand up and speak out to end sexual assault on America’s college campuses.

During a football game last year, the University of Illinois band formed the It’s On Us logo while playing during halftime. And later in the spring, Vice President Biden joined Illinois students for an It’s On Us rally.

At Hofstra University, students put together an It’s On Us “Freeze” where more than 500 students, staff, and faculty members in It’s On Us t-shirts froze in the middle of Hofstra’s busy student hub as the It’s On US PSA played.

Two-thousand people marched through Gallaudet University in our nation’s capital. West Point cadets all wore It’s On Us shirts as they cheered their football team. The Interfraternity Council Conference convened specifically on sexual assault. And just yesterday, Vice President Biden attended an It’s On Us event at Ohio State University.

And these are just a few highlights – but whether it is the millions of views the PSAs have received, the hundreds of thousands of people who have taken the pledge, or the hundreds of events that have happened across the country over the last year, it is clear that people are stepping up, speaking out, and saying loudly that campus sexual assault needs to end now.

At the launch last year, President Obama said, “So to the survivors who are leading the fight against sexual assault on our campuses, your efforts have helped to start a movement. I know…there are times when the fight feels lonely, and it feels as if you’re dredging up stuff that you’d rather put behind you. But we’re here to say, today, it’s not on you. This is not your fight alone. This is on us, every one of us, to fight campus sexual assault. You are not alone, and we have your back and we are going to organize campus by campus, city by city, state by state. This entire country is going to make sure that we understand what this is about, and we’re going to put a stop to it.”

To those who have worked tirelessly on It’s On Us campaigns around the country, thank you for heeding the President’s call. And to those of you who are yet to join us, we need you too. As we begin a new school year, and the second year of It’s On Us, we are counting on everyone – students, faculty, staff, and teachers – to work together to end campus sexual assault. Take the pledge, organize an event, and work together to end sexual assault on your campus. We know that culture does not change overnight, and that it takes the dedication of everyone to push in the same direction. Because It’s On Us – all of us.