FACT SHEET: Launch of the “It’s On Us” Public Awareness Campaign to Help Prevent Campus Sexual Assault
Since the beginning of this Administration, the President and Vice President have made it a priority to root out sexual violence wherever it exists, especially in our nation’s schools. In April 2011, Vice President Biden and the Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, introduced comprehensive guidance to help colleges and universities nationwide better understand their obligations under federal civil rights laws to prevent and respond to sexual assault on campus.
Building on those efforts, in January 2014, the President and Vice President established the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault. The Task Force has since worked to assist schools in preventing sexual assault and to provide practical tools to help. Today’s announcement is a critical part of the Administration’s work to prevent sexual assault, but it is not the final step. Our efforts to improve enforcement, transparency, and accountability will continue.
Launching “It’s On Us”
In April, after 27 listening sessions with stakeholders across the country, the Task Force launched the 1is2many PSA aimed at spreading the word that one victim is too many and released the “Not Alone” report to help empower and equip student and administrative bodies to better understand and more effectively tackle the issue. The report included action steps, recommendations, and best practices in four key areas:
(1) Identifying the scope of the problem through campus climate surveys
(2) Preventing campus sexual assault and engaging men
(3) Helping schools respond effectively when a student is assaulted
(4) Improving, and making more transparent, the federal government’s enforcement efforts
Today, to advance the goal of preventing sexual assault, the President and Vice President will unveil a new public awareness and education campaign: “It’s On Us.” The campaign seeks to engage college students and all members of campus communities in preventing sexual assault in the first place. The campaign is being launched in partnership with the Center for American Progress’ Generation Progress, along with student body leadership from nearly 200 colleges and universities across the country, collegiate sports organizations such as the NCAA, and private companies that have strong connections with students at colleges and universities.
“It’s On Us” aims to fundamentally shift the way we think about sexual assault, by inspiring everyone to see it as their responsibility to do something, big or small, to prevent it. The campaign reflects the belief that sexual assault isn’t just an issue involving a crime committed by a perpetrator against a victim, but one in which the rest of us also have a role to play. We are committed to creating an environment - be it a dorm room, a party, a bar or club, or the greater college campus - where sexual assault is unacceptable and survivors are supported. This effort will support student-led efforts already underway across the country, and will focus particularly on motivating college men to get involved.
Most men are not comfortable with violence against women, but often don’t speak out because they believe that other men accept this behavior. By getting men involved, we can change this way of thinking and create new social norms. Research shows that bystander intervention can be an effective way of stopping sexual assault before it happens, as bystanders play a key role in preventing, discouraging, and/or intervening when an act of violence has the potential to occur. As the latest CDC report on preventing campus sexual violence shows, wide-ranging, population-based strategies like bystander intervention – which address individual, community, campus, and societal-level factors – have the greatest potential to effect positive and meaningful change. Bystander education and training aims to heighten awareness, challenge social norms, decrease misperceptions about sexual assault, and provide skills that increase one’s confidence to intervene effectively.
Ongoing Task Force Efforts
“It’s On Us” is a critical step forward in the Administration’s multipronged approach to combat sexual assault that includes improved enforcement of federal laws and practical help for schools. This campaign will complement efforts schools should be undertaking to hold perpetrators accountable and assist students who have experienced sexual assault. As part of this ongoing approach, on Friday the Task Force also will release three new best practices documents that can help colleges and universities improve their response to sexual assault. These documents, which will be posted on NotAlone.gov, will provide sample policy language to help schools strengthen the role of Title IX coordinators; provide interim and supportive measures for victims; and, define prohibited conduct in their sexual misconduct policies. The Department of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women will also award over $6 million to 18 colleges with grants to develop comprehensive campus sexual assault prevention and response programs.
We know that prevention efforts must also begin early. The Task Force is working to identify how its recommendations apply to K-12 schools, and has kicked off a series of listening sessions to engage stakeholders in this conversation. The Department of Education continues to work with school districts, colleges and universities to improve the response to sexual assault including through comprehensive remedies requiring schools to conduct climate surveys, train students and employees, and provide prompt and equitable relief to victims.
We also recognize that many organizations, schools and campus communities have their own campaigns to raise awareness, both about sexual assault generally and more specifically in college. “It’s On Us” will focus on empowering these current efforts and energizing new ones, by giving student bodies the tools they need to organize and spread the word, from the ground up. Going forward, we will work closely with all stakeholders to use effective organizing tools and creative outreach to engage all Americans in ending sexual assault.
“It’s On Us” Partners
In order to launch this public-private partnership, we have supported the engagement of a broad range of “It’s On Us” partners, including media platforms, the college sports community, student leaders, athletes, celebrities, and other stakeholders. “It’s On Us” partners have signed a memorandum of understanding with the Center for American Progress to be a part of the “It’s On Us” campaign through Generation Progress. “It’s On Us” partners will support the campaign in a number a ways, including but not limited to:
- Working in coordination with Generation Progress to promote “It’s On Us”content, using the brand and logo with their own. This includes using media space online, on television, and on other platforms to spread the word about “It’s On Us”.
- Player or personality media and social media commitments. This includes working with the talent that “It’s On Us” Partners have on staff and through affiliations in order to integrate “It’s On Us” into content and to spread the word using different personalities’ platforms.
- Creating original content for their audience promoting it through their own platforms and talent. “It’s On Us” encourages campaign partners with their own effective ways of creating content that breaks through with college students to do what they do best: communicate with, engage, and mobilize campus communities to act.
Examples of commitments being announced by “It’s On Us” partners today include:
- Student body leaders at colleges and universities: Across the country student leaders from nearly 200 colleges and universities have committed to being part of “It’s On Us” to bring this campaign to their campuses and take action. A list of the schools those student leaders represent is available here.
- NCAA: The NCAA will support “It's On Us” with its 1,100 member schools through resources on NCAA.org; coverage of the campaign in its award-winning quarterly magazine, Champion; activities during the National Week of Action in November; and a half-day session on sexual assault and violence prevention at the Association's annual convention in January. College sports fans will see “It's On Us” PSAs in-venue at NCAA championship events and ongoing engagement on social media.
- Electronic Arts: Electronic Arts, a leading video gaming company, has lined up a major presence across social media channels and online platforms to carry the “It’s On Us” message to fans and players of EA’s games. The social network channels of 16 EA franchises and properties, totaling more than 30 different channels across Facebook, Twitter and more, will post visual assets, messaging and links directing fans to “Take the Pledge” and support “It’s On Us.” EA brands and franchises including EA and EA SPORTS, Dragon Age, The Sims, and many more will reach a fan base of millions today with the message of “It’s On Us.”
- PVBLIC: PVBLIC Foundation, an in-kind grant making organization that harnesses the power of media assets to drive social impact, aggregated pledges of donated advertising space from leading media companies in support of “It's On Us”. As strategic media outreach partner for the campaign, PVBLIC secured over 1 new billion media impressions nationwide through key partnerships including Lamar, Screenvision, Zoom Media, Verifone and Conversant. PVBLIC has delivered advertising across the country and on nearly 700 college and university campuses in the form of bus shelters, billboards, magazines, taxi screens, movie theater ads, online advertising and more.
- Mekanism: Working closely with “It’s On Us” stakeholders and partners, Mekanism, an advertising agency that specializes in reaching millennials, developed the “It’s On Us” campaign’s concept, creative, and design. Mekanism focused on developing a campaign that would enable the audience to immediately get involved and participate. They worked with The Mill and Park Pictures on the campaigns PSA’s, and with 14Four to develop the website.
- AAUW: The American Association of University Women has been leading the fight for education and equity for women and girls since 1881. AAUW advocates for stronger policies, funds campus-based projects, conducts groundbreaking research, supports legal action, sponsors fellowships, and trains the next generation of leaders--on campus and off. Building on current organizing efforts around campus sexual assault, AAUW will work with it's over 900 college/university partners to spread the word about “It's On Us”. Coordinating AAUW branches and student chapters on the ground, AAUW will harness the energy of the movement in their work towards successful implementation of the Campus SaVE Act (2013).
- Viacom: Viacom will promote and amplify the message of the “It's On Us” campaign through a variety of their online properties including MTV,VH1, BET and CMT. They will be changing its avatars on its Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and other social media channels to the “It's On Us” badge, as well as promoting the PSA through those channels. MTV will be using their Look Different brand to engage with their audiences on this campaign through a variety of online and on-air platforms. Additionally, CMT will be playing a large role in ongoing efforts by featuring stories about the campaign on their homepage, as the lead story in their November CMT One Country Newsletter, and on their social media platforms.
- Participant Media: Participant Media is providing on-air and online support for ‘It’s On Us’ campaign. Pivot, Participant’s TV network targeting Millennials, is airing PSA’s daily through the end of the campaign, and as a featured topic on its nightly news show, TakePart Live. Additionally, TakePart.com will promote the campaign with editorial content, social media, and email to illuminate the issue and connect its millions of readers with the opportunity to pledge support through its Take Action Platform.
“It’s On Us” partners include, American Association of University Women, Athletic Coast Conference, Atlantic 10, Big Ten, Big Twelve, Clear Channel – iHeart Radio, College Humor, Conversant Media, Electronic Arts, Everfi, Generation Progress, Mekanism, Men Can Stop Rape, Participant Media, Microsoft – Bing, NCAA, National Campus Leadership Council, Newsweek, National Women’s Law Center, On Campus Media, Only With Consent, Our Time, Pac 12, Park Pictures, PVBLIC, RAINN, SB Nation, The Mill, Tumblr, Ultraviolet, USA Characters Unite, United States Olympic Committee, Verifone Media and Viacom, which includes VH1, MTV, BET, CMT, and Spike.
If you or someone you know is in need of support, you can call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-4673, visit here to chat live.