In response to the White House task force’s recommendations on preventing sexual assault on college campuses, they released a PSA video yesterday correlating with the “1 is 2 Many” campaign (first implemented in 2012). The video features big-name stars such as Steve Carell, Seth Meyers, Daniel Craig, and even the President himself, and emphasizes the role men have in preventing sexual assault.
1 is 2 Many
While the language around rape culture has historically been focused on what women should do to protect themselves, this video emphasizes a man’s role in preventing sexual violence and protecting potential victims. The video states that women should not be blamed for sexual assault—men must interfere with sexual violence when they see it.
The task force made sure the message in the PSA is very clear: “If she doesn’t consent—or cannot consent—it’s a crime. And if you see it happening, help her, don’t blame her, speak up.” Obama affirms, “It’s up to all of us to put an end to sexual assault and that starts with you.”
The Beginnings of Change
Unfortunately, the campaign hardly touches on the male victims of sexual assault. While the campaign’s website states, “While men comprise a smaller number of survivors, male survivors are no less important,” the PSA makes the assumption that all victims are women and all “saviors” are men. In my opinion, this aspect of the PSA will backfire.
But most importantly, as I stated yesterday in my blog post, the government should be applauded for its efforts around preventing sexual assault and violence. Survivors of sexual assault first started the conversation, and it has now reached the most powerful branches of the United States Government. We can only hope, starting right away, that the cases of sexual assault on college campuses and beyond will diminish.