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1 is 2 Many: The White House Teams Up to Fight Sexual Assault

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UC Irvine chapter.

Last week, the Obama administration officially launched a new campaign (1 is 2 Many) to combat sexual violence across U.S. college campuses, starting with the release of a sexual assault PSA introduced by Vice President Joe Biden in Washington. Notable big-name celebritiesDaniel Craig, Benicio Del Toro, Dulé Hill, Seth Meyers, and Steve Carellteamed up with Biden and even President Obama in the video to send the message, “If she doesn’t consent or if she can’t consent, it’s rapeit’s assaultit’s a crimeit’s wrong.” 

The PSA was released through the White House’s official YouTube channel after the “White House Task Force to Protect Students From Sexual Assault” had its first official report as part of the Obama administration’s commitment to end sexual violence in the U.S. The PSA is a rousing call to action to fight against sexual assault and to offer help to sexual assault victims and survivors. The PSA discourages victim-blaming, which is incredibly important as today’s rape culture constantly places blame on victims (i.e. they were “asking for it” because of the way they dressed, they “should have known better” and so forth). However, this sends the wrong message as people should not be taught how to not get raped but rather taught to not rape in the first place. As Craig says, “If I saw it happening, I’d never blame herI’d help her.”

The video also encourages bystander intervention and emphasizes the importance of consent. Men are encouraged by the PSA to be part of the solution, reminding them that consent is a solid, crystal-clear “yes” that can be revoked at any time. The PSA also calls men to start being more deeply engaged with these issues as sexual assault is something that happens to their “sisters, daughters, wives, friends.” They have the power to help stop sexual assault from happening.

However, in the PSA’s attempt to “engage men as allies in this cause” as the White House report states, the PSA empowers men to be part of the solution yet ignores that men (as well as those of different sexualities and gender identities) are also victims of sexual assault. Women are more frequently subject to sexual violence than men and comprise a larger number of sexual assault survivors. However, men are also important victims. Although the 1 is 2 Many website reminds people to “support all survivors regardless of their gender or identity”, the next PSA the campaign releases should be more careful in focusing on all victims as their statement says. 

Overall, the Obama administration’s decision to combat sexual violence across the country is a significant step in the right direction. Sexual violence is so prevalent in society that we have alarming statistics such as – 1 in 5 young women will be a victim of sexual assault while in college. This is an issue that should not be ignored, and to see it addressed at the federal level is an incredible step for American society. As Craig simply, yet powerfully says, “Because even one is too many.” 


Check out the 1 is 2 Many 60-second PSA on sexual assault here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xLdElcv5qqc 

Check out the 1 is 2 Many campaign and their resources on sexual assault here: http://www.whitehouse.gov/1is2many

Charlie Nguyen is a Literary Journalism major with a double minor in Gender & Sexuality Studies and Film & Media Studies at University of California, Irvine. She is a writer and co-marketing director for Her Campus, Academics and Administration editor for UCI Anthology (Yearbook), club chair for UCI Student Alumni Association and a student assistant for the Humanities Instructional Resource Center. Born and raised in Pasadena, California (shout out to "The Big Bang Theory"), she grew up with a passion for film, television, literature, music, and fashion. In her free time, you can find her marathoning shows on Netflix, crafting DIY projects and enjoying good food and good company.