Rape

Only YOU Can Prevent College Sexual Assaults, Say Obama and Biden

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More "campus rape crisis" weirdness came from the White House today, where President Obama and Vice President Biden announced the launch of a new initiative called "It's on Us". The campaign will feature celebrity-studded public service announcements aired during college sporting events and promotions from the likes of MTV, BET, and video-game company Electronic Arts. 

In explaining the initiative on the White House blog, Jeffrey Zients—Obama's economic adviser (because nothing about this makes any sense)—wrote that "It's on Us" is "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.

Reading Zients' post, I was reminded of author and professor Joel Best speaking on the hallmarks of how media hype (and the attendent bogus statistics) get promulgated: First there is a high-profile tragic event, then the need to define the event as part of an identifiable Problem ("the heroin epidemic"), and then a desire to quantify the problem so as to place it in a larger context. I put "campus rape crisis" in quotes not to diminish the seriousness of sexual assault but because I think the phrase is a prime example of the phenomenon Best describes. Rape is a problem wherever it happens, which is sometimes on campus and more frequently not. The "campus rape crisis" is a thing perpetuated by people interested in profiting from the fear in various ways.

When you make up a problem—and again, let's be clear that I'm not saying rape, the underreporting of rape, or the way campuses handle rape is a made-up problem, but rather the idea that college campuses are some sort of rape epicenter—it is much easier to get credit for solving that problem. The White House doesn't actually have to impact rape rates or rape prosecution rates or anything tangible, because that's not how it has defined the problem. Its central concern is raising awareness about rape on college campus, a goal both amorphous and measurable in Facebook likes.

Screenshot/It's on Us PSA

What's "on us," according to the newly-launched campaign website, is the imperative "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," and "to create an environment in which sexual assault is unacceptable and survivors are supported." If you agree with these vague statements, you can take The Pledge: "a personal commitment to help keep women and men safe from sexual assault" and "a promise not to be a bystander to the problem, but to be a part of the solution." I took the pledge and received the following message:

Thank you for your commitment to stopping sexual assault. Turn your profile photo into an It's On Us badge to show your pledged commitment to helping stop sexual assault.

The It's on Us site also offers sexual-assault prevention tips, which range from the banal ("keep an eye on someone who has had too much to drink") to the oddly aggressive. "If you see something, intervene in any way you can," says one. "Get in the way by creating a distraction, drawing attention to the situation, or separating them," says another. The focus on "bystander intervention" comes across as unsettling—less an insistence that friends help friends avoid creeps than a world where one's to be on the lookout always for ways to stop strangers from serving each other drinks. 

It's not a terrible campaign, all around. Some of the tips are sensible. And a sexual-assault prevention initiative aimed equally at men and women that explicitly eschews victim-blaming and highlights the importance of consent is actually pretty radical. If this were a campaign run by MTV or a private foundation or a network of college campus-groups, I might be more applauding of their efforts. But I reject that this is a job for the president and vice president. 

And I reject the larger premise of the It's on Us campaign: that all social problems require federal government action, and that college sexual assaults in particular are an area in need of "bystander intervention" from Uncle Sam. Zients says "this new initiative will help move (the Administration's) work forward by creating a new energy and awareness around these issues on campuses across America." I'm convinced this campaign is designed to advance the White House's goals, just not in the way Zients suggests. 

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  1. I didn’t go to college and I’ve never been raped. Correlation or causation?

    For the love of God, keep your daughters away from universities!

  2. What’s the administration going to do this election season – run on its record? Ha!

    No, they need a COEDS IN PERIL! campaign.

  3. They are desperate for the young college women to turn out in November.

  4. I did all my rapin’ off campus.

  5. Anything to distract from the scandals.

    1. If she’s against rape, I’m for it. Bitch is cray-cray.

  6. Urge to rape… falling. It’s working!

    Good snark, ENB. It’s on me? And Jon Hamm? What are we supposed to be doing, running around town, looking for rapists to shame?

    1. The only thing John Hamm puts to shame is the size my schlong.

    2. And did you take the screenshots, or were they part of a press package? Because holy shit does Obama look tired and disinterested in that still.

  7. Amen, preach:

    When you make up a problem?and again, let’s be clear that I’m not saying rape, the underreporting of rape, or the way campuses handle rape is a made-up problem, but rather the idea that college campuses are some sort of rape epicenter?it is much easier to get credit for solving that problem. The White House doesn’t actually have to impact rape rates or rape prosecution rates or anything tangible, because that’s not how it has defined the problem. It’s central concern is raising awareness about rape on college campus, a goal both amorphous and measurable in Facebook likes.

    Kind of like what is going on with the NFL, we need to solve a problem that isn’t even as close to as large as everyone is lead to believe. 538 from July on this.

  8. “OK, men, welcome to the advanced class in How Not To Rape. Today we show an educational video about what happens if you gang-rape a beautiful but vengeful young woman. OK, Stan, roll *She Spits on Your Grave.*”

  9. I didn’t consent to Barry or Uncle Joe and yet I feel like they bad touch me all the time. I can almost feel their hands in my pockets now, trying to pull my money out…

  10. Smokey the Prude.

    1. “Only you,… can prevent Rapesquatch attacks”

  11. The consistent focus on this by the administration is very weird. As others have speculated, it is probably some kind of “war on women”/get out the vote scheme, but man, if that’s the case, what an insanely weak and unfocused attempt. I guess it once again comes down to seeing this administration be insanely incompetent in everything it tries to do, all appearance over any substance whatsoever.

    1. I guess it once again comes down to seeing this administration be insanely incompetent in everything it tries to do, all appearance over any substance whatsoever.

      It’s not just this administration, it’s government in general. And on those rare times it appears competent, it is extremely wasteful.

      1. Said the minarchist to the anarchist.

        1. Government sucks, even in a minarchy. Which, of course, we don’t have.

        2. I’m a minarchist only because I accept the reality that men will form gangs that will use organized violence for the purpose of plunder, eventually resulting in an organization with the last word in violence that levies taxes over some geographical area. Human nature is a bitch.

          1. Yup, pretty much why I’m a minarchist.

            That and the fact that the solutions (at least the ones that make sense) proffered by “anarchists” to problems like defense and administration of justice start looking exactly like government when taken to their logical conclusion.

    2. It would be entertaining to watch all of these fake crises come and go if we weren’t actually living in the society that spends virtually all of its time on ghafla rather than on important stuff, like spice production.

  12. Well, I suppose this could end up lowering even more the birthrate of children born of college graduates. Is this the intended effect?

  13. Don Draper is such a hypocrite.

    1. Pretty much, he has sex with everyone around town and wants to lecture me? the audacity.

    2. That dude could really cause some damage with his Hammaconda.

  14. “When you make up a problem?and again, let’s be clear that I’m not saying rape, the underreporting of rape, or the way campuses handle rape is a made-up problem, but rather…”

    You poor dear, do you actually think your opponents will read that line or pay it any heed when the demonize you?

  15. These saucy coeds are in need of help:

    http://www.transfers.ucla.edu/Non-Traditional.htm

    1. Try not to read the address before you click, it ruins the joke. Thank you.

      1. They’re over 25, and therefore unrapeable.

    2. That’s funny. My wife went to see Skrillex in concert, and she’s past the four-oh. Said it was the best concert she’s ever been to, though in fairness I don’t think she’s been to a lot of shows.

        1. Mozart won, hands down.

      1. Shit, then how am I supposed to remove this skrill?

  16. I was gonna say that sexual assaults are probably much lower on campuses that allow the carrying of firearms. And the only institution I could think of that may possibly allow on-campus firearms was Liberty University. But I was wrong. They used to have a total ban on firearms, but now they allow CCW permit holders to keep their weapons locked in their cars while on campus.

    I’m kind of gobsmacked that even a place like Liberty doesn’t allow weapons to be carried to class and around campus. Fuckin-a.

    1. It’s probably a federal law.

      1. In Virginia, individual schools are allowed to institute their own weapons policy, per this (gun-grabber) site.

      2. Apparently you can open carry on campus in Virginia, just not inside buildings. Which kind of defeats the purpose.

        I’m not willing to test this by strolling around UVA with Judy on my hip, though.

        1. You named your gun Judy? I call mine Veronica so It sounds powerful and sexy.

          1. You named your gun Judy?

            Yes, because it’s a Taurus .410/.45 (see what I did there?)

            1. Mine’s named Wapner.

            2. Nice. I got one of those for my wife because she wanted a gun, but couldn’t learn to shoot at the time because she was pregnant. The weekend after I got it me and my brother took it out a couple of hundred yards from the house to shoot. When we got back she had this pissed off look on her face and said the noise was scaring the kids in the front yard and she wouldn’t shoot it. Damn fun to shoot though.

          2. I never thought to name mine. It’s an old Model 10 with mismatched serial numbers. I guess Barney would be a good name.

        2. Not unless you want to spend the night in jail for Disorderly Conduct, and never see your piece again.

          1. Given that it’s a Judge, that may not be a bad thing…

  17. Oooh, a pledge! This will be laughed off in the same way that the DARE program was laughed at during the eighties. And then the college students doing the laughing will go on to underwrite some hokey social improvement campaign in 20 years.

  18. Eh, I am too busy preventing forest fires.

  19. Turn your profile photo into an It’s On Us badge to show your pledged commitment to helping stop sexual assault.

    Sounds like a good way for me to recognize easily influenced dopes on social media. Thanks Obama!

  20. my classmate’s sister-in-law makes $84 an hour on the internet . She has been out of a job for nine months but last month her payment was $20033 just working on the internet for a few hours. navigate to this site ….

    ???????? http://www.jobsaa.com

  21. a sexual-assault prevention initiative aimed equally at men and women that explicitly eschews victim blaming and highlights the importance of consent is actually pretty radical.

    Really? I guess my Buy A Gun And Learn To Kick Ass Rape Prevention Society has not been well advertised as I initially thought.

  22. When you make up a problem ? and again, let’s be clear that I’m not saying rape, the underreporting of rape, or the way campuses handle rape is a made-up problem, but rather the idea that college campuses are some sort of rape epicenter?it is much easier to get credit for solving that problem

    You Don’t Say?

    In unrelated news: Obama’s 1 week campaign strategy of ‘plinking’ airstrikes has apparently “Thwarted ISIS’ Advance*”

    (*even though there had been no advance of ISIS since mid August, before any particular ‘strategy’ existed)

    Also! Its amazing how he rescued all those Yazidis from the mountaintop, where there was a *major fucking humanitarian crisis so bad that we used the Genocide Convention to Justify Airstrikes, then Airlift…”… oh, well, I guess the ‘airlift’ part is unecessary = apparently the “100,000 refugees” that had shrunk to “40,000” Yazidis, actually turned out to be “5,000” people, 2000 of whom actually *lived there full time*.

    But hey! MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!!, amirite?

  23. “Turn your profile photo into an It’s On Us badge to show your pledged commitment to helping stop sexual assault”

    Really, “Faux-Activism as Ostentatious Social-Media Fashion Accessory” was SO ‘Kony 2012’

    #MichelleObamaMakesSadFace

  24. Where’s my subsidy to not rape? Can I get that in arrears as well?


  25. Only YOU Can Prevent College Sexual Assaults, Say Obama and Biden

    Fuck off, Obama and Biden. If only I can, then most rape victims are fucked. I did prevent a forest fire once, though.

    1. That was *you*? Meddling fool! That forest *needed* to be burned!

  26. Why are they encouraging the expansion of online education? You can be raped online, but it’s a lot less common than those rape camps called “college”.

  27. This would be the same Joseph Biden who just went to some women’s conference to lament how much he misses Bob Packwood, correct?

    1. You poor fool. Don’t you know t does not count as sexual harassment if the harasser is politically reliable?

  28. only 12 percent of which are reported?

    How the fuck do they know this? Did they ask the magic 8-ball?

    1. They did a study and it said if they had a 20% victim rate, they would be able to get more money, more TV time, etc.

  29. “Get in the way by creating a distraction, drawing attention to the situation, or separating them,…”

    Keep buckets of ice water handy for throwing. One Man Bucket to the rescue!

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