The “It’s On Us” Campaign Launches new PSA, Marks One-Year Since Launch of “It’s On Us” Campaign to End Campus Sexual Assault
Today the “It’s On Us” campaign released a new Public Service Announcement (PSA) that includes cameos from “It’s On Us” supporters and artists such as Zoe Saldana, John Cho, and Josh Hutcherson. This PSA, which is titled “The One Thing,” focuses on the importance of consent when engaging in sexual activity. The campaign is also announcing new “It’s On Us” partners including The Ad Council, Kering Foundation, Straight But Not Narrow, and Chegg. Starting today, the Ad Council will distribute the PSA to its network of more than 20,000 media outlets nationwide. The ads will air and run in time and space donated to the “It’s On Us” campaign by media entities around the country, as well as current “It’s On Us” partners, including several of the major college sports conferences. The “It’s On Us” campaign is also working with the PVBLIC foundation to distribute the PSA.
”The One Thing” marks the third PSA released by “It’s On Us” and comes just a few weeks before the one-year anniversary of the launch of “It’s On Us,” created to increase education and awareness around preventing sexual violence on college and university campuses.
On Wednesday, September 2, Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor to the President, will deliver opening remarks at the National Sexual Assault Conference in Los Angeles, where she will highlight the PSA and progress made by the White House to combat sexual assault.
President Obama and Vice President Biden have made it a national priority to root out sexual violence and domestic violence wherever they exist. Soon after taking office, the President created the White House Council on Women and Girls and named the first-ever White House Advisor on Violence Against Women. Over the last six years, the President and Vice President have led the way in tackling the problem everywhere, from college and university campuses to the military to tribal lands and beyond.
Highlights of the first year of the “It’s On Us” Campaign
- On September 19, 2014, President Obama and Vice President Biden unveiled “It’s On Us,” in partnership with Generation Progress at the Center for American Progress. “It’s On Us” recognizes that the solution to sexual assault begins with all of us. It seeks to reframe the conversation surrounding sexual assault in a way that inspires everyone to see it as his or her responsibility to do something, big or small, to prevent it.
- In the last year alone, students have launched “It’s On Us”campaigns at over 300 schools and have hosted more than 650 “It’s On Us” events.
- Since the launch of “It’s On Us” last September, almost 220,000 people have taken the pledge to end sexual assault on college campuses; “It’s On Us” PSAs have had over 10 million views online and campaign has generated over 3 billion media impressions.
- “It’s On Us” now has over 90 partners including media, sports leagues and conferences, sexual assault prevention organizations, non-profit organizations, and corporations. View the full list of partners here: www.itsonus.org/#partners
Key Highlights of the Administration’s Record Fighting Sexual Violence
- In 2009, President Obama signed an Executive Order creating the White House Council on Women and Girls. In his remarks at the signing, the President underscored that the purpose of the Council is “to ensure that each of the agencies in which they’re charged takes into account the needs of women and girls in the policies they draft, the programs they create, the legislation they support” and that the true purpose of our government is “to ensure that in America, all things are still possible for all people.” The Council has developed work streams focused on how women’s lives are changing in five critical areas: Families and Income; Education; Employment; Health; and Crime and Violence.
- In 2009, the Vice President appointed the first ever White House Advisor on Violence Against Women to advise the White House on issues of domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, and stalking. The Advisor serves as a liaison to the advocacy community and promotes collaboration across federal agencies. This first-of-its kind inter-agency approach to reducing violence against women has resulted in an unprecedented level of coordination among federal agencies and advancements in efforts to prevent and improve responses to violence against women and girls of all ages. Additionally, the President appointed the United States’ first-ever Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues at the beginning of his Administration.
- In March 2010, the President signed the Affordable Care Act, which provides individuals who have experienced domestic, sexual, and dating violence with the economic security of affordable health insurance. Because of the law, most health plans must now cover preventive services, including screening and counseling for domestic or intimate partner violence, at no cost to the consumer. And insurers can no longer deny health coverage or charge a higher premium because a woman is a domestic violence survivor.
- In 2010, the Office of the Vice President and the White House Council on Women and Girls held the first-ever White House roundtable on sexual assault. This gathering of researchers, legal experts, and advocates led to a greater focus on sexual assault within VAWA grant programs.
- In October 2010, President Obama and Vice President Biden announced 15 new action steps across the federal government to reduce domestic violence and sexual assault, covering everything from housing to Head Start to financial literacy, protection orders and rape kit testing. This was the first time any Administration had asked each Cabinet member to do something to end violence against women.
- In 2010, the Office of Victims of Crime (OVC) began a partnership with the FBI Office for Victim Assistance and the Indian Health Service (IHS) to enhance the response to victims of sexual violence in Indian Country. The AI/AN Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner-Sexual Assault Response Team (SANE-SART) Initiative continues to address the acute needs of tribal victims of sexual violence through focused efforts to build the capacity of tribal communities to provide coordinated, community-based, victim-centered responses.
- In April 2011, Vice President Biden and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan released new guidance to help schools, colleges, and universities respond to sexual assault on campus. The new guidance makes clear the legal obligations under Title IX for schools receiving federal funds to respond promptly and effectively to sexual violence, and provides examples of remedies and enforcement strategies that schools and the Office for Civil Rights may use to respond to sexual violence.
- In September 2011, the Vice President released a video on twitter and YouTube asking students how to make colleges campuses safer. The overwhelming response was “get men involved.” As a result, 11 regional forums were held around the country focusing on getting men involved in ending violence against women. The Departments of Education, Health and Human Services and Housing and Urban Development collaborated with local communities to host these events.
- In 2012, the President issued an Executive Order on Preventing and Responding to Violence Against Women and Girls Globallyto enhance the Administration’s efforts to advance the rights of women and girls and to promote gender equality in U.S. foreign policy. The Order created an interagency working group and directed departments and agencies to implement the new United States Strategy to Prevent and Respond to Gender-based Violence Globally.
- In January 2012, the Justice Department modernized the FBI’s definition of rape in the Uniform Crime Reporting Program (UCR) used to collect our nation’s crime statistics. The revised definition covers oral and anal penetration, alcohol/drug facilitated rapes, and rapes of men. Advocates had been working to obtain this change for more than a decade.
- In March 2012, the President ordered the establishment of a federal working group on the intersection between HIV/AIDS and violence against women. Lead by the Office of the Vice President and the Office of National AIDS Policy, the group released a 56-point action plan in August of 2013.
- In April 2012, the President signed a Presidential Memorandum Establishing Policies for Addressing Domestic Violence in the Federal Workplace, which requires federal agencies to develop policies to address the effects of domestic violence and provide assistance to employees experiencing domestic violence. In February 2013, pursuant to this Presidential Memorandum, the Office of Personnel Management released Guidance for Agency-Specific Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault, and StalkingPolicies.
- In March 2013, President Obama signed the third reauthorization of VAWA, enacting new provisions to improve protections for Native American women and LGBT victims, and strengthening protections for immigrant survivors and college and university students. The legislation also placed a strong emphasis on sexual assault in federal grants to the states. It enhanced statutory protections for victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking and expanded the types of HUD housing programs that offer these protections. VAWA 2013 integrated homicide reduction training into VAWA programs, and included reauthorization of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA). The Administration’s 2015 budget invested more than $430 million in VAWA programs, and the Administration’s 2016 budget requests an unprecedented $473.5 million for VAWA programs.
- The Administration has also adopted a series of Executive Actions to address sexual assault in the military, including measures to improve command accountability, expand victims’ rights within the military justice system, increase training across the ranks, and provide new support for victims. The Department of Defense Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Strategic Plan (May 2013) focuses on sexual assault prevention, response, and the administration of military justice. In July 2015, the Department of Defense updated instruction 6495.02, “Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Program Procedure,” to incorporate legislative changes, external recommendations, and the Department’s policy initiatives. The Department has added a National Protocol for Sexual Assault Medical Forensic Examinations to its SAPR Policy Toolkit, and expanded guidance for victim assistance.
- In 2013, the Department of Justice obtained comprehensive resolution agreements with the University of Montana-Missoula (UM), UM’s Office of Public Safety, and the Missoula Police Department to address sexual assault in the UM and Missoula community; both police agreements have successfully concluded.
- The Departments of Justice, Health and Human Services, and Homeland Security co-chaired the development of the Federal Strategic Acton Plan on Services for Victims of Human Trafficking in the United States 2013-2017, released in January 2014. The Plan outlines more than 250 action items for victim service improvements, including trauma-informed and gender-responsive actions to strengthen coordination, collaboration, and capacity-building across 17 Federal agencies.
- In January 2014, the Office of the Vice President and the White House Council on Women and Girls released Rape and Sexual Assault: A Renewed Call to Action, which analyzes data about rape and sexual assault, identifies those most at risk of victimization, examines the cost of the violence, describes the response of the criminal justice system, and identifies areas for further action.
- Additionally, in January 2014, President Obama and Vice President Biden created the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault, to be co-chaired by the Vice President’s office and the White House Council on Women and Girls. After 27 listening sessions with stakeholders across the country, the Task Force released its first report – Not Alone – with new recommendations for schools to prevent and respond to sexual assault and new steps by federal agencies to improve enforcement of federal laws. The work of the Task Force is ongoing.
- On April 29, 2014, the Administration released a new PSA on sexual assault featuring the President, Vice President, and celebrity actors. The message of the PSA was simple: if she doesn’t consent- or if she can’t consent- it’s a crime. And if you see it happening, help her, don’t blame her, speak up. On that same day, the Administration released the first report of theWhite House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault. Highlights include urging schools to conduct climate surveys; recommending schools have confidential advocates to support victims and provide information about reporting; providing schools with best practices for preventing sexual assault; and developing training for school officials and campus health centers.
- In 2014, CDC issued Preventing Sexual Violence on College Campuses: Lessons from Research and Practice, as part of the Not Alone report to share information on what works to prevent sexual violence, as well as successes and challenges in implementing primary prevention efforts for this population.
- In September 2014, the Vice President commemorated the 20th anniversary of the Violence against Women Act at the National Archives, where he issued a report entitled 1 is 2 Many: Twenty Years Fighting Violence Against Women and Girls. He also called for a return to the original civil rights remedy in the Violence against Women Act, struck down by the Supreme Court.
- On September 29, 2014, President Obama signed the Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act into law, which includes provisions to strengthen the child welfare system’s response to sex trafficking by requiring states to develop policies and procedures to identify, document, and determine appropriate services for sex trafficking victims and those at-risk for becoming sex trafficking victims.
- In 2015, CDC, in collaborating with the Justice Department’s Office on Violence Against Women and the Department of Education, convened prevention experts, researchers, and campus leaders at a CDC Think Tank meeting to develop guidance that will help campuses enhance prevention strategies. As a follow up to this meeting, CDC brought together pilot teams of state, community, and campus partners to develop prevention focused action plans for their home states.
- In March 2015, the Vice President, along with Senator Barbara Mikulski from Maryland, announced $41 million in new fundingto help communities accelerate testing of the estimated hundreds of thousands of sexual assault kits that have been backlogged in law enforcement storage rooms and crime labs across the country. The Administration’s proposed 2016 budget includes $45 million to address the sexual assault kit backlog
- The Elder Justice Coordinating Council, directed by the Office of the Secretary of Health and Human Services, has been expanding its efforts to address elder abuse and during the White House Conference on Aging in 2015, the topic of Elder Justice was placed on the agenda for the first time. Additionally, the White House Council on Women and Girls and the Office of the Vice President’s Advisor on Violence against Women convened roundtable discussions with stakeholders to explore how service providers can enhance efforts to support older victims of sexual and domestic violence.
- In July 2015, the Department of Education’s final regulations implementing the Violence Against Women Act went into effect, requiring institutions of higher education to collect and report information regarding incidents of sexual assault (as well as incidents of dating violence, domestic violence, an stalking) and describe their processes for fair disciplinary proceedings, possible sanctions that the institution may impose, and the range of protective measures offered to victims. Additionally, it alsorequires institutions to provide ongoing prevention and awareness campaigns for students and employees.
- In 2015 the Department of Education (DOE) issued a comprehensive Title IX Resource Guide, including detailed information for Title IX coordinators. In addition, the Office for Civil Rights at the DOE (OCR) has offered technical assistance on more than 120 occasions to recipients, stakeholders, parents and students.
- OCR and the Department of Justice continue their enforcement efforts on sexual assault. OCR is currently investigating more than 130 institutions of higher education, and has reached 7 resolution agreements with institutions.
- The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Children and Families established the HHS Office on Trafficking in Persons on June 10, 2015 to develop anti-trafficking strategies, policies, and programs to prevent human trafficking, build health and human service capacity to respond to human trafficking, increase victim identification and access to services, and strengthen health and well-being outcomes of survivors of human trafficking.
Selected Grant Programs
- Through the Violence Against Women Act, over $400 million of funding is provided each year through more than 20 different national grant programs, which are administered by the Department of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women, to reduce domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, and stalking. Most of these programs are focused on addressing those four crimes. The following are some of the grant programs that specifically focus on sexual assault:
- The Sexual Assault Services Formula Grant Programprovides federal funding focused on assisting victims of sexual assault. The grant provides resources for states and territories to help support rape crisis centers, and other nonprofit, and nongovernmental programs that provide services for sexual assault survivors.
- The State and Territorial Sexual Assault Coalitions Program provides grants to the sexual assault coalition in each state and territory. Statewide sexual assault coalitions provide direct support to member rape crisis centers through funding, training and technical assistance, public awareness activities, and public policy advocacy.
- Grants to Tribal Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Coalitions Program: Assists in the development and operation of nonprofit, nongovernmental tribal domestic violence and sexual assault coalitions. Tribal organizations provide support, education, and technical assistance to member Indian service providers and Tribes to improve their response to victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking.
- The Family Violence Prevention and Services Program in the Administration for Children and Families of the Department of Health and Human Services administers the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act (FVPSA). FVPSA is the primary federal funding stream dedicated to the support of emergency shelter and related assistance for victims of domestic violence and their children. FVPSA formula grants provide support for States, Territories and Tribes, and State domestic violence coalitions. In addition, FVPSA supports the National Domestic Violence Hotline, and a network of national, special-issue and culturally-specific resource centers, such as the Institute on Domestic Violence in the African American Community, the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center, the Asian and Pacific Islander Institute on Gender-Based Violence, and the National Latin@ Network, to advance effective, culturally specific remedies for domestic violence.
- In FY 2012, the DOJ Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) funded theWraparound Victim Legal Assistance Network Demonstration Project to develop holistic models for wraparound legal assistance networks that offer – at no charge – the wide range of legal assistance that victims need in the wake of their victimization. Legal services include civil legal assistance, representation in the enforcement of victims’ rights in criminal proceedings and immigration assistance for victims of human trafficking and battered immigrant women. OVC selected six demonstration sites to develop models that can be replicated by other jurisdictions in the future and a comprehensive, independent evaluation is being conducted through the DOJ National Institute of Justice.
- The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’sContinuum of Care (CoC) program provides funding for efforts by nonprofit providers, and State and local governments to quickly rehouse homeless individuals and families while minimizing the trauma and dislocation caused to homeless individuals, families, and communities by homelessness. 5Under the FY 2015 CoC Program Competition, HUD will allow CoCs to reallocate funds towards new projects that can rapidly re-house survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking who have become homeless.
- In August 2015, the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Office of HIV/AIDS Housing, in collaboration with the Justice Department’s Office on Violence Against Women, announced a new $9 million VAWA/HOPWA (Housing Opportunities for People With AIDS) Demonstration Project. Selected applicants will provide housing assistance and supportive services to low-income persons living with HIV/AIDS who are homeless, or in need of transitional housing or other housing assistance, as a result of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking; and for whom emergency shelter services or other crisis intervention services are unavailable or insufficient.