Zoe Saldana, Haim, Josh Hutcherson and others have come out to front a new campaign video #ItsOnUs, this week, to raise awareness and help combat rape.
President Obama’s office launched the It’s On Us campaign last September, and since 220,000 people have taken the pledge to end sexual assault on campases.
“We’ve encouraged every college campus to come up with their own campaigns,” says Valerie Jarrett, a senior adviser to President Barack Obama.” As they’re coming onto college campuses, we want to use that to highlight awareness of this issue,” Jarrett said.
The celebrity-packed It’s On Us initiative reminds students about consent as they head back to school this month. With powerful words to highlight “there’s one thing you can never have sex without. It’s not something you buy, or something you take, in fact there’s only one way you get it. It has to be given to you, freely.It’s consent. Because sex without it, isn’t sex. It’s rape. Consent – if you don’t get it, you don’t get it.”
This video seems more important then ever to highlight this serious issue. As the UK government has just ordered an inquiry into a sexist ‘lad culture’ in British universities where one in seven women claim to have been seriously sexually assaulted. British universities – unlike in America – do not publish the levels of crime against students because, as some critics have claimed, they fear any evidence of sexual harrasment would damage their reputation. A survey by the National Union of Students found that almost two-thirds of women undergraduates or graduates said that while at university they had been assaulted either verbally or non-verbally, including groping or flashing. “These kind of things are completely unacceptable,” says business secretary Sajid Javid.
So it was shocking to hear rocker Chrissie Hynde, 63, last weekend speak to the Sunday Times Magazine about rape and the responsibilty of women in certain situations. “If you don’t want to entice a rapist, don’t wear high heels so you can’t run from him, ” she said. “If I’m walking around in my underwear and I’m drunk? Who else’s fault can it be?”
“This persistent belief that men are naturally inclined towards rape and that women have to dress or act or behave accordingly . . . is one that prevents so many assaults from being reported or prosecuted every year,” says The Vagenda founder Holly Baxter.
Like Zoe Saldana says: “There’s one thing you can’t have sex without – consent.” This is what we should be fighting for.
For more information about the #It’sOnUs campaign head to itsonus.org
By Emma Firth