White House Releases New Bystander-Focused Anti-Rape PSA

"This isn't a PSA about a sexual assault," Jon Hamms voice intones in the White House's latest PSA for their It's On Us Campaign, which aims to prevent sexual assault. "It's about being the guy who stops it."


While the first PSAs for the campaign were star-studded, this one (despite the inclusion of Hamm's voice) takes place at a party, a more universal experience than being told by a celebrity to care about something. The ad, according to BuzzFeed, will be played "in heavy rotation during college sports, before movies in theaters owned by Mark Cuban, on Xbox gaming consoles, and across social media." It's timed to next week's National Week of Action organized by the Obama administration, in which officials will visit college campuses to talk about sexual assault.

"We think by making this a responsibility of the entire community, it would take a little of that responsibility off of the woman and it would ensure a change in culture," Obama's senior advisor Valerie Jarrett said. "There are limits to what you can do with rules and regulations and laws. The only way you're really going to change behavior is to change a culture of what's acceptable behavior and what's not acceptable."

"It's becoming a part of the conversation that everyone is having," she added. "I have several friends who have either juniors or seniors in high school. Every parent is asking the question, 'What is the attitude of the college or university you're considering toward sexual assault?' When my daughter went to college 10 years ago, it never occurred to me to ask that question."



I'm GLAD that parents are asking these questions now about colleges because they weren't when I was in school about 10 years ago and I find my own students (undergrads, mostly freshman) woefully unaware of the excellent support services available on campus. Faculty are so confused, too. We will soon have to do some sort of Title IX training but an administrator who was supposedly consulted during the review post-long-expose and media coverage about how poorly we were failing said "It's a joke" to me about it over drinks a few weeks ago :(

During my orientation for my undergrad, my university actually DID have a professor from the Gender Studies department tell us flat out that rape happens on college campuses and that it is NEVER OKAY and name the support services available. She was very frank with our parents as well. It apparently made some parents so uncomfortable that over parents lunch, a few of them in our group told my mom, "I can't believe they let someone talk like that." My mom was like, "Why, about rape which happens everywhere all the time? We SHOULD talk about it."

Despite that, my undergrad is now being investigated for Title IX violations.