Addressing Sexual Violence in Our Schools

Uploaded by whitehouse on 04.04.2011

Secretary Arne Duncan: Good afternoon, and thank you, President Huddleston,
for hosting this important gathering here today.
Today for the first time ever, an administration is releasing
guidance under Title IX of the education amendments of 1972,
explaining how schools and colleges should deal
with sexual violence.
Sexual violence is one of those issues we all wish didn't exist.
And too often, our society has chosen to ignore it,
rather than confronting it openly and honestly,
and that denial must end.
Every school would like to believe it's immune
from sexual violence.
But the facts suggest otherwise.
According to one widely referenced study,
one in five women is sexually assaulted while in college.
And women are not the only victims.
About 6% of male college students also report being
sexually assaulted.
And the problem is not limited to higher education.
Recent data showed that there were nearly 4,000 reports of
sexual battery and over 800 reported rapes and attempted
rapes in our nation's high schools.
By some estimates, more than one in ten high school girls is
physically forced to have sex in or around a school.
Moreover, these figures are probably low,
because we all know sexual assault is a notoriously
underreported crime.
It carries overtones of shame and insecurity.
Victims are more likely to suffer academically and to
suffer from depression, drug and alcohol abuse.
And tragically, some of them take their own lives.
Police and prosecutors have the job of investigating sexual
assaults and enforcing the laws.
But educational institutions, including K-to-12 schools,
colleges and universities, also share a responsibility under
federal civil rights laws.
Today's guidance, which is being sent to all school districts,
colleges, and universities that receive federal funds,
spells out those responsibilities.
It also provides practical examples of how schools can
meet those responsibilities.
Our guidance discusses proactive efforts schools can take to
prevent sexual violence.
It provides examples of strategies that schools
and our office for civil rights are using to help end sexual
violence and remedy its effects.
Schools must make sure that victims know their rights
and are kept informed during investigations,
some of which can drag on for months or longer,
creating undue stress for the victim.
Schools must give victims the supports they need and protect
them from a suspect who may be freed on bail while charges are
pending or still on campus during a Title IX investigation.
The guidance recommends suggestions for outreach,
campus climate, and training and technical assistance for
school personnel.
We explain the responsibility of schools and university faculty
for assaults that occur off campus.
We explain how schools can use disciplinary procedures
to resolve complaints involving sexual violence.
We explain legal issues around sexual violence and a school's
civil rights responsibilities and how Title IX offers added
protections to sexual violence victims.
When incidents occur, our Office of Civil Rights,
which is being led by Secretary -- Assistant Secretary Russlynn
Ali, Who is doing an extraordinary job,
can help and can receive complaints in any of our
12 regional sites across the country.
Our office can launch proactive investigations and, in fact,
some are currently underway.
Several others have been resolved and they now have
on site monitoring to ensure that schools and colleges keep
their commitments.
As caring adults, as parents and as leaders,
we must deal with the brutal truth.
And the facts around these incidents can be shocking.
More and more incidents where young girls are
subject to gang rape.
Schools where sexual assault victims are publicly humiliated
and ostracized.
Colleges that have allowed the defendant to present witnesses,
but not the victims.
Routinely, we find that victims and their parents are not well
informed, or cases that drag on so long that the alleged
attackers withdraw from school before justice is ever served.
We find cases where the victims are not taken seriously,
because they used alcohol or otherwise broke school rules
leading up to or during the assault.
We've even had cases where colleges impose gag orders on
victims or threaten them with disciplinary charges if they
told anyone about the outcome of an investigation.
The misplaced sense of values and priorities in some of these
cases is staggering.
So there's a great deal of information spelled out in our
guidance, and we have offices all across the country to help
schools and universities address these issues.
We have to do better and we have to do better now.
Our first goal is prevention.
It's so critically important.
Prevention through education.
Information is always the best way to combat sexual violence.
We need to raise awareness about this issue,
because sexual violence has no place in society and especially
not in our nation's schools.
Our larger goal is to help make sure our nation's schools and
colleges are free of any form of physical threat or bullying.
And we also have an office of safe and drug free schools to
support student safety programs.
Between these two offices, we are deeply committed to the
safety and security of every student in America,
because we know that if children and young people aren't safe,
they can't learn.
It's as simple and as fundamental a priority as that.
And we're very, very fortunate to an extraordinary partner,
friend, and leader in these efforts,
the Vice President of the United States.
Vice President Biden has been active on this issue throughout
his long and distinguished career in government.
In the Senate, he authored the Violence Against Women
Act in 1994.
In the White House, he's been a voice of reason,
wisdom and passion on these issues, and on so many others.
No one I know is more committed to protecting our children and
young people and giving them every opportunity to thrive
and to succeed in the classroom and in life.
And I also know how lucky I am to work with and for
the Vice President.
He's been an extraordinary mentor and role model for me
since I came to Washington.
We're going to hear from the Vice President in a moment.
But before we do, I want to introduce Sara Jane Bibeau,
who is a student and advocate and a counselor and a leader
on this issue.
She has made this issue her life's work and it's an honor
to have her join us today at this historic announcement.
Please welcome Sara Jane Bibeau.
Sara Jane Bibeau: Thank you, Secretary Duncan.
I am both honored and privileged to be here today,
speaking about an issue that means so much to me.
It's no surprise that you chose UNH for your announcement,
because we have a dedicated and determined student body,
and an amazing sexual assault prevention program that is so
unique to a college campus.
It's extremely difficult and risky for a victim of sexual
assault to reach out and get help.
But our SHARPP program has a 24-hour crisis line and services
right here on campus to support victims of sexual assault and
provide them and their family and friends with resources to
begin the healing process.
I got involved with SHARPP because I wanted to help
victims rebuild their lives.
I've learned that little things mean so much.
Like a friend saying, I'm here for you, I believe you,
I support you 110%.
I'm amazed by how strong people are and how much
they can overcome.
I'm also amazed at all the ways our campus community
can make a difference.
Like the Know Your Power campaign.
That is simple steps that you can take to help to
prevent sexual assault.
I've decided to dedicate my career to fighting for
justice for victims.
But I cannot do it alone.
Ending rape will take all of us working together.
We need to come together and support every single individual
in order to put a stop to sexual violence.
That's why it's so important to have three powerful individuals
here on stage today saying there's never
any excuse for rape.
Vice President Biden has been advocating to end sexual
violence for a long time.
He has held up the most vulnerable in our society
and he has challenged the most powerful.
By speaking to our community today, he's giving all of us,
our generation, the chance to show the world what we can do.
Please join me in welcoming our Vice President.
The Vice President: Thank you very much. Thank you so much.
Sara, thank you for the job you're doing and for
the significant skill with which you do it.
Mr. President -- I'm accustomed to saying that every morning.
It's good to see you, Mr. President.
I won't expose you and tell you the -- your University of
Delaware connections, but thank you most of all for allowing a
University of Delaware graduate to be on campus here.
I appreciate it very much.
And it's good to be back.
Also, we have with us today, I'm told,
New Hampshire State Representative Timothy Horrigan.
Representative Horrigan, are you here?
Good to see you, man.
And also Jenna Roberts, State Rep Jenna Roberts.
Nice to see you, Jenna.
And also I see a very good friend,
one of my closest -- two of my closest friends up here,
former Chief Justice Broderick, now Dean Broderick.
And the guy sitting next to him is a federal judge who I had the
honor of suggesting should make -- would make a good judge,
and he sure has done that.
Mr. Jus -- Judge, how are you doing, man?
Good to see you.
Folks, it's good to be back here.
There's a great deal of talk, a great deal of subject matter we
can talk about today on any college campus.
From the economy to foreign policy to the unrest in North
Africa to the -- from North Africa to the
subcontinent of India.
There's a great deal on America's plate today.
And any one of the subjects, subsets of subjects I just
raised would be worthy of discussion on a great
university's campus.
But I want to talk to you about something I believe in very,
very strongly, and I'm absolutely convinced we
can make a difference in.
And that is, how to improve the measure of our decency
as a society.
How America is viewed and how we view ourselves.
I'm not talking about those divisive social issues that
divide us based on ideology.
I'm talking about what we state to be a collective
national value.
And that is to fight the abuse of power,
no matter where it comes from.
Fight the abuse of power that forces individuals to submit
to our will merely because we individually or institutionally
are more powerful.
We as Americans have said from the outset that's wrong.
It's simply wrong.
We've said indirectly to the rest of the world,
measure us by how well we abide by that stated value,
for I believe that is the measure of the decency
of a nation.
The decency of a nation is more determined by how we tolerate or
do not tolerate the abuse of women,
the abuse of anyone who finds themselves in a situation where
someone physically is more powerful than they in imposing
on them, merely because they're more powerful.
Lest you think this is just a Biden judgment,
because I've been so passionate about this for so many years,
think about how we judge other nations,
how we measure other nations.
We do it all the time.
Nations and cultures that allow fathers to auction off their
daughter's virginity, as some do.
The stoning of women.
Honor killing.
Forced genital mutilation.
Each of those nations and those cultures that permits such
activities, such behavior, are viewed by the vast majority of
Americans as less civilized, and in some cases barbaric.
Because those practices do exist,
are either condoned or tolerated,
in other parts of the world.
But we say as Americans that respect and dignity for all,
freedom from physical and sexual abuse, we say,
we say that's who we are and that's what we're about.
In truth, it's the ultimate definition of what constitutes
in my view a civilized society.
And that's what I want to talk about today.
How are we measuring up to our own stated standard of decency.
I'm here to talk with you about physical abuse and sexual
assault, and specifically on college campuses,
and what we can and must do about it.
You just heard from Secretary Duncan,
who is literally the star of the Cabinet.
This guy is totally, thoroughly -- I mean this sincerely -- I've
said it from the outset, you heard me say it, John,
this guy is thoroughly, thoroughly authentic.
Everything he does and says is who he is.
And he laid out for you, at least in more definition than
I'm going to now, because I want to speak about something even
broader, the announcement that we're making today and we've
made today, and he made today.
You know, we've come a long way.
We've made a lot of progress in the last 20 years since
the Violence Against Women Act was enacted.
It's the first time as a nation we've publicly acknowledged,
at least at the federal level, that there was this dirty little
secret that existed even in American society.
The domestic abuse of women.
There is no prison as horrible, there is no prison as demeaning,
there is no prison as unacceptable,
as the prison that so many women in this country are held within
the four walls of their own home.
My dad used to say it was the cardinal sin of all sins to
abuse, physically abuse, someone who trusts you,
someone you know, someone who says they love you.
In over a thousand hours of hearings in the Violence Against
Women Act, we also learned the catastrophic consequence it has
for the women who are abused and the families of those who
witness the abuse.
Abuse is a learned behavior.
If you want to do one thing to end violence in America or to
impact on it the most, end abuse against women in our society.
The studies show the only thing that people have in common who
are held behind bars in jail for violent crimes is they can't
read and they witnessed their mother or somebody in their
family being abused or beaten.
It's a learned behavior.
It's totally counterintuitive, but it's a learned behavior.
But what it's all about is an individual's responsibility not
only to not engage in such behavior, but I want to talk to,
a little bit what you mentioned, about the requirement,
the moral obligation, the citizenship required to
expose it when you see it and when you know it's occurring.
Abusing your wife or significant other is not a family matter.
That's the first hurdle we had to overcome back in the '80s
when I started this.
So many groups, some even religious groups,
said this is a private matter, it's a family matter.
I wish we stopped using the word domestic abuse.
It sounds like a domesticated cat.
It is the worst of all abuse, leaving the deepest and most
serious scars.
It is not a family matter.
It is a crime.
It's an abhorrent act.
And the solution, the solution begins when we as a society
acknowledge that and begin to change our
own personal behavior.
In 1984, I was working on the issue as the ranking member of
the criminal laws subcommittee to sound like a wonk.
And I thought, I had been holding hearings on violence
in America, because there was a spike in violence in America
traced in large part to the increased use of cocaine and
crack cocaine.
And I remember receiving a study from the -- material from the
Bureau of Justice Statistics that follows all violent crime
in America.
And I learned that while violent crime against men ages 18 and 30,
which everyone assumed was skyrocketing, it actually went
down during this period.
But violent crime against women 18 to 30 was skyrocketing.
I was startled by those statistics, those facts.
And I began to delve into the subject.
And I discovered that there was this dirty little secret in our
society, that domestic abuse was fairly widespread and vastly,
vastly underreported.
There were a number of reasons.
One was the unequal application of law.
My own beloved State of Delaware,
there was a law on the books that said you could not be
convicted of first degree rape if the woman knew you and had
gone out with you before.
If I leaped out of an alley behind a garbage can and someone
violently raped a woman, that's first degree rape.
If the rape was equally as violent but she had gone out
with the man before, it could not be first degree rape.
And there are many other states with similar,
similar applications, or lack of application, of the law.
It was also considered a family matter.
Literally, some of the toughest mail I got as the author of this
initiative was from people telling me this is a private
matter, how I discipline my wife.
Taking you back to the 14th century in Great Britain.
You all know the origin of the phrase "rule of thumb."
So many women were being beaten to death,
the common law courts of Great Britain,
because they were considered chattels under English common
law, and came up with a common law rule that said you could not
punish your wife with a rod that was thicker than the
circumference of your thumb.
There was another reason why it wasn't being reported.
The overwhelming stigma of reporting such a crime.
Women were not only embarrassed, fearful,
but they often got blamed and they often got,
figuratively speaking, raped in the criminal system once
it went on trial.
Figuratively speaking.
There's also the issue, which is time honored,
and continues in a nation which rightly says you're not guilty
until you are proven -- you are not guilty until proven guilty
beyond a reasonable doubt.
It is that one crime that seldom has witnesses,
and it's he said/she said.
These were all brought home to me, these impediments,
and focused when I was given a study that was published in
Rhode Island in 1988, a respected study.
It was a study of junior high school students throughout the
State of Rhode Island.
An astounding -- there were many,
many eye opening things in the study.
But one of the questions that stuck in my mind as to the
students was if a man spent money on a date with a woman,
was he entitled to force sex on that woman?
An astounding 25% of the young boys said yes.
But even more astounding, more astounding,
was 17% of the junior high school girls agreed
with the statement.
That's when I decided we had to not only make the law more fair
and apply it, but we had to try to begin to change attitudes
about sexual abuse.
And that's when I sat down, without a lot of support
initially, and wrote the Violence Against Women Act.
On June 20th, 1980, I held the first hearing as Chairman of the
Committee on the Violence Against Women Act.
And a young woman, not unlike you, a bright student,
an attractive personality, agreed to come and testify.
Her name was Christine.
And here's what she said.
She said that she attended a small Catholic college named
Saint Francis College outside of Pittsburgh.
It was her freshman year.
It was during student orientation.
She went, as I recall it, to a bonfire celebrating the first
in a fraternity party that the first game was going
to be played.
They don't have a football team, so I think it was a soccer game
that year.
School had actually not officially begun with class.
And she was walking back from this event with her girlfriend's
boyfriend, and it was chilly.
And he asked whether or not he could stop at his dorm while he
got a coat.
She said of course.
She walked in with him.
He pulled her in the room, closed the door,
and forcibly raped her.
Afterwards, the most chilling part of this to me was,
reinforcing what the studies had said,
she said she went back to her room in another dormitory and
she said, I remember she was on the Gehrig floor,
or the fourth floor, third floor, the top floor,
she got undressed and she said, I went and I took
a scalding shower.
I remember her saying that, a scalding shower.
She said she wrapped a towel around her, or her bathrobe,
I don't recall which, and went back to her room and was sitting
on the end of her bed telling some of her floor mates what
had happened.
And the RA came in and asked what happened and sat on the
bed with her.
And the RA said, you've been raped.
She said, under oath, looking at me, I looked at the RA and said,
no, I wasn't, I knew him.
No, I wasn't, I knew him.
This is an intelligent -- she went on to switch universities,
graduated with a degree, was a first rate intelligent student
from a Middle-Class class family.
Later that year we had another young witness -- we had many --
but to make another point that we didn't want to acknowledge in
those studies at college, we had another young woman who came and
testified that exposed another unspoken cultural norm about who
is responsible when such things happen.
Her name you may remember was Marla Henson.
Henson, H-E-N-S-O-N.
It took a lot of courage to come and testify.
She was a model in New York City.
She lived in an apartment complex.
And the owner of the complex kept importuning her to go out with him.
And she kept refusing.
And I guess basically it amounted to harassment,
how often he kept asking her out.
And so, at work, modeling job, she got a call from
her landlord.
It was in New York City, a large high-rise apartment building.
And he said I'd like to meet you in the bar,
that was in the basement of the building,
ground floor of the building, to discuss your rent with you.
So she left work and showed up.
He was there.
And he asked her out again.
She would not go.
And when she was leaving she walked outside,
and two or three, I'm not sure of the number,
I don't remember the number, thugs,
grabbed her and slashed her face with a razor.
Would not go out with the landlord,
she wasn't going to be "attractive" enough to
go out with anyone.
He was convicted.
When I had spoken to her earlier and I knew what she was going to
testify to, I said what was the response you got when you
reported this, not from the police or bystanders,
but from friends and family.
She put her head down and she said,
they asked me why was I in a bar.
Why did I go to that bar?
I should have known better.
It's absolutely clear to me that it was time once and for all for
our society to rid itself even of the subconscious notion that
there's a distinction between being abused at the hand of
someone you know and a total stranger.
As I said earlier as a matter of fact there's more damage
done psychologically at the hand of someone you know.
You always question why did -- what did I do?
Why did I not know?
The second societal myth that I'm absolutely convinced needed
to and needs to be eliminated is that there is ever, ever, ever,
ever, ever, a justification for a man to raise a hand to a woman
for any reason other than self-defense.
And that no circumstance, none, none,
holds the abuser harmless because the victim's judgment
was either impaired or she made a judgmental mistake.
When it comes to sexual abuse, it's quite simple: no means no.
No means no if you're drunk or you're sober.
No means no if you're in bed in a dorm or on the street.
No means no even if you said yes,
at first and you changed your mind.
No means no.
And it's a crime to disregard "No".
The allocation of blame has been for too many centuries allocated
in a way that's totally irrelevant and inappropriate.
You know, it's almost as if when it comes to domestic abuse we
are applying a negligence theory to law.
It's a little like saying, you know, you left your home,
the front door open when you went to the store,
the lights were on.
So you invited the home invasion when a group of thugs entered
your home, stole everything, and when you drove up the
driveway abused you.
Lest you think I'm exaggerating you heard some of the examples
that the Secretary used.
One of the earlier examples, and my two colleagues at the bench
will remember this.
There was a Florida judge when I was writing this law who
dismissed a rape case against a man because the woman who was
raped was sitting in a bar with -- on a bar stool --
with an exceedingly revealing skirt on.
Fortunately, he was ripped off the bench.
And we changed the law, proud to have written,
saying under no circumstance during the trial can what a
woman was wearing or what her sexual proclivities or behavior
was before with other people, it is not admissible.
That did not even get an overwhelming majority of votes
in the United States Senate initially.
So those of you who think we don't need to change our
attitude, there's still more to do.
We made a great deal of progress since passing the Violence
Against Women Act.
We've reduced the incident of domestic violence by
more than 50%.
We created partnerships that didn't exist before as the local
police can tell you; between state, local and federal
law enforcement agencies and local authorities.
We set up a domestic hotline, a hotline today that continues to
answer more than 22,400 calls per month.
And imagine the courage it takes for a woman to pick up the phone
and call and say, I, I, I, I don't know,
I don't know who is on the other end, but I need help.
We didn't have the technology to handle all of the calls.
I contacted the leaders of the major technology firms from
Microsoft to Oracle to Dell and they all agreed to come down and
help and make a back office that would be equivalent to
a bank not losing a customer.
Well, I asked hem to do one thing.
I asked them when they had all of these CEO's down -- I didn't
want them to send their individual,
their under links down or their technicians,
I wanted them to go.
And they did.
I asked the hotline director to literally pipe in to this room
which is about half, a third of the size of this room.
We are all being -- people are sitting in cubicles taking these
calls, to pipe in on loud speaker one of the calls.
One of the calls was, I'm, I'm, I'm,
I'm in a mall in Minneapolis and I'm standing between Kids
Gap and (inaudible) -- oh, my God, oh, my God, I see him,
oh, my God, he's coming, please help me, please help me.
That transfigured and transformed all of those
men and one woman who stood in that room and heard it.
It takes an immense amount of courage.
So when I wrote the act we made sure that there are decent
shelters that provided over time several billion dollars.
The reason why children are homeless in the streets, 70%,
because their mothers are victims of abuse.
The reason why women don't leave sometimes,
there's no place to go.
They have no wherewithal to leave and take care
of their children.
So we have women shelters all across America.
We have stay-away orders that are now in force when
they worked before.
We have police training.
We have sharing of court records now so that when you show up in
one court with a stay-away order another court knows that court
can find out it was issued because the technology available
is today.
And so much more.
And also so much more needs to be done to empower younger women
as well as empower and educate younger men.
I told you about that Rhode Island study, a new study quote,
unquote, 2009.
There was a new study in 2009, similar,
about sixth grade students.
We found that one in four thought it was acceptable for
boys to hit their girlfriends.
Listen, I understand this is a difficult period and everyone is
developing, preteens, adolescents and teens.
But the clearer the rules, the clearer it is that society will
not encounter such behavior, will more likely
will empower young girls and teach young men that it's never,
ever, ever, ever permissible to touch a woman without her consent.
Look, guys, all you guys in the audience,
no matter what a girl does, no matter how she's dressed,
no matter how much she's had to drink, it's never, never, never,
never, never okay to touch her without her consent.
This doesn't make you a man, it makes you a coward,
a flat out coward.
Stories like Christine, the first young woman who testified,
her going on still today college campuses around the country and
that's why we are here introducing this new regulation.
And what we need is we need your help to stop it from happening.
It is within our control.
And we are here today not only to point out such action is a
crime, but also again with the news media communicating it for
us hopefully, that there's an affirmative
responsibility of citizenship.
There's an affirmative responsibility of colleges,
universities, community colleges to be proactive in protecting
what amounts to the civil rights of women on their campuses.
Some of you probably heard the statistics.
Women your age, those of you who are students here experience the
highest rates of violence from intimate partners.
You heard how high the rate of sexual assault is on campus.
Eighty-five percent of the perpetrators of assault against
college women are someone the victim knew.
The sad fact is, I know some of you in this room,
some of you women and a few of you men,
you've been sexually assaulted.
Women and men, but overwhelmingly women.
And you've been living with that pain and trapped in that
darkness, because that is what it is.
Let me tell you another story, a more recent one.
A wonderful young woman, let's call her Jenny.
It was only one week into her freshman year, last year.
A time, by the way incidentally, where women are especially
vulnerable, young women.
And she was sexually assaulted by a fellow student living in
her dorm.
Like so many women Jenny thought it would be best to seek justice
from the University Judicial Board instead of going to the
police and having a public trial.
But the student disciplinary board asked Jenny an awful lot
of offensive and irrelevant questions.
They ask her what she was wearing,
how she was dancing at the party,
and had she been drinking.
And in the end, the student judicial panel said that they
didn't find Jenny credible because she had been drinking.
They decided her rapist was a nice kid and didn't deserve the
punishment under the circumstances.
Look, folks, rape is rape is rape.
And the sooner universities make that clear the sooner we'll
begin to make progress on campuses.
It's not sufficient to have criminal enforcement.
We must at every single level of our society make clear the moral
disapprobation of society at every level for such behavior.
And by the way, conventional norms change.
We had made progress even to conventional norms.
Fifty years ago it would not be unusual to see a man grab his
wife by the hand and pull her in public at a picnic,
at a barbeque, at a restaurant.
You don't see that very often today.
It doesn't mean it doesn't occur.
But it means the moral disapprobation of society
has labeled those who engage in it a pariah.
Look, folks, the fact of the matter is, colleges,
universities, community colleges,
have to be part of the solution.
They are in the best position to mitigate it.
Students across the country deserve the safest possible
environment in which to learn.
That's why this new Title IX guidance Secretary Duncan talked
about is such a significant deal.
We are the first administration to make it clear that sexual
assault is not just a crime, it can be a violation of a woman's
civil rights.
We are saying that under Title IX schools have a responsibility
to bring justice to victims and change the culture on campuses
that make it clear that sexual assault is simply not tolerable.
And guys, in the end, in the very end, it's up to you guys.
You have the most power to make the most difference.
That's why I'm honored to be here at the University of New
Hampshire's campus.
That's why we picked the campus.
You guys are doing it right.
You're the model for the country,
the know your power campaign, and the bringing in the
bystander project.
Your sexual harassment and rape prevention program, SHARPP,
all of this is making sure that everyone on this campus and this
community is a part of the solution.
I've been telling you how you can safely intervene in raising
awareness through technology so that everyone knows they can do
something to change things.
I wish all colleges had a little more UNH wildcat in them.
But even if all of you guys and your school,
not withstanding all you've done to reduce violence on your
campus, prevention is still more than anything else up to you.
Look, these are your friends.
These are your classmates.
The people you study with.
The people you have a beer with.
You need to watch out for each other.
You're the first and best line of defense.
If you know something speak up, say something.
Call for help if you need it.
We don't just need the victim to speak up after.
Then it's too late.
We need them to speak up as it's happening or before it happens.
Let me say something as clearly as I can to the college,
male college students out there.
You guys have an absolute obligation as men to speak up.
If you want to measure manhood, measure it based on the gumption
you have to speak up.
If you see a man in any way threatening a woman on this
campus, if a even friend hints of a potential abuse,
you have an obligation to speak up.
You guys listen to each other more than you listen
to anyone else.
You guys talk to each other more than you do anyone else.
Peer to peer, friend to friend.
We know what works best and that's the real change happens,
peer to peer.
The more and more you bring attention to the issue the
less and less the behavior goes unnoticed, unreported,
and unpunished.
And the more and more attitudes begin to change.
Because really, changing attitudes is what we need
to do most.
Folks, if we are going to end violence, not reduce it, end it,
we are going to have to change attitudes.
That's the core of the problem.
That's where you have to aim.
And you're all in a position to help us do that.
For all our progress, there's still a great deal more to do.
As many as 1.1 million, women are victims of rape,
1.1 million.
And a significant number never reported.
Put that into perspective.
The entire state of New Hampshire is 1.3 million people;
15.5 million children are exposed to abuse every year
and go on to be those who abuse.
One in four women in the United States will be a victim of
domestic abuse in their lifetimes.
That is unless we do something and change it.
I've given you some statistics.
With each of those numbers it's a single person.
Somebody like you, somebody you know, somebody who needs help.
There are people in this room who need your help.
There are people on this campus and around the country who need
your help.
And you have the power to help them.
So use it.
There's no blanket solution.
This is one woman at a time, one woman at a time.
All of us have our work cut out for us.
But trust me, attitudes can change.
Look at how attitudes have changed in this country on
so many other issues.
Violence against women can end, but it can't happen without all
of you speaking up and acting.
Making known sexual assault and violence against women will not
be tolerated anywhere, anytime for any reason, period.
There's a quote from a late Rabbi Manechem Schneerson
and it goes like this: It says, every living thing,
and especially a living person must not remain static,
but he's expected to grow from strength to strength.
He must always add even if he has already achieved good things
and holy things, he should never be satisfied with what was
achieved yesterday, no matter how perfect or good it was.
No matter what we have done thus far on this subject,
we need to do more.
No matter how strong we are now, we need to pass that strength on
to others.
We must never be satisfied with what we achieved yesterday.
Keep working toward a better tomorrow for our mothers,
our daughters, our sisters and all those men who find
themselves in abusive situations.
So I'm asking you guys, I'm not going to ask you to stand,
but I'm asking you to privately take a pledge to yourself,
promise yourself you will speak out, you will speak up.
And by the way it takes a lot of courage.
It takes a lot of courage to defy convention.
But promise yourself.
So stand up.
As I said, this could be your sister, your aunt, your mother,
a dear friend.
You guys, you guys have it in your power to have
the most impact.
And women in the audience, no matter what your age, never,
never, never, accept the proposition,
no matter what you did that wasn't physically violent
yourself, that it was your fault if you were abused,
your fault if you were raped, your fault if you were beaten.
I'm optimistic.
I'm one of those guys who believes, almost equally
believes, is we can change things.
And individuals make a difference.
Like your fellow student sitting behind me,
I don't know how many women, she doesn't know how many women.
She's already affected.
But I promise you when you're alone when you feel gauged,
when you're victimized, the single most significant thing
that can empower you is to know someone is listening,
somebody knows.
You're not alone.
I apologize for my passion on this subject,
but I was raised by a man who was the most decent person I
ever knew.
People ask me why I feel so strongly about this,
was my mother, my sister, my daughter, thank God,
to the best of my knowledge, none was ever abused.
But my father was insistent that the cardinal sin of all was a
man to raise his hand to a woman or a child.
It's contrary to everything we say we are as Americans,
and where it began.
The measure of our civility is how we treat those who
are most vulnerable.
And we, we, have a an obligation.
Not only to lead by example or power,
but the power of our example.
Thank you all very much.