The Important Message Joe Biden Wants College Students To Remember About Sexual Assault

"I mean this, we've got to talk about this."

Former Vice President Joe Biden visited George Mason University in Virginia on Wednesday to talk about an issue close to his heart. As part of the It's On Us campaign, which was launched by President Obama in 2014, Biden delivered an impassioned speech about preventing campus sexual assault.

According to RAINN, college-age women "are at an elevated risk of sexual violence," and sexual assault is more prevalent at college than other crimes. (College women are twice as likely to be sexually assaulted than robbed, for instance.) These crimes often go unreported, and many survivors have spoken out against how their schools have handled their cases.


Joe Biden has said that fighting sexual assault is "the passion of my career," and he displayed that passion in his latest speech. Biden pulled no punches and sent a clear message to students about consent. As the former vice president stressed, there is no excuse for rape — no matter how much a woman has had to drink or what she is (or isn't) wearing.

A woman who's dead drunk cannot consent. You are raping her. You are raping her ... I really mean this, we've got to talk about this. Consent requires affirmative consent. And if you're too drunk to be able to consent, it is not consent ... A young woman standing here could take all her clothes off and walk out the door. She could be arrested for indecent exposure, but no man has a right to lay a hand on her at all. None, none, none, none, none.

Biden's remarks drew applause from the crowd, many of whom held up "It's On Us" signs.

Biden called men who take advantage of women "cowards," and urged other students to "speak up" to prevent these incidents. He asked those listening to "take the pledge" to "change the culture" around campus rape, and called on men to call out so-called "locker room talk." 

"When you see something, if you're a fraternity brother and you see a young freshman co-ed in the second week dead drunk, and him walking her up the stairs," Biden said, "you gotta go up to him and say, 'Hey, not in my house, Jack. Not in my house.' Because if you don't, you are an accomplice. You know."

Biden was joined at the event by actress Alisha Boe, who stars in the Netflix original series 13 Reasons Why, which addresses the issue of rape among young people. "We want the survivors in the room today to know that your voice matters, your story is important, and your truth is real," Boe said. "You are never, ever, ever alone."

April is Sexual Assault Awareness month, but both Biden and Boe's messages bear repeating every day.

Watch Biden address students in the video below:



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