The Oscars this year was a spectacular night of glitz and glamour that honored the best in the motion pictures industry in 2015. It was fun to watch, particularly when Spotlight won for best picture (my personal favorite). However, there was more to the evening than simply handing out Oscars. During the telecast, the serious issue of campus sexual assault took center stage. Vice President Joe Biden strolled on to the stage to promote the White House initiative against sexual assault, #ItsOnUs, and challenged us all to recite the pledge against sexual assault. He asked that we intervene in situations when consent has not or cannot be given and that we create an environment in which sexual assault is unacceptable and survivors are supported. Vice President Biden urged us to change our culture that blames victims.
He then introduced Lady Gaga who performed a memorable and impassioned rendition of “Till It Happens To You”, her Oscar nominated song about sexual assault. She was joined on stage by young women and men, all survivors of sexual assault, whose forearms revealed words such as survivor and unbreakable. You can watch the performance here. It was a powerful and poignant reminder of the insidious crime of sexual assault that occurs every 107 seconds in America.
Victims of sexual assault must be believed and supported when they bravely come forward with their stories. It is up to all of us to be members of a community who are not by-standers but who are defenders of those victimized. We offer services to victims of sexual assault including counseling and support groups. Learn more by visiting our website here or calling our 24-hour sexual assault hotline at 208.345.7273.
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