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Biden Speaks out Against Sexual Assault

LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 22:  Vice President of the United States Joe Biden speaks during the Human Rights Campaign Los Angeles Gala Dinner at JW Marriott Los Angeles at L.A. LIVE on March 22, 2014 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Valerie Macon/Getty Images)

Photo Credit: Huffington Post

Calling for a change in American culture around sexual and relationship violence, Vice President Joe Biden spoke at Syracuse University this past Thursday.  Vice President Biden was the keynote speaker for the event, which promoted the Obama Administration’s “Its On Us” campaign.

Everyone needs to take responsibility for sexual assault, the Vice President said.  Emphasizing that sexual assault is not a women’s issue, it is a human issue, Vice President Biden called out the men in the crowd and told them to step up and intervene in potentially bad situations.  Throughout his speech the Vice President reminded students that it was on all of us to end sexual assault.

“We need a fundamental change in our culture,” said the Vice President and the quickest place to do that was on college campuses.  We have not made enough progress but it is possible, said the Vice President and cited gay marriage as an example of a recent culture change.  If the curtain was pulled back from sexual assault the American people would respond said Vice President Biden.

It is on all of us to end sexual and relationship violence, Vice President Biden said.  From administrators to students it is everyone’s responsibility to work against sexual assault.  His message was met with cheers from the students at the event.  After his speech the Vice President shook hands and took pictures with the crowd and student leaders at Syracuse.

The two hour long event included speeches from sexual assault survivors, music from the Syracuse University’s men’s and women’s A Capella groups and the University Marching Band.  “I am not alone,” said one survivor who said it was important to break the silence surrounding sexual assault.  Also shown were videos made to educate the Syracuse community and raise awareness about sexual assault.

Other speakers at the event were Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Congressman John Katko and several Syracuse students and administrators involved in preventing sexual assault on campus.  Senator Gillibrand praised the Vice President’s efforts to end sexual assault and thanked Syracuse University for showing commitment to addressing the issue.  There is no more bipartisan issue, said Congressman Katko who represents the Syracuse district.

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Jonathan Ten Eyck