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Jon Hamm, Connie Britton and other celebrities star in White House anti-rape video

One in five women in America are victims of sexual assault during college years.

Source: It's On Us/YouTube

AS PART OF its campaign to stop sexual violence on college campuses, the White House has launched a celebrity-filled video.

Jon Hamm is joined by Kerry Washington, Connie Britton and others to encourage people to make a personal commitment to “step off the sidelines and be part of the solution”.

“An estimated one in five women has been sexually assaulted during her college years — one in five,” President Barack Obama said at the launch yesterday.

“Of those assaults, only 12% are reported, and of those reported assaults, only a fraction of the offenders are punished.”

He continued: ”It is on all of us to reject the quiet tolerance of sexual assault and to refuse to accept what’s unacceptable.

“…As far as we’ve come, the fact is that from sports leagues to pop culture to politics, our society still does not sufficiently value women.

We still don’t condemn sexual assault as loudly as we should. We make excuses. We look the other way. The message that sends can have a chilling effect on young men and women.

“For anybody whose once-normal, everyday life was suddenly shattered by an act of sexual violence, the trauma, the terror can shadow you long after one horrible attack.  It lingers when you don’t know where to go or who to turn to.

“It’s there when you are forced to sit in the same class or stay in the same dorm with the person who raped you; when people are more suspicious of what you were wearing or what you were drinking, as if it’s your fault, not the fault of the person who assaulted you. It’s a haunting presence when the very people entrusted with your welfare fail to protect you.”

The White House has told every school district, college and university that receives funding that they have a legal obligation to prevent and respond to sexual assault.

The task force has also released a list of tips on what people can do to be part of the solution:

  1. Talk to your friends honestly and openly about sexual assault.
  2. Don’t just be a bystander — if you see something, intervene in any way you can.
  3. Trust your gut. If something looks like it might be a bad situation, it probably is.
  4. Be direct. Ask someone who looks like they may need help if they’re ok.
  5. Get someone to help you if you see something — enlist a friend, RA, bartender, or host to help step in.
  6. Keep an eye on someone who has had too much to drink.
  7. If you see someone who is too intoxicated to consent, enlist their friends to help them leave safely.
  8. Recognise the potential danger of someone who talks about planning to target another person at a party.
  9. Be aware if someone is deliberately trying to intoxicate, isolate, or corner someone else.
  10. Get in the way by creating a distraction, drawing attention to the situation, or separating them.
  11. Understand that if someone does not or cannot consent to sex, it’s rape.
  12. Never blame the victim.

Read: Justice Barry White says he doesn’t believe judges need training in rape cases

Opinion: It’s a false economy to cut back funding to rape crisis centres 

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