The White House (and those associated within it) have developed a policy that takes a stand against the mishandling of sexual violence incidents on college campuses. In addition to recently increasing their responses to rampant sexual violence on far too many college campuses, the new policy calls for the Obama administration’s members - including the president and vice president (as well as their wives, family members and Cabinet members) - to no longer visit educational institutions that have campus sexual assault policies considered to be flawed or ineffective.
According to The Washington Post
, White House officials have confirmed that “top members of the administration — including the president, the vice president, their wives and members of the Cabinet — will not visit institutions whose leaders they consider insufficiently serious about pursuing sexual-assault allegations and punishing perpetrators.”
This policy was developed just a few months following a response letter released by Vice President Biden to a Stanford University sexual assault victim
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The highly publicized rape case came to light in the public eye after the victim wrote an open letter to her accuser, a celebrated college swimmer, about what she went through as a victim. Her letter effectively showcased how the system forced her to be re-victimized. She detailed how the process questioned her character, forced her to relive the traumatic incident and unfairly placed blame on the victim’s actions, rather than the attacker.
The letter was published in response to her attacker receiving a slap-on-the-wrist punishment of a mere six-month sentence in county jail, despite both evidence and eye witnesses to the brutal attack.
Within his letter, the Vice President wrote, “I am filled with furious anger — both that this happened to you and that our culture is still so broken that you were ever put in the position of defending your own worth.”
“You were failed by a culture on our college campuses where one in five women is sexually assaulted—year after year after year,” Biden wrote. “A culture that promotes passivity. That encourages young men and women on campuses to simply turn a blind eye.”
Vice President Biden is the White House spokesman for the “It’s On Us” campaign
, a part of a sexual assault task force initiative that began in 2014. The campaign works to end sexual assault on college campuses nationwide. Additionally, "It's On Us" encourages college students to pledge to help the cause by intervening in any situation they think a potential sexual assault could occur.
This issue has been important to Vice President Biden, right from the start of his campaign alongside President Obama. While he’s always supported stringent sexual assault campus policies, the issue has become increasingly important
to President Obama and his administration, as reflected through White House responses. The issue likely hits closer to home than ever before, as the President’s two daughters have entered their teenage years.
The Washington Post
also notes that, although the Obama administration is nearing its final stretch in office, the focus on campus sexual assault policies and misconduct has intensified.
“Now’s the time to put the pedal to the metal,” said Vice President Biden.