There may be gridlock in congress, but that hasn't stopped president Barack Obama from issuing a presidential memorandum that creates the 'White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault'.
With this type of crime on the rise and with the shocking stories of universities blaming and punishing the victims which effectively deters others from speaking up after an assault, the president has lent his office to the cause to help support, defend, and aid student victims of rape.
According to WhiteHouse.gov, a report from the "White House Council on Women and Girls entitled, “Rape and Sexual Assault: A Renewed Call to Action” reveals that nearly 1 in 5 women, and 1 in 71 men have experienced rape or attempted rape in their lifetimes."
As the father of two daughters who will be going off to college within the next five years, these statistics undoubtedly weigh heavy on Obama's mind. The president stated "We need to keep saying to anyone out there who has ever been assaulted: You are not alone. We have your back. I’ve got your back." (TheWhiteHouse weekly address on YouTube).
The task force will seek to remind schools of their responsibility and obligation to properly respond to, enforce, and comply with federal regulations regarding the reporting of all sexual assaults and to work on prevention of these crimes.
The task force also promises to commit "vital resources" to the cause of empowering students to stand up for themselves and to be better educated in awareness of when, where, and how these assaults occur.
This is a "renewed call to action" that is refreshing considering the many off-kilter comments that fly out of the mouths of some politicians who advocate for rapists' parental rights, and make absurd claims that spousal rape does not exist; especially if the wife is wearing a negligee. The commentary on women and their reproductive rights has lent to a volatile environment for young women where they feel unsafe, shamed, and at fault when none of that is true. Although the memorandum specifically addresses sexual assault on college campuses, the president extends the task force beyond universities to everywhere where women work, serve in our military, and live every day.
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If you've been a victim of sexual assault, do not hesitate to report it to police. You can also call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).