Last week the White House released a video titled “1 is 2 Many,” an anti-rape public service announcement plainly explaining what rape really is and how men need to stop it. The video features President Barrack Obama and Vice President Biden, along with actors Daniel Craig, Benicio del Toro, Dulé Hill, Seth Meyers and Steve Carell.
“If she doesn’t consent, or if she can’t consent, it’s rape. It’s assault,” del Toro says, aiming the message at college-aged men.
The video goes even further as del Toro says, “If I saw it happening, I’d speak up,” while Craig says, “If I saw it happening, I’d never blame her. I’d help her.”
The message ends with a firm message and call-to-action from the president, “It’s up to all of us to put an end to sexual assault.”
This video comes in the wake of the recently released document from the U.S. Department of Education which names 55 universities that are currently under Title IX investigation for mishandling sexual assault.
The ad is powerful; utilizing well-respected and established men to compel young men to take matters into their own hands to prevent sexual assault while also telling them that they should, you know, not rape someone. It is encouraging to see these men use their stature and privilege to promote ways to fix this issue and it is refreshing to see them challenging victim blaming, a tool that so often deters victims from reporting or seeking help after they are assaulted.
However, the PSA isn’t perfect. Its main focus is that men should care because these victims are their sisters, girlfriends, wives, daughters, etcetera, not simply because they are people deserving of respect and safety. Also, as important as it is to have a supportive male base fighting against sexual assault, the video should have featured women speaking out against sexual assault as well. The video inadvertently sends a message to the young men it is aimed at that says they should take the words of other men more seriously than if a woman were to speak out on the topic.
However, we recognize that this video was a big step in the right direction. Placing more recognition and importance on stopping sexual assault and being more understanding to victims is a shift that we welcome.