When we talk about "men's issues," the topic of sexual assault rarely comes up. But given that males commit the vast majority of rapes, it's unfortunate that we don't hear more men offering to help find solutions to a problem they so often perpetuate.
This lack of male participation is one of the reasons why President Obama and Vice President Biden are joining forces to call on men to "step up" and take sexual assault prevention into their own hands. Their new campaign, "It's on Us," calls on men to take responsibility for the rape epidemic entrenched across college campuses nationwide.
"The truth is, it's not just okay to intervene, it is your responsibility," Obama told a crowd of activists and reporters at the White House on Sept. 19. "It is your responsibility to speak your mind. It is your responsibility to tell your buddy when he's messing up. It is your responsibility to set the right tone when you're talking about women, even when women aren't around — maybe especially when they're not around."
The campaign is not just about bystander intervention, however; it's also about creating a societal shift in the way that men think and speak about women. Studies show that "what men think other men think is one of the strongest determinants of how men act," but that they consistently overestimate the extent to which other men adhere to rape myths. That means a cultural shift is radically necessary.
But how do we change men's perceptions about rape culture? By celebrating the voices of the men who are allies — and ensuring that their voices are elevated above their less enlightened peers.
Here's a small sampling of men who believe it's "on them" to end sexual assault. Feel free to add your own voice to the chorus of males who are done blaming women for a problem that concerns us all. Use the #ItsOnUs hashtag to spread the message.