1 is 2 Many Blog

  • 1 is 2 Many Launches Dating Violence Public Service Announcement

    Watch the 1 is 2 Many PSA here:

    Last year, Vice President Biden launched the 1is2Many initiative to focus on a troubling fact—women between the ages of 16 and 24 experience the highest rates of relationship violence. Having worked to fight violence against women for almost two decades, the Vice President knew that overall rates of domestic violence have been falling, and he heard the numbers about young women as a call to action. He asked the Administration to focus on how we can engage young women and young men in preventing dating violence and sexual assault at their schools, where they work, where they hang out, and where they live.

    As part of that initiative, the Vice President asked young men and women to share their own ideas on how to educate everyone about healthy and respectful relationships. A number of responses contained practical suggestions about improving security and accountability, and giving everyone access to the best information. The Vice President has highlighted the importance of using newer technology by sending the first official text to the recently expanded National Dating Abuse Helpline. Young people can now reach out to the Helpline via text or chat 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The Administration also issued the “Apps Against Abuse” challenge, to spur development of mobile applications to reach young people and keep them safe. The winning apps, Circle of 6 and On Watch, make it quick and easy to check in with friends about where you are and what you need, transmit your location via GPS, and connect you to the right resources to get help.

    But the Vice President also heard from young people who said that solving the problem of this violence will require us to reshape cultural views about what it means to “be a man” and who has the responsibility to help stop abuse. For example, Brennan, from Hilo, HI, wrote: “I think it'd be great to come up with profiles of men in our cultural histories who have taken stands to prevent violence and abuse. Respecting women should not be a threat to masculinity, but rather a fulfillment of true manhood.” We couldn’t agree more.

    We also know that research shows that men overestimate how accepted this kind of violence is by other men. And so we thought the best way to get the truth out was to make sure young men hear from other men they respect. We thought about male role models we know, like former Yankees manager Joe Torre, who grew up in a home where his dad abused his mom and who talks movingly about how devastating witnessing the abuse as a boy was for him. We talked to professional athletes who epitomize strength and physical achievement who agree that this violence is wrong and that men must help end it by speaking out. A number of them have now joined the President and the Vice President in a public service announcement that will air this summer on the ESPN Networks, the FOX Sports Networks, MLB Network and NFL Network.

  • National Dating Abuse Helpline Uses Latest Technology to Provide 24/7 Assistance

    “I don’t even know anyone who talks on the phone anymore,” a friend told me recently. We are the internet generation. On average, teen girls send 123 text messages a day, and young people—ages 13-24—spend an average of 16.7 hours a week online. As texting and online chatting have become the main way that teens and young adults communicate, the resources available for those seeking help must match the methods by which we actually communicate with each other. 

    Vice President Biden recognized this need and called upon federal agencies to develop new resources to fill this gap. As a result, the National Dating Abuse Helpline was upgraded to use the latest technology and is now available by phone, text and online chat 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This innovation allows teens and young adults to reach out for help in the way they feel most comfortable.

    In addition, the Vice President sent the first text to the Helpline in September 2011. Between September 2011 and June 2012, the Helpline has received nearly 27,000 chats and texts, and Helpline advocates responded to over 2,200 texts in January alone. 

    Background on the National Dating Abuse Helpline

    The Helpline was created in 2007 by the National Domestic Violence Hotline, in response to the growing need for a youth-focused response to dating violence. The phones, chat and text features are all staffed by peer advocates, age 16-26, who work under the guidance of an adult supervisor. These young leaders are trained to offer support, information, and advocacy to those involved in abusive dating relationships, as well as to concerned friends, parents, clergy, law enforcement, and service providers.

  • Strengthening the Violence Against Women Act

    This week, the Senate will consider bipartisan legislation, introduced by Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Mike Crapo (R-ID),  that would reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). First authored by then-Senator Biden in 1994, VAWA provides funding to states and local communities to improve the criminal justice response to domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking.  VAWA supports specialized law enforcement units to investigate these crimes and helps prosecutors get dangerous offenders off the streets. Since the passage of the act, annual incidents of domestic violence have dropped by more than 60 percent. 

    While tremendous progress has been made, violence is still a significant problem facing women, men, families, and communities.  On average, 3 women a day die as a result of domestic violence. The hidden crime of stalking affects 1 in 6 women and sexual assault remains the most underreported violent crime in the country. 1 in 5 women and 1 in 71 men have been sexually assaulted at some time in their lives.  The Leahy-Crapo bill to reauthorize VAWA addresses today’s most pressing issues and builds on what we have learned over the past 17 years.  We must continue moving forward to reduce violence against all women. 

    Native American women suffer from violent crime at some of the highest rates in the United States. One regional survey conducted by University of Oklahoma researchers showed that nearly three out of five Native American women had been assaulted by their spouses or intimate partners.  In addition, a recent Center for Disease Control (CDC) study found that 46 percent of Native American women have experienced rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime. Tribal leaders say there are countless more victims of domestic violence and sexual assault whose stories may never be told. 

    With non-Indians constituting more than 76 percent of the overall population living on reservations and other Indian lands, interracial dating and marriage are common, and many of the abusers of Native American women are non-Indian men.  Too often, non-Indian men who batter their Indian wives and girlfriends go unpunished because tribes cannot prosecute non-Indians, even if the offender lives on the reservation and is married to a tribal member, and because Federal law‐enforcement resources are hours away from reservations and stretched thin.  

  • Combating Sexual Assault in the United States Military

    Sexual assault is a pervasive problem in the United States. One in five women report having been raped in their lifetimes, and many experience ongoing physical and emotional trauma related to this crime. The Obama Administration has taken on this serious issue, and has announced new initiatives across the federal government to respond to and prevent sexual assault.

    Nowhere is our responsibility greater than in the military. Women and men who step forward to serve our country must be protected from this devastating crime, and offenders must be held appropriately accountable. Secretary Panetta has said loud and clear that sexual assault has no place in the United States military. Together with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff,  General Dempsey, the Secretary is taking important steps toward achieving this vision.  

    On April 20, Secretary Panetta issued a directive that will require certain sexual assault complaints to be elevated to more senior levels of command.  This significant change means that more experienced commanders will be making the initial disposition decisions for these cases.  Specifically, the officers handling these cases will be at least in the grade of 0-6, meaning at least a colonel in the Army, Marine Corps and Air Force; a captain in the Navy, and must possess at least special court martial convening authority.  This new policy underscores the gravity of these crimes and may give victims greater confidence to come forward.

  • By the Numbers: 1 in 3

    While 1 in 3 women in the United States have experienced rape, physical violence and/or stalking by an intimate partner at some time in their lives, domestic violence doesn’t stay within the four walls of someone’s home. It often spills over in to the workplace and can affect the safety and productivity of employees. Victims are often harassed at work or distracted from their jobs because of the abuse.

    Today, President Obama directed federal agencies to develop policies for addressing domestic violence in the federal workforce. These new policies will build on ongoing efforts of federal agencies to improve workplace safety, and outline steps employers can take to provide support and assistance to employees whose lives are affected by domestic violence.

  • The Next Step in Combatting the Spread of HIV/AIDS Among Women and Girls

    As the Executive Director of the White House Council on Women and Girls, it is my honor to join Dr. Grant Colfax, Director of the Office of National AIDS Policy and Lynn Rosenthal, the White House Advisor on Violence Against Women, in announcing the next step in President Obama’s commitment to combat the spread of HIV/AIDS amongst women and girls. Please read on for more details.

    There are approximately 1.2 million people living with HIV/AIDS in the United States, including more than 290,000 women.   Black and Hispanic  women account for nearly three-quarters of new HIV infections among women.  In July 2010, President Obama launched the first National HIV/AIDS Strategy to provide a coordinated national response to fight the epidemic, with the goals of reducing new infections, improving health outcomes, and decreasing HIV-related health disparities.  This past World AIDS Day, the President said that “When black women feel forgotten, even though they account for most of the new cases among women, then we’ve got to do more."  President Obama was joined by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton in a call to our partners—including government stakeholders at all levels, healthcare professionals, and HIV/AIDS service providers—to unite in an effort to usher in an “AIDS-free generation.” To reach this goal, it is clear we must address HIV among women, particularly among women of color.

    As directed in the National HIV/AIDS Strategy, Federal agencies are collaborating in new ways.  We are embracing scientific findings to implement evidenced-based prevention methods in order to be more effective at preventing new HIV infections, and we are exploring new approaches to integrate prevention and care. As part of this ongoing collaborative approach, President Obama has issued a presidential memorandum establishing an inter-agency working group on the intersection of HIV/AIDS, violence against women and girls, and gender-related health disparities. The President has asked Lynn Rosenthal, the White House Advisor on Violence Against Womenand Dr. Grant Colfax, the Director of the Office of National AIDS Policy, to serve as co-chairs.