Rape and sexual assault are at the fore of the American public sphere after the major backlash surrounding the Stanford rape case. While the issue won’t be dissipating any time soon, Vice President Joe Biden is making sure we keep the conversation about sexual assault going — especially with men.
According to Glamour, Biden spoke to a crowd of 5,000 women at the United State of Women Summit on June 14, not only reaffirming his commitment to the Violence Against Women Act, but also asserting that “America’s own culture is to blame for allowing women to go on feeling unheard.”
In between discussing the apparent ‘rape culture’ perpetuated in the United States, Biden offered that men have a significant role to play in both allowing the culture to continue and attempting to halt its growth, Glamour says.
Glamour reported his thoughts on the topic this way:
“But Biden reserved some of his harshest words for ‘regular’ guys who put up with ‘the locker room talk, the bar banter, the rape jokes,’ any of the ‘sexist talk [that] perpetuates the idea that women are less deserving of basic human dignity than men.’ Drawing upon Dante’s classic argument that the deepest circle of hell is reserved for those who remain silent ‘in times of moral crisis,’ Biden argued that it isn’t merely an act of passivity to ignore these (wildly unfunny) ‘jokes.’ In fact, he said, ‘If you let it pass…you become an accomplice.’
As much as Vice President Biden’s words point out a reality within American society, they also serve as a call to action, prompting men of all ages to stand up to such ‘jokes’ and defending women’s rights and bodies.
To watch Biden’s speech, head over to the vice president’s Facebook page by clicking here.