Jon Hamm urges bystanders to help stop sexual assault

The White House 'It's On Us' campaign is calling on young men to get off the sidelines and help thwart sexual assault at college parties.

A guy sits on a couch at an alcohol-fueled party, and across the room he notices something not quite right: As a young woman starts to leave, a man grabs her arm and tries to convince her not to go. “This isn’t a PSA about a sexual assault,” says the dramatically low voice of Jon Hamm, known to many as Don Draper in “Mad Men.” “It’s about being the guy who stops it.”

Coming soon to a movie theater, radio station, or sports event near you, it’s the latest public service announcement from the It’s On Us campaign, a partnership between the White House, Generation Progress, and a host of organizations working to reduce the scourge of sexual violence, especially on college campuses.

Colleges are starting to train students – both men and women – to recognize the role they can play in preventing sexual assault, changing the culture that perpetuates it, and supporting assault survivors who confide in them.

The It’s On Us campaign launched earlier this fall – promoted through an original public service announcement that included celebrities Vice President Joe Biden and President Barack Obama. It has been spreading on social media via #ItsOnUs.

Next week, Nov. 17 to 21 has been designated as a National Week of Action to get more students involved. More than 130 campus events have been planned so far, and at least 34 schools will be releasing their own related PSAs, the White House said in a press release Thursday.

Among the new partners that will be promoting the PSA are Landmark Theatres, the Southeastern and BIG EAST athletic conferences, Xbox, the National Alliance to End Sexual Violence, Culture of Respect, A Call to Men, and several USA teams including Swimming, Bobsled, and Water Polo.

One of the original partners is RAINN, the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, which urges people who need support for themselves or a friend to call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800.656.HOPE or visit online.rainn.org.

For the Monitor’s recent in-depth story on men’s involvement in preventing college sexual assault, see In battle to stop sexual assault young men emerge as allies

And you can catch up with a previous conversation forum on the topic with Monitor readers.

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