The White House launched a new initiative today to help prevent sexual assaults called “It’s On Us,” complete with the requisite hashtag and YouTube video of Hollywood stars:
What makes this initiative different, we’re told, is that it will “focus on men”:
More from Think Progress:
The education campaign will be primarily focused on teaching students how to practice effective bystander intervention. “It’s On Us” encourages students to get involved in situations that seem to be headed in a potentially dangerous direction, like when someone at a party has been cornered by a person making aggressive sexual advances.Tips on the campaign’s website include recognizing that intoxicated individuals cannot consent and remembering that victims should not be blamed.
But will it work? The White House is asking people who take the “pledge” to “[t]urn your profile photo into an IT’S ON US badge to show your pledged commitment to helping stop sexual assault.”
Avatar-activism, however, hasn’t had a really good success record. For example, people changing their social media avatars to support democratic reform in Iran didn’t work out so well. And #BringBackOurGirls has accomplished nothing.
So far, there seems to be a well-coordinated effort by the White House to use #ItsOnUs to get people talking about preventing sexual assault. . .
. . .but we’ll have to wait and see if there’s any long-term benefit from this new program. Hashtags are not action and that’s something this White House doesn’t seem to understand.