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Biden and Beckham Agree: 1 is 2 Many

Because nothing gives me the warm and fuzzies quite like David Beckham speaking out against dating violence…

Last week the White House released a compelling new dating violence PSA entitled “1 is 2 Many,” which features President Obama, Vice President Biden, and a host of celebrity athletes encouraging men to step up in the fight to end gender-based violence.

Vice President Biden, who spearheaded the campaign, has long been a tireless advocate for women and girls. In 1990, then-Senator Biden introduced the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which forever changed the way our country responds to sexual assault and domestic violence. While it seems obvious to most of us that issues of gender-based violence should always transcend political gamesmanship, this year Congress has yet to reauthorize this crucial legislation.

The bewildering politicization of VAWA this election year demonstrates the need to mobilize the public against gender-based violence by engaging those who might otherwise think of it as solely a ‘women’s issue’. By using influential men to appeal to other men, the #1is2many campaign seeks to instill a sense of community accountability, as well as to dispel the myth that advocacy against dating violence is just for women.

In fact, what strikes me the most about this video is the absence of women. As a student health educator who is often tasked with speaking to large groups of my male peers about rape culture, I’ve often encountered what I call a “credible messenger” problem. Simply put, many college-age men write me off before they hear what I have to say because the fact that I am a woman talking about assault makes them feel patronized, judged, guilty, etc. If men hear anti-violence messages from other men, however, they are often more apt to accept and internalize those messages. (It’s an unfortunate catch-22, but progress is progress).

1 is 2 Many Campaign Graphic
Infographic via the White House's 1 is 2 Many campaign.

 

The #1is2many campaign appeals directly to those who might otherwise shrug off messages about dating violence. By emphasizing the fact that being a bystander is never okay, Vice President Biden et al. empower men to become allies in the struggle against gender-based violence. I am thrilled that the VP has brought this issue to the forefront, since this type of advocacy has enormous potential to impact real change. Truly, whether it’s an 18-year-old college freshman or a three-term senator, the fight against gender-based violence cannot and should not be waged by women alone.

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