Health

White House launches site combatting high rates of date rape and sex assaults against young women

White House launches site combatting high rates of date rape and sex assaults against young women

LatinaLista -- Today is the 17th anniversary of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). The legislation was supposed to empower women, who were victims of violence, to know they didn't have to tolerate the abuse they were receiving from the men in their lives. Abuse that left them with black eyes, bruises, chipped teeth, broken bones and low self-esteem.

Yet, seventeen years after that landmark federal legislation and the creation of a Department of Justice special office dedicated to violence against women, a disturbing statistic has emerged -- young women, aged 16-24, are experiencing the highest rates of rape and sexual assault.

According to statistics, one in five young women will be a victim of sexual assault during college; one in 9 teen girls will be forced to have sex; and one in ten teens have been physically hurt on purpose by someone they're dating in the last year.

The notion that sex is for the taking by anyone who wants it or that it's ok to push, kick, hit someone who says they care for you is more than just wrong -- it's criminal.

To remind young women that they should not be tolerating any type of abusive treatment or remain silent if they have been raped, an unlikely White House ally has emerged on this issue -- Vice President Joe Biden.

It was Vice-President Biden, when he was a senator, who authored the VAWA bill. Seeing the new statistics on date rapes and college assaults, Vice President Biden decided to again tackle the issue, but with a 21st Century twist.

The White House has created a special web site titled 1 is 2 Many. On the site, visitors find a video message from Vice President Biden, a nationwide call for young people to share their ideas via Twitter or the White House site on how to make college campuses safer and how to prevent date violence and a national contest for creating an app that provides the tools to help prevent sexual assault and dating violence.

The "Apps Against Abuse" challenge launched in July and ends October 17. The winner will be announced October 31.

"The only way we're going to stop it is for all of us to speak up and act and make it clear that violence against women will not be tolerated at your school, on your campus, at any time, for any reason period," Vice President Biden says in the video message. "No means no. No means no if she's drunk or you're sober. No mean no if you're in a dorm room or on the street. No means no even if she said yes first and changed her mind. No means no, no matter what."

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