Former Vice President Joe Biden continued his campaign against sexual violence on college campuses with a speech at George Mason University on April 26.
In 2015, Biden and then-President Barack Obama started their "It's On Us" campaign "to wake-up our colleges and universities -- and the country -- to the epidemic of sexual violence on their campuses," as explained in a White House press release at the time.
At George Mason, Biden gave his audience a firm lecture, reports Uproxx. "Guys, a woman who’s dead drunk cannot consent," he told them. "You are raping her. You are raping her. If you cannot say, 'It’s okay.' I really mean this. We’ve got to talk about this. Consent requires affirmative consent. And if you’re too drunk to be able to consent, it is not consent."
He went on to discuss the broader implications of the issue. "Our society is going to be judged by future generations about our civility and our decency," he said. "One of the measures we’re going to be looked at is how did we deal with this issue? There is never a culture of justification for any of this. Brutality is brutality. Human rights are basic. I don’t care what’s your religion -- no religion, no culture can be sustained or should be tolerated that says it’s OK to abuse another human being."
Following the outrage over the 2016 case of Brock Turner -- the former Stanford University student who was sentenced to only 90 days in jail for raping an unconscious woman -- Biden wrote an eloquent letter to Turner's victim that was published exclusively by BuzzFeed, in response to a public letter she wrote about the rape:
I do not know your name -- but your words are forever seared on my soul. Words that should be required reading for men and women of all ages.
Words that I wish with all of my heart you never had to write.
I am in awe of your courage for speaking out -- for so clearly naming the wrongs that were done to you and so passionately asserting your equal claim to human dignity.
And I am filled with furious anger -- both that this happened to you and that our culture is still so broken that you were ever put in the position of defending your own worth.
It must have been wrenching --- to relive what he did to you all over again. But you did it anyway, in the hope that your strength might prevent this crime from happening to someone else. Your bravery is breathtaking.
... The millions who have been touched by your story will never forget you.
And if everyone who shared your letter on social media, or who had a private conversation in their own homes with their daughters and sons, draws upon the passion, the outrage, and the commitment they feel right now the next time there is a choice between intervening and walking away -- then I believe you will have helped to change the world for the better.