Joe Biden hadn't considered this point about rape, and he sure felt 'stupid.'

"No means no."

In typical Joe Biden fashion, the vice president didn't hold back when discussing sexual assault at the University of Pittsburgh.

But his impassioned speech in front of nearly 1,000 students on April 5, 2016, was especially candid — even by Biden's standards.

Photo by Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images.


The vice president, who has championed the issue for decades, hit on several key aspects while dissecting the problem of sexual assault — a quiet crisis that's affecting nearly 1 in 5 college womenHe also revealed how "stupid" he'd felt years ago after failing to recognize a key component in preventing the crime.

Here are three vital points Biden discussed on Tuesday:

1. Our legal system still blames the victims, and that's inexcusable.

“The legal system and the court of public opinion still allowed prosecutors to ask victims of rape, 'What were you wearing?’ ... This is not a joke. This is deadly freakin’ earnest, man. What difference does it make what a woman was wearing? ... No one, particularly a court of law, has the right to ask any of those questions."

GIF via The Guardian.

Alcohol and short skirts don't cause rape. Rapists do. Yet court judges have been known to still focus on irrelevant factors that imply victims were either "asking for it" or unwise enough to put themselves in dangerous scenarios. 

These arguments miss the point entirely and add weight to the idea that victims are partly responsible for their assaults. Rapists are the sole cause of rape — end of story.

2. We need to stop asking "Why didn’t you just leave?" and focus on supporting victims and survivors instead.

“Do you know the question I most often got [when I was trying to pass the Violence Against Women Act]? ‘Why didn’t she just leave?’ ‘Why didn’t she say something?’ … Imagine the courage it takes for a woman locked in the worst prison in the world, her own home, to be able to pick up the phone and call. Think of the courage it takes to say, ‘help me.’”

GIF via Now This News.

Leaving an abusive partner isn't as simple as walking out the door.

Many victims fear for their lives if they leave. They fear what will happen to their children or other family members. They're ashamed and afraid of how they'll be perceived. And the psychological effects abuse can have can keep a victim from believing he or she deserves better. 

Leaving an abusive partner and asking for help is rarely easy and almost never as simple as it sounds.

3. It's absolutely necessary that men stand up against sexual assault too — something that wasn't always obvious to Biden.

“You know what stunned me? It made me feel stupid [that] I didn’t figure it out before. The overwhelming response we got back from young girls and women was 'Get men involved.'"

GIF via Now This News.

The overwhelming majority of sexual assault perpetrators are male. So why don't we demand more men understand this issue and fight to prevent it? 

Biden teamed up with "Orange Is the New Black" and "How to Get Away With Murder" star Matt McGorry to drive this point home in Pittsburgh. The actor also spoke out about how men can be doing more to end this culture.

“How can we, as men, create a culture around consent and supporting survivors?” McGorry, an avid supporter of the White House's anti-rape initiative It's On Us, asked students on Tuesday. 

Biden's inspiring speech won't cause change on its own. It takes all of us working together to make that change happen.

Promise not to be a bystander if you witness sexual assault by taking the It's On Us pledge. You can learn more about the issue and how we can promote positive change. And if you or someone you know is a victim of sexual assault, you can find help.

Watch highlights from Biden's speech in Pittsburgh below.

More
via Twitter / Soraya

There is a strange right-wing logic that suggests when minorities fight for equal rights it's somehow a threat to the rights already held by those in the majority or who hold power.

Like when the Black Lives Matter movement started, many on the right claimed that fighting for black people to be treated equally somehow meant that other people's lives were not as valuable, leading to the short-lived All Lives Matter movement.

This same "oppressed majority" logic is behind the new Straight Pride movement which made headlines in August after its march through the streets of Boston.

Keep Reading Show less
popular

For most of us, the hypothetical question of whether we would stick with a boyfriend or girlfriend through the trials of cancer and the treatments is just that – a hypothetical question. We would like to think we would do the right thing, but when Max Allegretti got the chance to put his money where mouth is, he didn't hesitate for a second.

Keep Reading Show less
popular
via bfmamatalk / facebook

Where did we go wrong as a society to make women feel uncomfortable about breastfeeding in public?

No one should feel they have the right to tell a woman when, where, and how she can breastfeed. The stigma should be placed on those who have the nerve to tell a woman feeding her child to "Cover up" or to ask "Where's your modesty?"

Breasts were made to feed babies. Yes, they also have a sexual function but anyone who has the maturity of a sixth grader knows the difference between a sexual act and feeding a child.

Keep Reading Show less
popular
Instagram / JLo

The Me Too movement has shed light on just how many actresses have been placed in positions that make them feel uncomfortable. Abuse of power has been all too commonplace. Some actresses have been coerced into doing something that made them uncomfortable because they felt they couldn't say no to the director. And it's not always as flagrant as Louis C.K. masturbating in front of an up-and-coming comedian, or Harvey Weinstein forcing himself on actresses in hotel rooms.

But it's important to remember that you can always firmly put your foot down and say no. While speaking at The Hollywood Reporter's annual Actress Roundtable, Jennifer Lopez opened up about her experiences with a director who behaved inappropriately. Laura Dern, Awkwafina, Scarlett Johansson, Lupita Nyong'o, and Renee Zellweger were also at the roundtable.

Keep Reading Show less
popular