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

Abigail Disney is the granddaughter of the late Roy Disney, the co-founder of the Walt Disney Co. Abigail herself does not have a job within the company, but she has made some public complaints about the way things are being run and how it is effecting the employees of the company.

Disney recently spoke on the Yahoo News show "Through Her Eyes," and shared a story of how a Magic Kingdom employee reached out to her about the poor working conditions at the theme park. So, Disney went to see for herself, and she did not like what she found.

Keep Reading Show less
popular
Wellington District Police

Some animals have no respect for authority. Rogue penguins are disobeying the police in New Zealand, and they can't stop, won't stop.

Two little blue penguins were spotted at Sushi Bi near the Wellington railway station, allegedly trying to nest. The penguins had to cross through busy lanes of traffic running between the harbor and the sushi bar.

The dangerous duo was detained by the police, then released back into Wellington Harbour.

Keep Reading Show less
Nature

Netflix

How much of what we do is influenced by what we see on TV? When it comes to risky behavior, Netflix isn't taking any chances.

After receiving a lot of heat, the streaming platform is finally removing a controversial scenedepicting teen suicide in season one of "13 Reasons Why. The decision comes two years after the show's release after statistics reveal an uptick in teen suicide.

"As we prepare to launch season three later this summer, we've been mindful about the ongoing debate around the show. So on the advice of medical experts, including Dr. Christine Moutier, Chief Medical Officer at the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, we've decided with creator Brian Yorkey and the producers to edit the scene in which Hannah takes her own life from season one," Netflix said in a statement, per The Hollywood Reporter.

Keep Reading Show less
Culture
Magnific Eye / Unsplash

Los Angeles is experiencing a homeless epidemic that was years in the making.

Over the past six years, the unhoused population in the city has risen 75 percent. The city's lack of homeless shelters and affordable housing has forced many who can't afford L.A.'s sky-high rents to live on the streets.

According to LAist, since 2000, renter incomes have decreased by 3 percent while rents have gone up 32 percent.

While the city has launched a $100 million-per-year program to help the problem, rapper, entrepreneur, and actor Jaden Smith has found his own way of responding to the crisis: love.

Keep Reading Show less
Communities