Powerful PSA Captures The Importance Of Speaking Out Against Sexual Assault

"Sometimes words fail, because the right thing to say, is also the hardest."

A fictional text conversation between a group of guys illustrates the importance of speaking up when people joke about — or commit — sexual assault.

A powerful new It's On Us PSA, embedded below, shows a group text message, where one guy clearly sees the error of his friends' ways, but does not speak up.  

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The conversation happens the morning after a wild night out. The guys in the group text jokingly talked about a girl one of them had nonconsensual sex with. But instead of addressing the issue with his friends, the protagonist keeps silent. 

"Sometimes words fail, because the right thing to say, is also the hardest," the video states. 

The video, produced by ad agency Mekanism, is a part of a larger campaign called It's On Us that highlights that bystanders (like the PSA's protagonist) also have a responsibility in stopping and reporting sexual abuse and assault. 

In the video, former vice president Joe Biden challenges men in the video to stop and confront their friends who are committing sexual assault. "It's on you to confront it ... fear is no excuse," Biden said. 

The "It's On Us" campaign started in 2014, as a result of a demand from the White House Task Force to Prevent Sexual Assault. Its goal is to raise awareness about sexual abuse. 

The campaign challenges people to take action and engage in conversations about sexual violence. 

"It's On Us asks everyone – students, community leaders, parents, organizations, and companies – to step up and realize that the conversation changes with us. It's a rallying cry to be a part of the solution," the campaign's website states. 

In two years, the campaign has collected more than 300,000 pledges from people committing to help put an end to sexual violence in their community. 

Cover image via Kostenko Maxim.

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