CLEMSON, SC- Crowds heard Vice President Joe Biden speak at Clemson University Tuesday.
The Vice President is on a national tour, stopping at college campuses to speak to students about ways to stop sexual assault on college campuses. He’s also focusing on how to change campus culture surrounding it.
“Sexual assault is not about sex. It’s about power. It’s about the abuse of power,” said Vice President Biden before a packed Jervey Center crowd of students and faculty.
When Biden wrote the 1994 “Violence Against Women Act”, Biden said he hoped it would greatly reduce the number of sexual assaults nationwide. Still, he said it continues to be a problem on college campuses across the country.
“Sexual violence on college campuses makes no distinction based on geography [or] size,” said Biden.
According Clemson University Police crime reports, forced sex offenses have tripled in the past year.
It’s a statistic that surprised the students, but even more reason why they say the vice president raising awareness to it is need.
“This is a real problem in the world today, so it is good that he’s coming here to talk an actual college campus about something like that, and as big as Clemson is I feel like coming here is a good choice,” said Kenyatta Grate, a Clemson Junior.
Vice President Biden urged the students to take the “It’s On Us” pledge to stand up to sexual abuse on campus. So far, more than 250,000 students across the country have signed up to end the issue which affects 1 in 4 college aged women.
“We have to change the standard of decency with which we measure ourselves,” said Biden.
Biden said the standard begins with sexual consent.
“No means no. No exceptions,” he said.
During the speech, he said he is frequently asked when we can reach a level of success in curbing sexual abuse in a society that often blames the victim.
“I can tell you what success is. Success is when not a single young woman or woman, period, when abused, asks herself, “what did I do,” said Biden.
Biden is continuing onto Atlanta where he will talk to students at Morehouse College.
Reporting by Eryn Rogers and Addie Hampton