Posted by: smstrouse | April 8, 2017

45 Proclaims National Sexual Assault Awareness Month?!

7574f17a4aa1337f71f809c03b7e0411He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named has proclaimed April 2017 as National Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month. He apparently said with a straight face, “My Administration, including the Department of Justice and the Department of Health and Human Services, will do everything in its power to protect women, children, and men from sexual violence.” And he apparently saw no incongruity in just a few days later defending Bill O’Reilly against his accusers of sexual harassment.

In light of the avalanche of disheartening news coming out of Washington over the past few days, this bit of ludicrousness might not be on the top of your list of appalling things said or done by HWSNBN. And in no way do I want to appear to minimize the horrific implications of bombing Syria, the continuing campaign against immigrants and refugees, or any of the seemingly countless ways he is destroying our democracy. But I also don’t want to lose sight of the fact that this is the first time that a president who has been accused of committing sexual assault has issued such a proclamation.

Trevor Noah of The Daily Show got it. On Monday night’s show he thanked the president for following in President Obama’s footsteps and issuing the proclamation. And then continued: “You know how Trump can celebrate? By calling out his propaganda partner Bill O’Reilly at Fox News.” Right on! But it’s not going to happen. This is Noah’s imagined response to HWSNBN’s being asked if he wanted to be part of Sexual Assault Month: “I’m in, I’m in! When do I start?”  Funny? Yes. Not funny. Also yes.

National Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month has a long history of advoca-ting against sexual violence. Begun in England in the late 1970s with “Take Back the Night” marches, the movement spread to other countries. In 1978.San Francisco and New York City held the first “Take Back the Night” events in the U.S. In the 1980s, the National Coalition Against Sexual Assault chose to observe a week in April. But by the 1990s, many groups had begun holding events throughout the month and on April 1, 2001 the U.S. first observed Sexual Assault Awareness Month nationally.

On the same day that HWSNBN defended O’Reilly, former Vice President Joe Biden hosted a call with hundreds of students on behalf of It’s On Us, the sexual assault awareness and prevention organization he started with former President Barack Obama in 2014. Biden has described the sexual assault epidemic on college campuses as his “greatest heartache.” So he called a virtual town meeting with thousands of college and high school students from around the country and asked them what he could do to help. Almost all of the students had the same response: Get men involved. And “It’s on Us” was born. As Biden said, “It’s on all of us. It’s on the Chrises and the Joes and the Kyles; everybody on campus, everyone in the country who sees this violence occurring has an obligation to intervene. If you do not intervene you are an accessory. If you do not intervene you are sanctioning what happens.”

Thank God for men like Joe Biden, Barak Obama, and all the men who do get it and do
step up. You all take some of the sting out of a president who proudly boasts of his assaults and defends other men who continue to use their positions and power to get away with it.1487370380895

But as we know, sometimes the language and behavior is so audacious, so reprehensible that it awakens a movement. Such a time is now. There are so many fronts to our resistance. But we must not grow weary. We must not let any of these issues slide past our notice. As Joe Biden said, “There is no justification here or anywhere in the world for a culture that allows the abuse of women and girls.”

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