WASHINGTON — At the inaugural White House Summit on the United State of Women on Tuesday June 14th 2016, Vice President Joe Biden called for a cultural change to address the underlying societal issues that promote violence against women.
“We have to take off the social blinders that make it so easy for people to overlook violence rather than confront it,” he said.
Biden said men who do not speak up when they see violence against women or hear misogynistic messages are accomplices, perpetuating the thought that women do not deserve the same respect as men.
“There is never a cultural justification for dehumanizing another human being,” he said.
Biden also addressed the issue of sexual assault on college campuses, calling on administrators, coaches and students to take responsibility for changing their universities’ cultures around violence. He called it unacceptable when schools worry more about their reputation than protecting students.
Biden cited several areas of progress as a result of the Violence Against Women Act of 1994, which he wrote, such as increased protection for survivors of sexual assault in the courtroom. Still, he said, more needs to be done.
Speaking on the global issue of violence against women, Bidensaid that if societies do not protect women from violence, ongoing progress that promotes economic equality for women will not matter.
Overall, Biden said changing the culture around violence must be a community-wide effort.
“We aren’t going to end violence,” he said. “But we can end the attitude that somehow violence against women is of a different nature.”