13 Reasons Why actress, Alisha Boe and former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden teamed up this week to raise awareness about rape culture in the college campus setting and what people can do to prevent it.
Boe, who plays a high school girl who was raped while she was drunk in 13 Reasons Why, shared how playing the role gave her insight into the emotions and struggles of sexual assault victims.
“We want the survivors in the room today to know that your voice matters, your story is important and your truth is real,” Boe told students from George Mason University. “You are never, ever, ever alone.”
The event, which was also livestreamed on the University’s website, is part of Joe Biden’s campaign on sexual assault prevention and awareness, It’s On Us.
During the event, Biden emphasized the importance of expressed consent in any sexual contact, saying that a man or woman who is “dead drunk” cannot consent to have sex.
“Guys, a woman who’s dead drunk cannot consent. You are raping her,” Biden said. “We got to talk about this. Consent requires affirmative consent. And if you’re too drunk to be able to consent, it is not consent.”
He also said that both men and women have “an obligation to help survivors in any way they can.”
“Our society is going to be judged by future generations about our civility and our decency,” the former VP said. “One of the measures we’re going to be looked at is how did we deal with this issue? There is never a culture of justification for any of this.”
He added: “Brutality is brutality. Human rights are basic. I don’t care what’s your religion ― no religion, no culture can be sustained or should be tolerated that says it’s OK to abuse another human being.”
Biden said his advocacy to fight sexual violence was not because his sister or mother were sexually abused but because his father taught him that rape isn’t about sex, it’s about an abuse of power.
“Everybody thinks that maybe my mom or sister was abused, thank God to the best of my knowledge that was not the fact,” he said. “But my dad used to say the greatest sin a man or woman could commit was the abuse of power… The one thing he could not stand is the notion of the abuse of a woman.”
He also urged young men to do their part in changing the culture of sexual violence in college campuses across the country.