In keeping with its longstanding commitment to help end sexual assault on campus, Hillel International is proud to partner with the White House in the It's On Us initiative. It's On Us focuses on changing how people think about sexual assault by promoting bystander intervention and raising awareness of this far too pervasive crime.
Hillel International is currently working with more than 500 campuses in the U.S. to sign the pledge to be part of the solution at ItsOnUs.org.
“Every student should have the right to live free of violence. Jewish history and the teachings of our tradition call on us to bear witness, to speak up, and to stand up on behalf of all those who are vulnerable. Our Torah instructs us not to stand by while our neighbors are harmed. And our people's experiences of suffering call on us to lead toward a society in which all of us use our power responsibly," said Sheila Katz, Hillel International Vice President for Social Entrepreneurship.
Vice President Joe Biden, speaking at the Jewish Federations of North America’s General Assembly (GA), first noted Hillel International’s involvement in this initiative last week in Oxon Hill, Maryland.
“On a personal note," Biden said at the GA, "I want to thank the Federation and Hillel for organizing over 500 campuses on something that is near and dear to my heart that I'm proudest of, of what I've done as a U.S. senator, in writing the Violence Against Women Act. I started an initiative called “It's On Us,” because it's time for the men in our community to stand up and recognize that violence against women, even if we're not perpetrators, is on us. We, the men of this country, have an obligation to speak up. We have an obligation to intervene. We have an obligation to say it is on us to deal with this scourge.
We have an expression in my family that I attribute to the way my sister is. We say in my family, if you have to ask, it's too late. If you have to ask, it's too late. I didn’t have to ask you. I didn’t have to ask Hillel. You just stepped up -- 500 campus organizations. That's who you are. It's on us to speak up, to speak out, to take responsibility.”
Hillel International has prioritized programs to end sexual assault for years, particularly through Ask Big Questions and a partnership between Hillel International and Shalom Bayit, which focuses on healthy relationship education and violence prevention through the lens of Judaism. Indeed, many victims have found Hillel to be a safe environment to find support from secular and religious perspectives, and to make connections to others who can make sure students are healthy and safe. Hillel believes that while it is clearly our responsibility to support and work with survivors, that it is equally as important to be a facilitator for conversations about healthy relationships with all students.