In an powerful moment for a night that is usually designated to honoring celebrities and movies, Vice President Joe Biden took to the stage at the 88th Annual Academy Awards to deliver a message about sexual assault.
Biden recently took a break from organizing a national initiative to cure cancer to help launch a program that asks young people to fight against sexual assault by standing up and intervening if they see a situation “where consent cannot or has not been given.”
Taking the microphone at the Academy Awards ceremony, Biden was greeted with a standing ovation from the attendees. The applause was so intense, in fact, that Biden had to settle people down with a joke, telling the collected group of megastars, “I’m the least qualified man here tonight.”
— MTV News (@MTVNews) February 29, 2016
During his brief remarks, Biden made it clear that victim-blaming had no place in our society.
“Let’s change the culture so that no abused woman or man ever feels they have to ask themselves ‘What did I do?’ They did nothing wrong.”
The vice president was joined by Lady Gaga, who helped make a documentary on the subject of date-rape on college campuses. The two promoted a website called ItsOnUs.org that will help spread the message of what people can do to help stop sexual assaults in universities around the country. Afterwards, Lady Gaga performed a song she had written for the documentary. At the conclusion, she was joined by survivors of sexual assault. The performance brought the house down and reduced many in the audience to tears.
— ABC News (@ABC) February 29, 2016
After the performance, Biden tweeted a photo of himself and Lady Gaga.
— Vice President Biden (@VP) February 29, 2016
And to those cynics who might believe a speech during the Oscars won’t accomplish anything, consider this: From the instant it was mentioned, the ItsOnUs.org website was brought to a crawl under the weight of the traffic. That’s a lot of eyes on an issue that is far too often swept under the rug and ignored.
Featured image via ABC News/Twitter