Joe Biden on campus sexual assault: ‘No means no and no exceptions’

URBANA, Ill. – Vice President Joe Biden visited the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign campus Thursday to applaud the efforts of the university’s “It’s On Us” campaign.

The “It’s On Us” initiative was launched by the White House last September to help put an end to sexual assault on college campuses. The initiative encourages bystander intervention, saying that “it’s on everyone” to step in and say something, do something to combat sexual assault.

Fixing the problem of sexual assault on college campuses is something Biden is clearly passionate about, making it clear everyone — including colleges — need to take responsibility in stopping sexual assault.

“All too often those institutions re-victimize the victim in the process; that happens on some college campuses when you report,” Biden said. “There’s no doubt that colleges and universities have to step up.”

Biden focused on the importance of bystander intervention, the crux of the campaign, and putting the responsibility on everyone to recognize when consent is given and taken away.

“Any time consent isn’t or cannot be given, it is sexual assault,” Biden said. “That should be the standard…that’s the standard I’m insisting on, that’s the standard we should all be insisting on.

“No means no and no exceptions. No means no even if you start and decide to stop. No means no.”

Biden was joined by former “Gossip Girl” actress Jessican Szohr and Illinois Student Senate President Mitch Dickey on stage and introduced by Rep.Rodney Davis (R-IL), with Davis calling Biden one of the nicest people in Washington, and Biden saying Davis is “proof Republicans and Democrats can get along.” Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan was also present, introducing the day’s events.

Biden’s visit was part of the national Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month.