On Thursday, Vice President Joe Biden teamed up with top athletes across a spectrum of sports and entertainment to unveil a new public service announcement (PSA) as part of his “1 is 2 Many” initiative, which advocates against dating violence in girls and women between the ages of 16 to 24.
The PSA featured President Obama, Vice President Biden, MLB executive vice president Joe Torre, LA Galaxy player David Beckham, Knicks player Jeremy Lin, Tampa Bay Ray Evan Longoria, NY Giants quarterback Eli Manning, Philadelphia Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins and ESPN Correspondent Andy Katz.
“If you strike a woman, you’re not a man — you’re a coward,” Biden said at the unveiling.
Biden was joined onstage by Tampa Bay Rays player David Price and Philles shortstop Jimmy Rollins, who both spoke out against dating violence.
“I may not always stand with the Phillies and Jimmy Rollins, especially since they beat us in the 2008 World Series,” Price said, “but today me and him are up here together to stand up for the same cause – and that is fear of abuse. It’s something that no one should go through from a husband or a boyfriend or a date.”
The new PSA targets boys and young men, and the vice president called on athletes to act as role models. Biden painted an image of young men across the United States hearing the voices of their favorite athletes on television and listening intently to their message.
“These guys are going to knock them on their … they’re gonna say something to them,” Biden said of athletes supporting his 1 is 2 Many initiative.
The vice president launched the 1 is 2 Many campaign in September 2011, because “even one incident is too many.”
The PSA is the most recent step taken by the Obama administration to combat teen and dating violence. According to the Center for Disease Control, approximately 1 in 5 women who have ever experienced rape, physical violence or stalking by an intimate partner experienced some form of partner violence between the ages of 11 and 17.
The campaign goes together with Biden’s brainchild, the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), passed in 1994 and renewed in 2012. The act first sought to improve criminal justice and community-based responses to domestic violence and dating violence, among others.
In April 2011, as Congress was working to renew the act, the Department of Education sent a “dear colleague” letter to colleges and universities urging for a lower burden of proof in sexual harassment and violence cases. Under this burden of proof, a male could be convicted if it is “more likely than not” that sexual harassment and violence has occurred, sacrificing the rights of those accused in domestic violence cases, the Daily Caller reported last year.
However, despite opposition from House Republicans, the VAWA was renewed, officially making this lower burden of proof legal.
Since the launch of the 1 is 2 Many campaign, the administration has expanded the National Dating Violence Hotline, created an app to reach out to teens and young adults, legally lowered the burden of proof under Title IX and modernized the FBI’s definition of rape.