Earlier this week a friend of mine took her high school-aged daughter to go see the Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill comedy, 22 Jump Street. As with all movies seen on the big screen, there were trailers and commercials shown before the main attraction. This showing also had a Public Service Announcement (PSA) created by the White House. The “1 Is 2 Many” campaign was launched on April 29 and, according to a statement from the White House, “will air in select Regal Entertainment Group and Cinemark movie theaters, over NCM Media Networks’ Lobby Entertainment Network (LEN), and in movie theaters on military installations and ships underway worldwide starting in May.”
The PSA begins with actors Benicio Del Toro, Dulé Hill, Seth Meyers, and Steve Carell speaking directly to the camera: “We have a big problem and we need your help. It’s happening at college campuses, at bars, at parties, even high schools. It’s happening to our sisters and our daughters. Our wives and our friends. It’s called sexual assault and it has to stop. We have to stop it.”
This is a PSA about consent. This is a PSA about sexual assault. This is a message that is being shown to audiences across the world this summer.
The first time I watched the “1 Is 2 Many” video I was speechless. It truly is powerful messaging. It’s still unusual for me to see men TALK about sexual assault in any sort of public platform. It’s not a vanity subject and more often than not it has been dismissed as a women’s issue within mainstream media. Seeing celebrities taking on the cause of consent is kind of WOW.
I thought about the kind of audience who might see the “1 Is 2 Many” PSA. The audience my friend was a part of for 22 Jump Street was comprised of mostly high school boys. Is “consent” something they have even had conversations about yet? Having just the word defined for them within the video is a PSA.
Thirty seconds into 1 Is 2 Many they explain, “If she doesn’t consent or if she can’t consent, it’s rape. It’s assault. It’s a crime. It’s wrong.” Then these words spoken by Daniel Craig, “If I saw it happening, I’d never blame her, I’d help her.” With that, the video shifts into a lesson of sorts. It goes from: there is a problem, to this is what the problem is, to this is what you can do to help.
In my opinion, THAT is the greatness of this message. It’s not just statistics, it’s action-oriented. It reminds our boys and men that they CAN help end violence against women.
Earlier this year the White House launched a website to provide resources to victims of assault. The site is geared towards assault victims from high schools and college campuses. Through NotAlone.gov you can find a local crisis service, learn your school’s policies on sexual assault, and how to file a complaint. The key message is: You are NOT alone.
On the “1 Is 2 Many” site there are suggestions for how to be a part of the solution. One of the suggestions that stands out the most is about language. I think the PSA is the first domino for many in understanding that.
“Speak up if you hear comments that promote violence against women. Be aware of language that you use that degrades women and survivors of other identities.”
Watch the 1 Is 2 Many PSA:
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