The public service announcement represents the latest installment in the White House's ongoing "It's On Us," campaign, which aims to end sexual assaults on college campuses. The administration began the effort in September, with the support of major college sports leagues and prominent celebrities.
Obama asked the artists featured at the Grammys to ask their fans to make the same pledge that these prominent figures have made, along with students from more than 200 colleges and universities, several collegiate sports organizations, and some private firms. He said nearly 1 in 5 women in the U.S. has experienced rape or attempted rape, and that more than 1 in 4 has suffered some form of domestic violence.
Those statistics come from a survey released by the Centers for Disease Control in September, which concluded an estimated 19.3% of women have been raped and an estimated 27.3% of women have experienced contact sexual violence, physical violence or stalking by an intimate partner during their lifetimes. A separate administration estimate, that 1 in 5 women on college campuses have been raped during their time there, has been found to be inaccurate.
"Artists have a unique power to change minds and attitudes, and get us thinking and talking about what matters," he said. "And all of us, in our own lives, have the power to set an example. Join our campaign to stop this violence."
The administration has aggressively used Title IX, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender at schools that receive federal funding, to push institutions of higher education to reexamine their policies regarding sexual harassment and sexual assault. The Education Department's Office of Civil Rights is investigating dozens of colleges and universities under the law. As of Dec. 24, it was looking at cases at 92 schools.
The campaign's ads have been viewed online more than 4 million times and, through a partnership with iHeart Radio, have aired on more than 800 stations nationwide.
In the closing moments of Obama's spot, he added, “It’s on us – all of us - to create a culture where violence isn’t tolerated, where survivors are supported, and where all our young people – men and women – can go as far as their talents and their dreams will take them.”