June 23, 2012
WASHINGTON - Georgetown University student-athletes were part of a group of athletes from across the Metropolitan area invited to the White House on Thursday to help launch a public service announcement with Vice President Joe Biden aimed at helping raise awareness about dating violence prevention.
Georgetown Associate Athletics Director for Compliance Mark Rountree led a group of student-athletes including Rafael Notario (men's tennis), Christina O'Tousa (women's soccer) and Claire Raskob (women's rowing) to the White House for the release of a new public service announcement that will air on ESPN and various other platforms this summer.
The PSA, based on Biden's '1 is 2 Many' campaign, also features President Barack Obama, Joe Torre, David Beckham, Jeremy Lin, Evan Longoria, Eli Manning, Jimmy Rollins, and Andy Katz. The video delivers the message that dating violence is unacceptable.
"We were given the opportunity to view the PSA regarding dating violence," Raskob said. "Dating violence and domestic violence have been a huge problem in the United States and Vice President Biden has been working for the past 20 years to combat these forms of violence. It was very lifting to see the amount of support he's received for this effort."
The opportunity to be at the White House and to see Biden introduce the campaign was a great experience for the student-athletes. O'Tousa said that Biden spoke of the importance of prevent violence against women and that it was an issue dear to him because of lessons he had learned from his father. Biden was responsible for the 1994 Violence Against Women Act, which reduced domestic violence against women by 60 to 70 percent.
"Biden was a greater speaker, both comical and passionate," O'Tousa said. "Considering that the bill actually faced some opposition at the time from those who believed that the government shouldn't be controlling what happens in the "private life," it is clear that Biden's 1994 bill has been remarkably effective in helping to change the American "culture."
In response to alarming statistics concerning dating violence and sexual assault, Biden launched the `1 is 2 Many' campaign, which focuses on a longstanding commitment to reducing violence against women, specifically on teens and young women ages 16-24.
"He is doing this by having role models of young men, like professional athletes or college athletes, give the signal that violence against women is not acceptable," O'Tousa said. "Because girls and women have become brave in asking for help when they are facing abuse even though it could put them in immediate danger, Biden challenges men to be just as brave and stop their friends who engage in violence acts with women."