Steve Carell, Daniel Craig and Obama PSA on Sexual Assault

In a move that prompts the question “What the hell took you so long?,” the White House released a PSA focused on debunking the myth that sexual assault is solely a women’s issue. Starring Daniel Craig, Benicio Del Toro, Steve Carell, Seth Meyers and the President and Vice President themselves, the PSA promotes bystander intervention and condemns victim-blaming attitudes.

The PSA is the second video in the White House’s “1 is 2 Many” campaign, linked to the White House Task Force’s “Not Alone” initiative to provide resources for combatting sexual assault to students, advocates, and universities.

The exclusively male cast of the PSA is meant to send the (apparently radical) message that men can help prevent sexual assault and are indeed a critical part of the fight against sexual violence.

While official recognition and action against sexual assault is absolutely better late than never, the PSA completely disregards the prevalence of male and transgender sexual assault, and adopts a bizarre patriarchal “protector” ethos in the delivery of the message. Steve Carell and Daniel Craig inform us that “It’s happening to our sisters, and our daughters, our wives and our friends,” with such hyperbolic solemnity that you feel like your dad is lecturing you.

In an effort that seeks to aid in preventing sexual violence against women, the omission of actual women from the PSA seems misguided. It’s admirable that the White House wants to raise awareness of sexual assault and remove the perception that preventing sexual violence is a women’s responsibility, but choosing to convey the message from a “man to man” perspective only promotes the gender stereotypes that help produce rape culture to begin with.

The PSA is an important early step in combating sexual violence of all forms, but its clumsy composition shows that we’ve only scratched the surface in the struggle against a pervasive rape culture.

 

~ Steve Carell, Daniel Craig and Obama PSA on Sexual Assault ~


Courtney Hamilton

An avid writer, reader, feminist and french fry fanatic.