Former United States Vice President Joe Biden introduced a landmark piece of legislation as a senator in 1990 with the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which increased penalties for repeat offenders and changed the way law enforcement and prosecution handles cases of domestic abuse and sexual assault—setting the tone for a career of one of the most high-profile male advocates in the fight women’s rights.
As Vice President, Biden appointed the first-ever White House Advisor on Violence Against Women, Lynn Rosenthal. His focus over these two terms in office has narrowed to reducing dating violence against students, teens and young women age 14-24 – a demographic yet to experience notable decreases in offenses.
In September 2014, Biden and President Barack Obama launched the “It’s On Us” initiative, urging both men and women across the country to step off the sidelines and take personal accountability and action toward ending campus sexual assault. The #ItsOnUs movement continues to grow, garnering global support from celebrities, activists, students, survivors and beyond.
In 2016, Biden told attendees of the World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, that as leaders they must help change the culture of sexual harassment and abuse. Regardless of other business accomplishments, he reminded them that women still face discrimination, and that women deserve to live their lives free from fear.
“None of this matters if a woman is not safe: safe in her workplace, safe in her home, safe on the street. It’s a basic human right — the right to be safe,” Biden said.
From worldwide business to local college campuses, Vice President Biden has described ending violence against women as “the cause of my life”—a cause that’s truly impacted the lives of so many women.