Rutgers University

Biden Comes to New Brunswick with Frank Discussion About Sexual Assault

Former US vice president Joe Biden at Rutgers - New Brunswick on October 12. Credits: Daniel J. Munoz

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - Joe Biden called upon Rutgers University students to take an active stance to end sexual assault during a  discussion October 12 visit to the university.

The former vice president was on campus speaking for the “It’s On Us” nationwide campaign against sexual assault on college campuses.

An estimated 1,000 students and Rutgers affiliates attended, breaking out into applause throughout the rally.

Sign Up for E-News

The event was part of Rutgers’ week-long “Turn the Campus Purple” campaign, focused on understanding and preventing domestic abuse, sexual assault and relationship violence.

Biden commended Rutgers’ leadership in working to end sexual assault, citing 24-hour service for victims and leading the country in research. But he said more must be done.

“Everyone has a role in changing the culture that enables sexual violence,” Biden said.

“We want to make it clear to everyone, from the president to the dean of students, to the coaches, you all have a responsibility to speak upwhen you see (sexual assault),” Biden said, “We’re calling on men to step, in, whether it’s at a bar, or a party, or a dorm room.”

Indeed, a slam poetry skit put on by three students, Marwa Adina, Dena Igusti, Justice Hehir, prior to Biden’s appearance, called on male college students, especially those in Greek life, to actively organize against sexual assault.

The performance criticized the practice of ratio at fraternity parties, saying “our value changing base on the ratio,” and also called out an alleged practice in some fraternities of maintaining that “we’re not like all the other Greek organizations.”

Biden cited as many as one in five women in college being the victims of sexual assault, adding that sexual assault is the main reason women will drop out of college.

Yet sexual assault has “buried and ingrained” itself into society and “enshrined in our legal system,” Biden said, making it all the more harder to advocates to put an end to it.

“Why wasn’t the dinner ready when I came home, why did you speak to him that way,” Biden asked rhetorically, citing one example.

The former vice president also took the opportunity to chastise the Trump administration’s stance, or lack thereof, of campus sexual assault.

“I know the president talks about locker room talk. They didn't talk that way in my locker room,” Biden said, prompting cheers from the crowd.

Biden was also critical of US Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos’s decision to rescind Obama-era Title IX guidelines, which required schools to use the “preponderance of the evidence” standard when judging sexual violence cases.

That standard calls for enough evidence to show that something is more likely than not to be true.

Preceding Biden’s appearance, a number of different students had the chance to tell the crowd their stories of how they’ve survived domestic abuse or sexual assault, and the road to recovery.

One student, Cassandra Grod, spoke of how she was affected by two separate stalkers.

“My first boyfriend was the poster child of narcissism, and followed the step-by-step directions,” Grod said. “He began to physically abuse me, but then he’d also bring me roses.”

Eventually, Grod said, the stalking reached the point where she was sexually assaulted. In the months to follow, Grod said she suffered with binge eating and purging rituals.

Six months later, Grod’s mother convinced her to attend therapy, during which she was diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder.

“I’m living a shame-free life, in spite of a society that tells me I don't deserve to,” Grod told the crowd, to cheers from the crowd.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Like

Sign Up for E-News

New Brunswick

The Jaffe Briefing - October 20, 2017

OUR TAKE ON THE NEWS IN NEW JERSEY

CAMDEN - Troubled. Crime-infested. Failing. Pick your own tried-and-true adjective to describe Camden. But even the haters have a tough time ignoring that plenty is being invested in our southern waterfront city. Just yesterday, a whole bunch of important people broke ground on the Joint Health Sciences Center, a 95,000-square-foot building promising to ...

Police investigating assault near College Ave Campus early Saturday morning

October 21, 2017

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - A group of eight or nine men surrounded and assaulted a man in the early morning hours of Saturday, October 21, according to Rutgers police.

The victim, described as a man “affiliated with Rutgers University,” was approached by the group in the area of Bishop Place adjacent to College Avenue at roughly 2:20 a.m., police said, after which the men ran off in an ...

New Brunswick Plows Ahead with Amazon Proposal

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - Newark may have gotten the state’s stamp of approval for the Amazon HQ2, but local officials say the Hub City still has what it takes.

The New Brunswick Development Corporation (DEVCO) submitted its application directly to Amazon on Tuesday, October 17, said Chris Paladino, DEVCO’s president, adding that he was “very proud” of the ...

Rutgers student sexually assaulted in College Avenue dorm room

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - A female student affiliated with the university was reportedly sexually assaulted when a man randomly walked into her dorm room on October 13, according to police.

The assault happened at around 4:30 p.m. in Mettler Hall on College Avenue, Rutgers police said in a university-wide crime alert.

The victim was sitting in her room with the door open, when an unknown man ...

South Brunswick Police Offering Reward For Gas Station Shooting Information

October 16, 2017

SOUTH BRUNSWICK, NJ – Police, in conjunction with Middlesex County, are offering a reward for information regarding Sunday morning’s shooting during a botched robbery at a Route 27 gas station that left the attendant in serious condition.

In a press release Monday afternoon, Chief of Police Raymond Hayducka said the department is offering a reward for information about the robbery ...

OPINION

A Call to Action on Healthcare

September 24, 2017

Dear TAPInto New Brunswick,

On July 29, 2016, one week after my 41st birthday, with no warning, I experienced a Spontaneous Coronary Artery Dissection. SCAD is an uncommon heart condition that causes arteries in the heart to tear, leading to a blockage of the artery, and, in my case, a heart attack.  I HAVE NO KNOWN RISK FACTORS FOR HEART DISEASE.  

I am a mother of two young ...

Celebrate Halloween with Spooky Storytelling and Crafts at Piscataway’s East Jersey Old Towne

October 21, 2017

PISCATAWAY, NJ – The Middlesex County Cultural and Heritage Commission invites county residents to experience this year’s spooky Halloween themed programs.

These free programs will take place at The Village in East Jersey Olde Towne Village at 1050 River Road in Piscataway. Refreshments will be served and costumes are welcomed.

Friday, October 24 at 7 p.m. - Children’s ...

No Government Shutdown for Now, But Medicaid Remains at Risk

October 2, 2017

While federal lawmakers avoided a government shutdown this fall, the next budget battle is just months away. Because Congress approved only a short-term fix, leaders will need to once again negotiate a spending plan and the debt ceiling.

Despite the recent bipartisan deal, Medicaid remains a primary target for budget cuts.

People with disabilities, advocates, and concerned citizens deserve ...