Sometimes humor is the best way to talk about something that's serious and uncomfortable — like what you should do if you see someone being sexually harassed.
That's why Joe Biden's It's On Us Campaign, which he started three years ago with Barack Obama to fight sexual assault on college campuses, teamed up with Comedy Central for a new light-hearted PSA about being an empowered bystander.
The video follows Guy Davis, who is a typical college guy but who the narrator dubs "Action Guy," throughout his day and into a house party on Saturday night. At the party, "Action Guy" comes across and stops two men who are harassing women, one who keeps touching a woman even though she tells him to stop and one who repeatedly asks a woman if she wants to go upstairs even though she says no. He also walks home with a friend who said she was "getting weird vibes from this guy across the room."
It's a simple, funny, tongue-in-cheek video with a narrator who insists that this regular dude (and also a regular woman at the end of the video) is actually a superhero, despite Guy Davis' repeated assurance that there's nothing super about him.
And that's precisely the point. There's nothing super about him. This guy didn't need "superhuman abilities of detection" to hear that a woman was being harassed. He "just heard her...with my ears," and stepped in to help. In case it isn't obvious, the point the video and the It's On Us campaign is making is that anyone can be an empowered bystander and protect others against the kind of sexual harassment the women in this video were facing.
"#ProTip to anyone looking to face their arch nemesis* at a frat party — bystander intervention doesn't take super powers, it just takes courage," the It's On Us website reads.
There, along with the video, is a pledge people can take to promise to step in like Guy Davis and protect others against sexual harassment. More than 440,000 people have taken the pledge so far, an It's On Us representative tells Refinery29. It's an important reminder, especially as more and more people (mostly women) are coming forward about their experiences with sexual harassment and assault.
The video is funny, but it points to a very serious problem — one that's not restricted to college campuses. And it's time we all take the pledge to help whenever and however we can.
If you have experienced sexual violence and are in need of crisis support, please call the RAINN Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).
Read these stories next: