"Despite significant progress over the last few years, too many women and men on and off college campuses are still victims of sexual abuse," he began, "and tonight, I’m asking you to join millions of Americans…to take the pledge: a pledge that says that I will intervene in situations when consent has not or cannot be given. Let's change the culture."
Lada Gaga proceeded to perform her single 'Til it Happens to You' from The Hunting Ground - a recent documentary on rape on college campuses. Gaga had reminded us earlier that night on the red carpet that she is actually a rape survivor. Towards the end of her emotional performance, the curtain behind her was lifted and she was joined by sexual assault survivors with things like "It's not my fault" or "It happened to me" written on their arms. The moment received a standing ovation and left audience members in tears.
Joe Biden had directed viewers towards the site ItsOnUs.org, where people can take the pledge:
To RECOGNIZE that non-consensual sex is sexual assault.To IDENTIFY situations in which sexual assault may occur.
To INTERVENE in situations where consent has not or cannot be given.
To CREATE an environment in which sexual assault is unacceptable and survivors are supported.
By the end of Gaga's performance when we logged on to take the pledge, the site had crashed.
When we first started making Paper Crane 4 years ago, it was with the belief that media, film in particular, can help end rape culture. Last night's Oscar ceremony is proof that we are not alone in thinking so. It is our responsibility as artists - and as humans - to contribute to this fight against rape and sexual violence. And last night both Hollywood and the White House stood with us too.
In light of such a major public statement, we decided we want to make Paper Crane accessible to even more viewers. If you've been following us for the past four years on our Facebook page, THANK YOU! You can still keep up with us on Facebook. But we're also introducing this brand new website which will hopefully show you a little more about the film and about who we are.
We'll be posting photos and updates of our process as we continue the film. You'll also be able to find articles on things we care about, such as rape/sexual violence in the media, women in film, and resources for survivors. Please feel free to leave us comments or questions. One of our main goals is to have a forum on the site where survivors can post - especially if they are inspired by the film - in a safe way and feel like they can be heard. This is in the works and we'll be sure to keep the blog updated.
So, thanks for sticking with us and for checking out our new site. Now, go take the pledge!