We’ve all heard the excuses.
“Well, he was drunk.”
“But he’s such a nice guy.”
“He didn’t mean it.”
But they don’t excuse anything. For survivors of sexual violence, these words – their stubborn, insistent existence – only exasperates the pain.
“He said he was sorry.”
“It was just a misunderstanding.”
“It only happened once.”
So what can be done? After all, boys will be boys. Right?
“It’s none of my business.”
“This is a women’s issue.”
“Yeah, no, we don’t talk about that.”
“We’re never gonna change it.”
“It’s sad, but, um, we’re never gonna fix it.”
The Joyful Heart Foundation does not believe that we will never fix this. That a culture that excuses rape and sexual assault is normal. That there are any excuses left. That boys will just always be boys, and what boys will be is dismissive, aggressive, willful, and, ultimately, excused.
The organization believes that we have had “Enough.” In a powerful new PSA campaign of the same name, produced in conjunction with Viacom Velocity, the organization commandeers these vile but pervasive words and challenges men to actively transform how we view and talk about sexual assault.
They brought company. Joyful Heart founder Mariska Hargitay, who also stars on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, rallied her costars and many other public figures to stand up against this archaic language: Andre Braugher, Andrew Rannells, Anthony Edwards, Blair Underwood, Chris Meloni, Daniel Dae Kim, Dann Florek, Danny Pino, Dave Navarro, David Marciano, Ice-T, Nick Lachey, Peter Hermann, Raul Esparza and Tate Donovan.
The series of PSAs, which will air across MTV, VH1, TV Land, BET, and Spike, among other Viacom properties, is a bold challenge to men: let’s change how we talk about this, so we can, some day, end it.