WASHINGTON — Vice President Joe Biden said Friday the nation needs to bring young men into the struggle against domestic violence by encouraging them to stand against the crime on college campuses.
Biden, speaking at a meeting of the Democratic National Committee's women's leadership forum, said the 20th anniversary of the Violence Against Women Act highlights the need to fight domestic violence against women in their teens and 20s.
Biden said the administration would be unrelenting "to make it clear that it is cowardly not to step up."
The vice president reiterated the message Friday afternoon at a round table on domestic violence issues in Denver. "You have an absolute obligation to intervene when you see violence taking place," Biden said of men. "That's manhood. That's being a man."
President Barack Obama and Biden unveiled a campaign Friday to target domestic violence on college campuses. The vice president also was holding a round-table discussion on domestic violence later in the day in Denver, where he planned a fundraiser for Democrat Andrew Romanoff, who is challenging GOP Rep. Mike Coffman in a competitive congressional district.
Biden, who pushed the anti-violence measure in the 1990s as a Delaware senator, said an estimated 1 in 5 college women is attacked and that the new campaign would urge college students to make sure their friends are safe and to intervene before an assault takes place.
The vice president spoke as the National Football League has been struggling to deal with several cases involving players accused of committing violence against women or children. Biden said the league was smart to hire one of his former aides, Cynthia Hogan. "The NFL hasn't seen nothing yet," Biden said.
The vice president spoke at a daylong forum for more than 500 of the DNC's top female donors and activists. Democrats hope to mobilize female voters in large numbers this fall, and Biden cited a number of key races, including Senate campaigns featuring female incumbents in Louisiana, North Carolina and New Hampshire and the Texas governor's race featuring Democrat Wendy Davis.
Biden said Democrats should "make sure we don't slide back a decade by losing the Senate and losing ground in the House."
The vice president said the Republican party had changed since his time in the Senate, naming some former GOP colleagues who worked across party lines. He mentioned GOP efforts to expand the so-called "motor voter" legislation back then, mentioning the late Maryland Sen. Charles "Mac" Mathias and the last name of former Sen. Bob Packwood, R-Ore.
It was an awkward reference, considering Packwood was forced to resign from the Senate in 1995 after several women accused him of making unwanted or uninvited sexual advances.