Biden: 'We can do a great deal more' to fight college sexual assaults

Vice President Biden sought Tuesday to humanize the numbers behind college sexual assaults.

Meeting with survivors, educators and student advocates as part of the White House's task force examining ways to prevent sexual assaults on college campuses, Biden said he was committed never to view the victims of campus sexual assault as "statistics."

"Every single one of these numbers is a young woman," Biden said, noting that survivors of sexual violence can suffer long-term physical effects following their attack.

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"We can do a great deal more than we're doing," he said, telling the assembled group that he wanted to hear "what we should be doing that we're aren't doing and what we're doing that's not making sense."

The meeting is one of nine in-person "listening sessions" hosted by the White House as part of the administration's review of sexual assault policies. White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett and Lynn Rosenthal, the White House adviser on Violence Against Women, also attended.

Last month, President Obama announced he was giving the task force three months to gather specific recommendations on how universities can better respond to sexual assaults. An estimated one in five women is the victim of sexual violence during their time enrolled in college.

Obama is also asking the task force to provide recommendations on how the federal government can track and promote how well individual schools are responding to the issue, and punish universities that fail to confront the issue.

"When a young woman drops out of school after being attacked, that’s not just a terrible loss for her, it’s a loss for our country," Obama said.

At the announcement, Obama said men had a role to play in preventing sexual assault as well — a theme Biden reiterated Tuesday.

"Looking the other way is wrong, simply wrong," he said. "If you see someone in trouble, a man has an obligation to help, to speak out."