President Barack Obama took time during the 2015 Grammys to send a message against sexual assault. The segment was followed by a speech from a domestic violence survivor, Brooke Axtell, and a performance by Katy Perry.
“Tonight we celebrate artists whose music and message help shape our culture. Together we can change our culture for the better by ending violence against women and girls,” Obama said.
He listed statistics such as one in five women being raped or dealing with an attempted rape and one in four women facing domestic violence. He noted these disturbing statistics had to stop and said artists, like those attending the Grammy Awards, could help.
“Artists have a unique power to change minds and attitudes and get us thinking and talking about what matters. And all of us in our own lives have the power to set an example,” he added.
Obama encouraged artists to ask their fans to sign the It’s On Us pledge. Those who sign it agree to recognize sexual assault and intervene to stop it when they see signs of it. It also encourages people to create safe environments for survivors. The hashtag #ItsOnUs was trending worldwide on Twitter after the president's message aired.
Watch Obama’s message for the It’s On Us campaign below:
After Obama's taped message, Brooke Axtell came onstage at the Grammy Awards to share her story. She revealed she once fell in love with someone who was abusive. She said she stayed with him because she believed she could help him.
“When he threatened to kill me, I knew I had to escape,” Axtell said. “I revealed the truth to my mom, and she encouraged me to seek help at a local domestic violence shelter. This conversation saved my life. Authentic love does not devalue another human being. Authentic love does not silence, shame or abuse. If you are in a relationship with someone who does not honor and respect you, I want you to know that you are worthy of love. Please reach out for help.”
Axtell’s speech led into a performance by Katy Perry. The former Christian music artist performed a song from her album “Prism” called “By the Grace of God.”