Vice-president calls for changing attitudes about violence

By Michelle Manchir

 

PEORIA, Ill. — - Vice President Joe Biden, speaking Wednesday at an anti-violence event in central Illinois, called for "educating the whole society" to dispel cultural attitudes that lead to sexual assaults.

 

Biden was joined by Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., at the Center for Prevention of Abuse fundraiser, attended by 1,100 people at the Peoria Civic Center.

 

The vice president, a former Democratic senator from Delaware, discussed his work to pass the Violence Against Women Act in 1994. In advancing the legislation, Biden said, he had to confront state laws that permitted rape within a marriage and combat cultural assumptions that women "ask to be raped" when they wear short skirts or walk alone late at night.

 

"No man, no man, no man, under any condition other than self-defense, has the right to raise his hand to a woman. No condition. None. Zero," he said.

 

The vice president, who said he used to target men's groups when talking about these issues, reminded the men in the room they too are potential victims of rape.

 

"Why don't you report it? Because you're ashamed," Biden said. "You don't want your friends to know a man raped you. ... How about women in our society? How easy do you think it is for a woman to go home and say, ‘I've been raped'?"

 

Biden also thanked those at the event who assist victims of assault and abuse.

 

"You're doing God's work," he told them.

 

He also praised Durbin for his anti-violence work in the Senate and LaHood, a former Republican congressman from Peoria.

 

Biden said LaHood was "literally the first name that was raised to be in the Cabinet … which goes to show you this is an all-Illinois team."

 

While in Peoria, the vice president stopped by two local institutions, George's Shoeshine and the Spotted Cow, an ice cream joint.

 

George's is a favorite stop for LaHood, and also has been visited by President Barack Obama and former Presidents George W. Bush, Ronald Reagan and Gerald Ford.

 

Owner George Manias, who has shined shoes for 63 years, said of Biden: "He talks just like an ordinary person, a nice guy."

 

In honor of Biden, the Spotted Cow renamed its chocolate chip ice cream "Chip off the Old Biden." During the visit to the ice cream parlor, Biden, Durbin and LaHood met with local business people.

 

(To read original article, visit this Chicago Tribune link.)

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