The Grammy Awards hit the “pause” button in the middle of last night’s celebration to deliver a strong message from President Obama about violence against women.
“It’s not OK, and it has to stop!” Obama said, calling on artists everywhere to help change public attitudes. Mr. Obama cited statistics showing that 1 out of every 5 women have been victims of rape or attempted rape, and 1 out of every 4 women have dealt with some form of domestic violence.
“Artists have a unique power to change minds and attitudes, to get us thinking and talking about what matters.” Obama said. “All of us in our own lives have the power to set an example.”
Obama urged the artists in attendance to sign an anti-violence pledge at ItsOnUs.org, “…and ask your fans to do it too.”
After the President’s message, domestic violence advocate Brooke Axtell described her domestic violence experience and her failed attempts to change her abuser’s behavior.
“My empathy was used against me,” Axtell said. “I was terrified of him and ashamed I was in this position. Axtell then urged women everywhere to speak up! “Your voice will save you. Let it part the darkness. Let it set you free to know who you truly are.”
Katy Perry then took the stage, singing “By the Grace of God.”
The President’s PSA comes on the heels of another domestic violence PSA that aired during last week’s Super Bowl.