Safe Bars uses innovative bystander education and self-defense strategies to empower DC-area bar staff to stand up against sexual harassment and assault.
Safe Bars, a project of Collective Action for Safe Spaces (CASS) and Defend Yourself, trains and empowers staff at bars, clubs, and restaurants to recognize and respond to incidents of sexual harassment and assault among staff and patrons.
- Educates bar staff about the causes and extent of unwanted sexual aggression;
- Helps bar staff recognize inappropriate behavior along the continuum of sexual and relationship violence;
- Provides bar staff with the skills needed to respond to such behavior safely and appropriately, whether by stepping in or when asked for help;
- Shares with bar patrons safety messages that encourage respect and letscustomers know that bar staff are available for help.
- A bar thathasgone through the Safe Bars training will be a safer, more comfortable, more fun place for you and your friends to hang out.
Nearly 1 in 5 women will be raped in their lifetimes. About half of all sexual assault perpetrators are under the influence of alcohol at the time of the assault.
CASS regularly receives submissions from D.C.-area residents about unwanted sexual attention, including harassment and groping, in local bars and clubs. Sexual aggressors may use these environments as places for selecting, isolating, and even incapacitating their targets. Recent examples include:
- “Throughout the night he’d intentionally bump into and rub against my partner, which was making her uncomfortable.”
- “On his way out to leave he stopped in front of me and…kissed me on the lips and ran out the door. While I was standing there looking shocked and disgusted, the bouncer at the door just laughed and said ‘is that how you roll?'”
- “A third time he comes over, holds my shoulders, and shakes me hard. I push his hands off of me and shout, ‘You need to take your hands off me right now!’ and he pushes me again. My friends laughed and told me I had overreacted, and nobody standing around in the crowded bar helped me out.”
- “While out with a group of friends…I had a disgusting loser come up and grab my butt.”
Bar owners, managers, security personnel, and other staff are in a unique position to observe and intervene to prevent sexual assault by creating a safe space for patrons. Bystander intervention programs increase both responsive and proactive bystander involvement.
If you’re a member of the community and want to help us spread the word about Safe Bars, tell us of a bar you think could use this training, or support Safe Bars in any other way, contact email@example.com or 202-441-1129.
If you work at a bar, club, restaurant or other alcohol-serving establishment and you’d like to become a Safer Bar, we’d be happy to come and work with your staff. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org 301-608-3708 to discuss details.