Online Program Raises Awareness Of Role Alcohol Plays In Sexual Assaults

Posted at 10:36 PM, Dec 01, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-02 17:03:21-05

Nashville's Sexual Assault Center has offered new training tools for local bartenders to possibly help stop sexual assaults.

Through the online course, Safe Bar Project, bartenders and staff in the restaurant industry learn what role alcohol can play in sexual assaults.

Sharon Travis with Nashville's Sexual Assault Center wants people to drink safely. She says she knows sometimes predators might take advantage of people through alcoholic beverages. 

"Alcohol is the number one date rape drug and so what we really want to make sure people do is recognize alcohol is not the problem it’s people using alcohol as a weapon to take advantage of another person," Travis said.

Travis said the program was initiated after the 2017 Vanderbilt rape trial. She also has seen an increase of reported sexual assaults at local bars.

"There were a lots of questions that we got from all of the community on why so many people saw what was going on and no one got involved," she said.

Safe Bar Project also offers bystander prevention techniques for restaurant staff.

"I think the main goal of bystander interventions is to do it safely. We want you to intervene, we want you to do it safely. We don't want snitches getting stitches right," Travis said.

Once you register and complete the 20 minute course you will receive a certificate and 10 Safe Bar Screening coasters which can check if an alcoholic drink has been drugged. 

If a drug has been placed in a drink, a person can take a little bit of the drink and put it onto the coaster. If has been drugged, it'll turn bright blue.

Travis hopes bar managers have their staff take the course found on the center's website because sometime bar patrons may simply want someone to talk to.

"I think sometimes our bartenders are the armchair counselors and so we want to make sure that if someone does disclose to them, even if it was something that happened prior not necessarily in that space at that time, that they know how to respond," she said.

The center plans to officially launch the program in April 2018, during National Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

If you or someone you know has been affected by sexual violence, call the Crisis & Support hotline at 1-800-879-1999.