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Here's how 'Safe Bar' is teaching alcohol-serving bars how to respond to sexual harassment situations

The new initiative provides bystander intervention training for staff members at local bars, helping them recognize harassment more quickly and keep customers safe.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Sexual assault advocacy organizations are on a mission to prevent sexual harassment in places like bars and nightclubs. 

This new effort is called Safe Bar, which teaches staff how to safely respond during possible sexual harassment situations.

The national initiative was founded in Washington, D.C. 

"I think it's important to feel safe in the environments that you work in, that you play in, that you sleep in. When we have a safe environment, we're able to step outside of our comfort zones," Crime Rape Victims Crisis Center Community Engagement Manager Arriell Gipson Martin said.  

A part of that is making sure that our basic needs are met, like safety. Martin said it is time to create a more secure environment for Memphis.

"1 in 5 people report that they have been sexually assaulted and we know that that is still a significantly underreported number," Martin stated.

She added that in Shelby County, they see more than four-thousand victims of crime and they perform about 550 forensic sexual assault exams a year. 

It is why they partnered with the non-profit organization, Heal 901 which works to develop young leaders through coaching and mentorship. 

"We can try to prevent some of those major events when something ends up happening when someone doesn't get the results that they want after they've done something to someone or purchased a drink for someone," Heal 901 Executive Director K Durell Cowan.

The bystander intervention trainings are two hours long. During the training, staff members at local bars are educated about the role alcohol can potentially play in sexual assault incidents. 

"We talk to them about the microaggressions and how things that go on inside of these settings such as catcalling, and unsolicited purchases of drinks could lead to other things," Cowan explained.

In Memphis, the tagline is "Say something mane," because to sign up, all you need to do is reach out to the Shelby County Crime and Rape Victims Crisis Center. The goal is to get every alcohol-serving establishment to become a 'Safe Bar'.

For more details, you can click here

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