“Raising the Bar” to prevent sexual assault

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OSAGE, Iowa – Experts will tell you, alcohol can play a role when it comes to sexual assault.

“We want our customers to be safe and feel comfortable coming to this bar,” Pam Broderick, a manager at Rusty’s Last Call said.

Broderick has several different tasks in a night.  Sometimes she’s a bartender, sometimes the manager, other times she’s a lifeline if customers are starting to feel uncomfortable.

“Watching to make sure customers are safe, see someone maybe giving someone else ordering drinks that another customer really needed or wanted,” Broderick said.

The staff at Rusty’s Last Call spent two hours being trained on sexual assault and how they can help stop it from happening.

“It’s not just the men giving the women drinks, sometimes they’re giving the men the drinks so the men leave and leave their girlfriends alone,” Broderick said.

“Being a sexual abuse advocate, I see a lot of people that have gone through a traumatic experience.  Sometimes it seems as they’re telling me their story there were people along the way that could have stepped in and interjected and helped when they felt they couldn’t do it,” Erin Meyers, an instructor of Raise the Bar said.

Meyers works at Crisis Intervention Services.  She’s hoping this two hour workshop catches on.

Raise the Bar is providing bartenders and staff advice on how to handle someone if things are starting to take a concerning turn.

“I think women tend to do this more if they see other women that look like they’re uncomfortable. They’ll go and pretend they’re that person’s friend and just bring them over to their group and make sure they’re ok,” Meyers said.

Another trick bartenders are learning is to put up a sign in their bathroom listing a fake name of a bartender or fake drink.  That way if a customer feels uncomfortable they can go to the bar and ask for that fake person or drink letting the bartender know things are not ok.

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