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  • Writer's pictureSAFE Bar Network

The Alcohol Equation

Nearly 1 in 6 women and 1 in 33 men are the victims of attempted or completed rape in their lifetimes. It is no secret that alcohol is often involved in sexual assault. In fact, we live in a culture where many consider it acceptable to use alcohol to guarantee access to sex.

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Sexual aggressors use bars, restaurants, and nightclubs to select, isolate, and even incapacitate their targets.

Research tells us that sexual assaults are more likely to occur in settings where alcohol is consumed (e.g., parties, bars) and potential perpetrators seek out such settings as a way of finding vulnerable individuals. Alcohol should be seen as a risk factor for—not a cause of—unwanted sexual advances and other forms of sexual assault.

In SAFE Bar Training we examine how alcohol is used as a tool to make someone vulnerable. We think about the use of alcohol as part of an equation and discuss that the element that making a bar unsafe is not alcohol it is the presence of perpetrators of sexual violence.

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We know that there are owners, managers, and staff working in the bar industry that already have the skills to prevent sexual harassment and assault and offer support to victims. The SAFE Bar Network training builds on this skill set and then creates the opportunity for them to share their knowledge with coworkers. The training encourages staff to continue to build active bystander skills and create a culture focused on noticing concerning behavior, intervening effectively and offering support.

If you have a favorite bar, restaurant or night club encourage them to join the SAFE Bar Network. They can learn more at

For updates, bystander stories and the latest from the SAFE Bar Network follow us @safebarnetwork

If you or someone you know has experienced sexual harassment or sexual assault our partners can help. Visit MOCSA and RAINN

To learn more about the field of sexual violence response and prevention visit PreventConnect and NSVRC.

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