Program aims to make bars near UD safer, help staff resist sexual violence – WHIO TV 7 and WHIO Radio

DAYTON — University of Dayton students have partnered with the YWCA to protect students and bar patrons from sexual abuse and harassment.

The Gem City Safe Bar Program enables bar and restaurant staff to spot the warning signs of sexual violence.

“Our program teaches people how to read the moment and decide, ‘is it a moment for direct interventions, for distraction, or for delegation?’ Kaitlin Schroder, director of market and communications at YWCA said.

So far, 10 bars and restaurants have completed the program’s prevention education, including Wheat Penny Oven and Bar.

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“We did role-play activities where one person had to be the server and the other had to be the guest and we just ran through a few scenarios,” said Briana Anello, general manager of Wheat Penny bar and Oven.

YWCA staff were there to help with the training.

“We help bar and restaurant staff learn prevention techniques to help prevent sexual assault and sexual harassment, and to understand as a bystander how they can intervene,” Schroder said.

Which Anello found invaluable to his staff.

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“Having a lot of new employees, younger employees, I wasn’t sure what they had learned so far about how to handle difficult situations, and I thought the program could really help us,” she said.

Now his staff knows how to spot if a customer looks uncomfortable or is in a dangerous situation, as well as how they can intervene.

“Sometimes a simple focused look can attract the right person. Talking to the host is always a great way to do this, as they can delegate who is best to help handle the situation or the bartender,” a said Anello.

The University of Dayton Student Government Association heard about the program and wanted to help it grow, covering the cost for bars and restaurants to attend the training session – $365.

The overall goal is to send the message that sexual violence will not be tolerated in these facilities and that they are a safe space.

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