This month we are proud to honor the local bars that hosted Let’s Get Consensual, a bar crawl for Sexual Assault Awareness Month, Alibi Bar & Place, Quarters Arcade Bar, and Tinwell. These establishments helped the Rape Recovery Center recognize SAAM through this fun, awareness raising event, and by donating a portion of the proceeds sold that night, they help fund the critical services we provide at the RRC. The bar crawl provided an awesome opportunity to engage with our community in conversations about consent.
In addition to supporting this unique and impactful community outreach event, Alibi and Quarters have shown longstanding commitment to combatting sexual violence. We sat down with the bars owners, Katy Willis and Jacob Hall, to talk about our partnership and the role bar owners can have in sexual violence prevention.
RRC: How do you create a culture of consent at Quarters?
Katy Willis, owner of Quarters: We ask our staff to be active bystanders at Quarters and we as management trust their judgement. Our staff knows they can make tough calls on the spot and we will back them up, which lets them confidently step in when they see a situation knowing their job will not be at risk for doing what they thought was right, even if it results in loosing a few drink sales. My staff is so bold and fierce and passionate about creating a safe environment at my bar, and I love them every day for it.
RRC: You have fiercely supported sexual violence awareness and prevention initiatives from Quarter's beginning - what advice do you have for bar owners who may be hesitant to engage in this work?
KW: I would say that all business owners should be enthusiastic about creating a safe environment for their patrons and staff! Bars specifically are tied to the number one drug associated with sexual assault (alcohol) and as owners, we benefit from its sale. In my strong opinion, this gives us the serious responsibility of doing everything in our power to prevent any sexual violence in our establishments. If as a bar owner you are worried about openly talking about these issues as a means to prevent them, I'd remind them that people want to go to bars with women in them (because women are amazing) and the best way to get ladies to your bar is to take their safety and happiness seriously. Unfortunately, bars have a hostile history with women, but the future is bright if we actively create safe and welcoming environments.
RRC: What do you think is the next step to address sexual violence as a community?
KW: Education and active learning is key! Through this, we can normalize conversations about consent in our personal and professional lives which will create less space for sexual violence. We need to admit our mistakes and be able to course correct our actions and help those in our lives do the same. No one is perfect, but the more tools we have in our toolbox, the more likely we are to make the best possible decision in future circumstances.
RRC: How do you create a culture of consent at Alibi?
Jacob Hall, owner of Alibi: From the inception of the design and layout of the bar we wanted to create an environment that was welcoming and accepting for everyone. We wanted to create a bar that felt safe at every single table and bar stool. Our staff is trained to not only be aware but to be conscious of our customers safety and to ensure it at all times. On the front page of our menu we state "We strive to make Alibi a safe place for all. Harassment of any kind will not be tolerated." and we will always continue to stand firmly behind that.
RRC: You and your staff participated in the RRC’s prevention and intervention training, Let’s Get Consensual, designed for staff at alcohol serving establishments last week. What did you learn?
JH: One of the most important things we learned at the training was the 4 D's of Intervention. Direct, Distract, Delegate & Delay. The 4 D's of Intervention created an incredible dialogue with our staff to learn how to be better as a bar, a family and individuals.
RRC: Alibi has been a dedicated partner since you opened, what motivates you to support the Rape Recovery Center?
JH: The work Rape Recovery Center does is crucial in so many ways. The effects of sexual assault or harassment are everlasting and extremely damaging, and to have an organization that supports those individuals will always be a focus for us. To be able to support an organization that does such important work is crucial to what we, as a business believe in. Our community will always be more important than our pocket books, and we're extremely grateful to support the Rape Recovery Center.