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The Bar Bystander Campaign

November 20, 2013

What would you do if someone who had been drinking excessively picked up their car keys and headed for the door? If you are a good bystander, you would intervene to help the person get home safely without risking injury to self or others. Cities and states, colleges and branches of the military are using that same bystander approach to prevent sexual assault: teaching professionals and friends how to offer assistance and intervene to prevent alcohol-facilitated sexual assault.

In Arlington County, police are seeing an increase in reports of alcohol-facilitated sexual assaults of young professional women. They are seeking the help of bar owners and their staff to prevent these assaults in our community and hope that these establishments will participate in a Bar Bystander Campaign.

What is “The Bar Bystander Campaign”?  This approach focuses on making one’s business a safer place for bar patrons and an unfriendly place for sexual predators. Your participation is vital and voluntary.

This education and outreach effort is designed to educate bar owners and staff to prevent sexual assault by developing their ability to:

  • identify risky situations and sexually aggressive behaviors
  • intervene with sexually aggressive individuals
  • intervene with patrons needing assistance.

In Arlington, the Bar Bystander Campaign will include community education and awareness to help our residents understand the realities of sexual assault, dispel rape myths and extend support to someone who discloses sexual assault.

If you are interested in more information about the Bar Bystander Campaign, please join RAMW at Northside Social (3211 Wilson Blvd., Arlington, VA) on Thurs., Dec. 12th at 3:30 pm.

If you have any questions about the Bar Bystander Campaign or alcohol-facilitated sexual assault, please call:

Jo Johnson, Project PEACE Coordinator at: 703-228-1678 or OR

Acting Deputy Chief Michelle Nuneville at 703-228-4123 or