SC bartenders to get trained to spot drug-facilitated sexual assault

Daniel Lee conducts some of the Bar Outreach Project training Monday in Columbia

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WSPA) – A program already being used in North Carolina to prevent drug-facilitated sexual assault is now coming to South Carolina. Trainers from Asheville were in Columbia for two days of training people who work at rape crisis centers and other sexual assault service providers as part of the Bar Outreach Project.

“Drug-facilitated sexual assault is anytime a drug or alcohol is used by a predator to compromise someone’s ability to give consent,” says Matt Lynn, one of the trainers.

The people being trained are from across South Carolina and they’ll then meet with bartenders, bar staff, and bar owners across the state to train them. They’ll learn what to look for and what to do if they see it.

Daniel Lee, the other trainer, says, “Situations in which a patron is being pressured, seems uncomfortable, appears to be overly intoxicated. They may be receiving attention from somebody who is trying to feed them drinks or they may have given them an additional drug in their alcohol and may be trying to get them out the door.”

If they do see a problem, bartenders may call someone a taxi, or ask the person if there’s a trusted friend there who can take them home. They might also kick out of the bar someone displaying aggressive behavior.

They say it’s difficult to say how successful the program has been in North Carolina because no one knows how many sexual assaults occur. An estimated 30 to 40 percent of all sexual assaults are never reported, and the number reported is even less for drug-facilitated sexual assaults because the victims may have little or no memory because of the drugs or alcohol.

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