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Minnesota State University, Mankato
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Women's Center Announces Initiatives

"Take Back the Night" and the "Safe Bar Initiative" aim to reduce sexual assault and educate about violence prevention.

Minnesota State University, Mankato Women's Center Announcement, 4-16-2015

Mankato, Minn. – Every April marks Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM). Events planned during this month raise public awareness about sexual violence and educate communities and individuals about violence prevention. Minnesota State University, Mankato's Violence Awareness & Response Program (VARP) and several other departments and offices on the Minnesota State Mankato campus alongside community partners The Committee Against Domestic Abuse (CADA), Mankato Public Safety and others have planned several events for this month. The culmination of these events will be held on Thursday, April 30 beginning at 6 p.m. outside of the Mankato Place Mall in downtown Mankato. We're excited to bring Take Back the Night back to the downtown community, as it has been held on the Minnesota State Mankato campus for the last 10 years. Take Back the Night will begin with speakers presenting information about supporting survivors, then the mic is opened up for those in the audience who may want to share their own story. Then, all assembled will be welcome to march through downtown with signs and banners, showcasing that we believe that the night should be a safe time for everyone. After the event concludes, we welcome all to join us at the Safe Bar Initiative (SBI) Kick-Off.

Persistence and teamwork have led to an exciting and groundbreaking event here in Southern Minnesota – the launch of the Safe Bar Initiative at Pub 500 on Front Street in Mankato. Over a year ago sexual assault advocates working at Minnesota State Mankato, Gustavus Adolphus College, and the Committee Against Domestic Abuse (CADA), Inc. believed that prevention of sexual violence was a priority in our area. “We know that alcohol is the most common drug used to perpetrate drug facilitated sexual assaults. This initiative was one practical way we could apply primary prevention techniques in hopes of reducing sexual assaults in our community," stated Laura Schultz, Program Coordinator for the Violence Awareness and Response Program at Minnesota State Mankato. "The goal is that by holding potential perpetrators accountable and making sure staff members are trained in bystander intervention and patrons are aware of their training, we will increase the amount of individuals intervening and ultimately decrease the number of students and other community members who are sexually assaulted,” added Hannah Fisher, Sexual Violence Team Leader at CADA.

The SBI is a primary prevention effort to help reduce sexual harassment and violence in local bars by training staff on bystander intervention and posting media that makes clear harassment and violence will not be tolerated. The SBI has many local sponsors including Minnesota State Mankato's Violence Awareness and Response Program, Minnesota State Mankato, Mankato’s Office of Equal Opportunity & Title IX, The Committee Against Domestic Abuse (CADA), Inc, Gustavus Adolphus College, The St. Peter Police Department, and Mankato Public Safety.

Pub 500, a local pub and eatery known for its wide variety of craft beers and great food, is the anchor establishment in Mankato for the SBI. They join Patrick’s on Third in St. Peter, who was the first SBI partner in Southern Minnesota. Pub 500 has always prided itself with being a comfortable and safe bar for its college students and other patrons. Joining the SBI will continue the highest level of care to their patrons.

The kickoff event will be hosted at Pub 500 on Thursday, April 30 after Take Back the Night, beginning at 8pm. There will be trivia and info shared about the SBI. Come down and helps us celebrate this progressive, exciting initiative taking place in Southern Minnesota. If your establishment is interested in finding out more about this initiative please contact any of the following partners: Hannah Fisher @ 507-625-8688, Laura Schultz @ 507-389-5127 or Patty Dawson @ 507-933-7630.

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