Raise the Bar Indiana: Creating Safer Drinking Spaces

Raise the Bar Indiana is a bystander intervention program for alcohol-serving establishments. Developed in 2012 by Alternatives, Inc., with input from ICADV to implement the program statewide, Raise the Bar Indiana aims to empower communities to create safer spaces intervene in cases of sexual and domestic violence. The program has three main components: education about drug facilitated sexual assault and consent, practice through scenarios to utilize bystander intervention techniques, and action by completing a safety mapping exercise and follow-up action plan.

Locally, Alternatives has trained bars in downtown Anderson and the Village in Muncie. In February 2018, Books and Brews reeived the Raise the Bar Indiana training at their Muncie location and decided to take a step towards making safer spaces at their nine other locations across the state. Not only has Alternatives made connections with local watering holes, they have also worked with the Brewers of Indiana Guild to educate brewery owners about rape culture, in order to shift breweries away from using objectifying and sexually graphic imagery in craft beer labeling and advertisements. These types of images promote rape culture and contribute to sexual violence and harassment surround the alcohol-serving industry.

Program Map - Raise the Bar IndianaAcross Indiana, Raise the Bar Indiana has had success in five communities, including Terre Haute and Greencastle. Through collaboration with 87 trained facilitators, Raise the Bar Indiana has trained a total of 22 establishments in the past two years. Facilitators can be found all over the state, representing nearly 20 different domestic violence and sexual assault agencies and prevention initiatives. Raise the Bar Indiana was also nominated to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as a sexual violence primary prevention strategy to be assessed for further evaluation. Alternatives hosted evaluation consultants contracted with the CDC for three days in February and will receive a report of recommendations that can be used to improve the program.

Raise the Bar Indiana has been active since 2016 and Alternatives hopes to continue expanding the program. Specifically, they want to focus on supporting communities in Northern and Southern Indiana to implement Raise the Bar Indiana. This will help Alternatives in reaching their goal of statewide implementation of Raise the Bar Indiana. When patrons see the Raise the Bar Indiana logo in the window of an establishment, whether it’s in a small town or an urban center, they can know that they are in an establishment striving to make their space safer for everyone.

If your community is interested in learning more about Raise the Bar Indiana, visit their website or email raisethebarindiana@alternativesdv.org. The program welcomes staff from domestic violence and sexual assault agencies as facilitators, and engaged community leaders to serve as co-facilitators by attending a facilitator training. The next facilitator training is April 17 at 10:oo am at the Indiana Coalition to End Sexual Assault in Indianapolis. You can also support Raise the Bar Indiana as Indiana Public Radio’s Community Connection non-profit of the month.