Party Smart turns the table on sexual predators


With its Party Smart campaign, the Rape Crisis Center is hoping to give the staffs of bars and nightclubs the tools to spot potential predatory behavior and tips on how to check in with guests to make sure they are OK.

Daniele Dreitzer, executive director of the Rape Crisis Center, says in the past few years training such as this campaign has been taking place across the country.

“Our goal is to have this training with every place that serves alcohol in Las Vegas,” she says.

According to the Rape Crisis Center, about one-third of victims who came in in 2014 reported the location of either the assault or the first contact with the perpetrator was at a bar, nightclub or a house party. Nearly 20 percent of victims reported the use of a date rape drug.

Party Smart is one way the organization is trying to reduce those numbers.

One of its first training events was hosted Jan. 28 at Insert Coins, but Dreitzer says more establishments are signing up.

Party Smart training is designed to give bystanders the tools to intervene if someone is acting like a potential sexual predator.

Gabrielle Amato, the prevention and education manager, says there are many “red flags” people should look out for including a person being outwardly aggressive toward rejection or pushing boundaries.

She says other noticeable behavior might include a person remaining sober yet repeatedly buying others drinks, isolating intoxicated people or interacting only with drunken people.

“A lot of the things we do is give them a strategy on how they can casually check on someone and how to pay attention if someone is being uncomfortable,” she says.

Amato says some tips they give are disguised as good customer service.

“Say you have a girl sitting with a guy and she is clearly uncomfortable,” Amato says. “You can tell by her body language that she is not comfortable with this situation. A member of the wait staff can go over.”

By simply saying something such as, “How is everything tonight,” “Let us know if you need anything” or “We will make sure to check up with you to see how your evening is going,” Amato says the staff can convey many messages.

“For the girl, you could be telling her we noticed her body language or let her know she can come talk to you if you need to,” Amato says. “For the potential perpetrator, you’re telling him that you see what he is doing.”

They also inform staff on when to involve security versus when it’s necessary to call law enforcement.

“It could be a situation when a person is pushing boundaries but not breaking the law,” she says. “You might not feel comfortable to handle the situation so you tell security because they are trained to handle this type of situation.”

But if staff sees a person groping, sticking his hand inside someone’s clothing without permission or putting something into a drink that is not his, staff can call the police.

“A lot of the questions we get are clarifications on what the laws are here in Nevada,” Amato says.

Amato adds that it makes sense to empower the community to be aware opposed to tips that simply place the blame on the potential victim.

Because of this, if an assault happens the victim might feel more prone to carry the blame, which may keep her from reporting the incident.

Even if a person does everything right, Amato says, it doesn’t change that there is a potential predator looking for another victim.



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