Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Our VOICE and the Asheville Brewers Alliance collaborate to combat drug facilitated sexual assault

In an effort to combat drug-facilitated sexual assault (DFSA), Our VOICE and the Asheville Brewers Alliance (ABA) are joining forces. Through this collaboration- formalized by a Memorandum of Understanding- members of the Asheville Brewers Alliance will take a stand against rape and sexual assault by participating in The BAR Outreach Project.  This curriculum, developed by Our VOICE, educates bar owners and staff about DFSA while addressing bystander intervention strategies that can help protect patrons and employees alike.

Selected ABA members will also help raise funds to support Our VOICE’s programs through the month of April—National Sexual Assault Awareness Month.   Participating members, including Bold Rock Cider, Burial Beer Co., Catawba Brewing, Hi-Wire Brewing, Oyster House Brewing, Pisgah Brewing, and Urban Orchard Cider Co., will be pouring glasses of select draft beer to benefit Our VOICE. Through the month, $1 from every pint sold will support Our VOICE’s 27/7 rape crisis and prevention services. 

Alcohol is often used as the drug of choice to incapacitate victims, who are subsequently unable to give active consent to sexual activity. This makes bars and breweries an important setting for opening community dialogue around alcohol’s involvement sexual violence. “We live in a vibrant community that is internationally known for its craft brewing culture and innovative brewing scene,” says Angelica Wind, Our VOICE’s Executive Director. “The BAR Outreach Project promotes an environment where we can all explore that scene safely.”

The Asheville Brewers Alliance, which includes 50 local and regional breweries and 40 associate members in Western North Carolina, is committed to creating a craft-beer community free of sexual assault. “Partnering with Our VOICE to bring further awareness to and expand the reach of the Bar Outreach Program is very important to our Alliance breweries," says Anne Fitten Glenn, Asheville Brewers Alliance board member. "We want everyone—from beer-tenders to servers to customers—to have happy experiences with the beers we all work so hard to make." 

"Giving back to our community and being part of solutions is so fundamental to who we are in the WNC craft brewing industry, so this collaboration just makes sense and is the right thing to do, says Kendra Penland, Executive Director of the ABA. “The ABA is excited to be able to support the work of Our VOICE in creating safer, more comfortable spaces for craft beer lovers and all community members."

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