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UI, Bars to Take On Assault Training

IOWA CITY, Iowa (CBS2/FOX28) -- When Susan Junis was an undergraduate at the University of Iowa, she saw a couple engaged in what she thought was dating violence. Junis stepped in, and asked the woman if she needed help.

"The most important part of that is that it gave her an idea that what was happening wasn't okay," Junis said.

Today, Junis is the education coordinator for the Rape Victim Advocacy Program, and she said that kind of simple action is what bystander intervention teaches people to do. It's why RVAP and the Women's Resource Action Center are teaming up to bring the training to two specific groups in Iowa City: bar employees and members of UI fraternities and sororities.

WRAC and other UI staff are currently developing training that will be rolled out to the university's nearly 3,000 Greek life members.

"They're an organized group of people and a large group of people. But more importantly, they really are people who have accepted a set of values by joining their sorority or fraternity, and typically, a lot of our leaders come out of the Greek system," said Vice President for Student life Tom Rocklin.

RVAP and WRAC are also working on a plan to train employees of the city's bars. A couple of bars have already agreed to participate in a pilot program this summer to test it out. Junis is hoping to reach as many bars as possible.

"This gives them the courage, the skills and the knowledge necessary to do those small steps that create larger cultural change," she said.

Brothers Bar and Grill is the first bar to officially sign on for the pilot program. Its 40 employees will be trained the summer. Brothers was the site of an anti-sexual assault protest earlier this year where management agreed to participate in this kind of training.
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