Akron's Battered Women's Shelter Project Raises Awareness of Date Rape Drugs

Jul 31, 2019

Workers from Akron’s Hope & Healing Battered Women’s Shelter are visiting Summit County bars in the area’s first Bar Outreach Project to educate people about date rape drugs.

Odorless, colorless and tasteless drugs are sometimes put in alcoholic drinks and are undetectable 36 hours after they have been ingested, the shelter reports.

During the project, the shelter will educate bar employees on ways to protect patrons and detect if their customers have been exposed.

The shelter’s outreach manager Leanne Biltz says the project coincides with the start of the school year on college campuses.

“Kids are really susceptible during those first six weeks in college because they’re away from home, there probably is drinking involved, a lot of peer pressure,” she said. “So we’re just trying to get out there and let people know we’re here for folks, but also just to look out for each other and realize you can’t consent while being intoxicated.”

Shelter workers took their message to about 40 bars July 27. They also posted flyers with removable tabs bearing the rape crisis center’s 24 hour hotline number. They also offer tips on how to stay safe in bars, such as never leaving a drink unattended.

The second visit is to see how the flyers did and answer any questions bar employees have.

“We want the bar staff to be educated and be confident to be that active bystander if they do see something that doesn’t look quite right or they see somebody that had one drink and they look really messed up from only one drink or something just doesn’t look right, and they need to do that gut check,” Biltz said. “We just want to give them the confidence and the skills to intervene safely.”

The shelter offers free services for anyone experiencing domestic or sexual violence.  For more information, visit the Hope & Healing website.