Indy Pride volunteers go through training to prevent sexual violence

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. –  For the first time, volunteers and staff for the Indy Pride Festival are trained to spot potential victims of sexual violence. Hundreds of people at the festival will be ready to step in if a situation turns dangerous.

Indy Pride is the first local festival to put all of its volunteers through the “Indy Raise the Bar” training. Organizers say with thousands in attendance, it’s important to provide help to anyone who may feel threatened.

Raise the Bar is an initiative that aims to train employees at local bars, breweries, sporting events and festivals on ways to prevent sexual violence.

“We can teach our volunteers how to identify those who might be at risk for sexual assault and intervene before something happens,” said Chris Handberg, executive director for Indy Pride.

Festival attendees will see posted in every bathroom, bar and food area that outline the behaviors that will not be tolerated. The posters also explain who victims can turn to for help.

Chris Peek is one of the volunteers who went through the training.

“I learned that it’s not ok to just be comfortable with not saying anything,” Peek said. “It’s important that we can make sure that it is not taken lightly.”

The training also explains members of the LGBTQ community experience sexual violence at double the rate of heterosexual people. For transgender people, the sexual violence rates are even higher.

IMPD is part of the Raise the Bar initiative. Deputy Chief Chris Bailey is part of the training video. Officers will be out around downtown Indy throughout the festival ready to assist if needed.