Nightlife (bars, music scene, parties) is a central component of the social scene for college students and young professionals, and an indicator of the health and vibrancy of young adult communities. Unfortunately, this culture is frequently marked by exploitation, disrespect, and the threat of sexual or physical violence against women. College parties and bars are some of the highest risk environments for the predation of sexual violence. There is a need to effectively prevent sexual violence and promote gender equity in party and bar environments. Fortunately, the bars, music scene, and parties that shape Duluth’s nightlife do not need to be overshadowed by consistent threats to safety and comfort to women and people from diverse backgrounds. These environments are relatively simple to reshape through sustained engagement of the primary participants--young community members.
Men As Peacemaker's BEST (Be Equal, Safe, and Trustworthy) Bar Model is a popular community powered process for engaging young professionals and emerging college students in shaping bar and party environments to reflect values of respect, gender equity, human dignity, and safety. BEST utilizes best practice public health models of primary prevention which assess and transform environments for sexual violence prevention. Endorsed by the Minnesota Department of Health, BEST is an innovative strategy for sexual violence prevention and the enhancement of a vibrant social environment in the Duluth community.
This project builds off of work currently being done with young professionals, musicians, and emerging college students to shape Duluth’s bars, party environments, and the Homegrown Music Festival.
Men As Peacemakers is proud to provide sexual violence prevention training to the 2015 Homegrown Music Festival. Thanks to all of Homegrown’s organizers and volunteers for supporting a safe and respectful experience for women in 2015.
BEST Bars provides bars and patrons with the necessary resources to create and maintain bar environments that promote respect for women and prevent sexual violence.