For the past month or so, THE talk in the bartending industry has been a blog called The Reality of Sexual Assault in the Cocktail Community, a gut-wrenching confessional in which women in the industry describe their experiences with rape, groping, sexual harassment and just general lechers, many times at the grubby hands of co-workers and bosses (and, in multiple cases, by the same creep). The reality of the problem inspired the OC Bartender's Cabinet (and their Long Beach peers) to call for a special meeting on the subject.
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"The OCBC and LBBC have been both saddened and inspired by those brave enough to come forward to discuss the plague of sexual assault and harassment within our industry and communities," the invitation stated. "If we are an organization that aspires to represent the best in our membership and assist in the growth and betterment of those in our communities then we cannot be silent nor let this conversation fade."
The special session happened last night at 320 Main in Seal Beach, with about 20 people from the Orange County and Long Beach's bartending scene attending. Leading a discussion was Dawn Foor, a prevention education and outreach supervisor with the sexual assault victim services of Community Service Programs, Inc. Those present shared their own sobering experiences, whether recalling saving customers from roofie-wielding dates or assaults that happened to them.
I'm not going to reveal everything stated yesterday, but the OC and LB Bartenders Cabinet did vow to work together to spread awareness of the problems facing their industry, and to do everything possible to combat the problem specifically in Orange County and Long Beach. We at the Weekly proudly stand with these mensches (and whatever the Yiddish world is for badass women, so we'll just go with the Mexican chingonas for now), and are excited to report on the great initiatives already being crafted once they're ready to be revealed.
In the meanwhile: if you're a sexual assaulter, not only are you a coward and a creep, you're a flat-out CHAVALA...