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Uber wants to stop sexual assaults in DC before they start. Here's their strategy

The strategy comes after the ridesharing company released a report that found more than 3,000 sexual assaults on its riders in 2018.

WASHINGTON — Sex assault victims’ advocates say we are at a watershed moment in our society. They say one in four women—and one in six men—are sexually assaulted.

Now, the D.C. nightlife industry wants to shrink that number with the help of Uber.

On Tuesday, Indira Henard, who runs the D.C. Rape Crisis Center, hosted training for D.C.'s bartenders and bouncers to aid in identifying the warning signs of sexual assault. 

"This is not a fly by night response," Henard said, noting that a high level of drug-facilitated rapes involve alcohol. "This is a great opportunity for everybody to come together and learn what is sexual violence, how to help someone who may be in a difficult situation and also learn strategies for intervening that’s safe for everyone." 

RELATED: Uber releases new safety report, reveals thousands of incidents during rides

The class—a partnership between the city and Uber—comes after the ride-sharing company released a report last December. It found in 2018, there were more than 3,000 sex assaults on its riders nationwide.

"Those numbers were gut-wrenching, but they have set the standard for what we hope corporations would do," Henard said. 

Uber points out that the number represents a very small fraction of its 1.3 billion rides in the United States in 2018.

RELATED: Uber and Lyft say yes, they are making traffic in DC worse

"We’re supporting initiatives such as the bystander training to make sure that our people are safe at night," Shawn Townsend, who leads the city’s office of nightlife and culture, said. 

Townsend's office partnered with Uber on the training, which is being rolled out in other major cities. 

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