"This sign in any circumstance would be appalling, but given what we see in Philadelphia every day, it's horrible," said Jeannine Lisitski, executive director of Women Against Abuse.
Domestic violence in Philadelphia is epidemic, Lisitski said. Police responded to about 115,000 domestic violence calls last year, according to the department.
According to John Barry, the bar manager at Smith's, the sign was put up late last week.
Almost immediately, a woman came into complain.
Brendan Smith, the bar's owner said the sign had been up about 30 minutes before it was yanked from the window.
Barry thought the matter was over. But on Wednesday, the photo made a splash on a number of Facebook pages focused on women's issues.
"It was just a big mess," Barry said today. "Oh God, we're very sorry.
"Now we have a new rule that everything has to be approved before it goes up on the chalk board."
In addition to an apology, Barry said he would personally volunteer at an agency that helps to serve battered women.
Women Against Abuse's Lisitski said a crisis councelor spoke with the woman who had written the sign.
The woman, who she did not identify, is a survivor of domestic abuse, Lisitski said. The councelor offered advice to the sign scribe.
"So in a roundabout way, some good came of it," said the bar manager.
Lisitsky said that any intended irony did not excuse the sign.
"Even though it was written by a survivor, I think it's appaling," Lisitski said. "This is not acceptable."
Jill McDevitt, a sexologist who owns the sex-boutique Feminique in West Chester, is not one to shy away from sexual humor. She has a PhD in human sexuality.
But she treats the topic of domestic violence from a different perspective. She sells a t-shirt in her shop that reads: "Real Men Beat Their Meat, Not their Women or Children."
McDevitt was alerted to the restaurant's sign via Facebook.
"Comments and jokes making light of violence against women only reinforces the culture that believes this is OK," she said. "The sign's message perpetuates violence by putting the onus on the victim, not the perpetrator."
Bar owner Smith said it would never happen again and offered to help with fundraising for Women Against Abuse.
"Please understand that we aren't bad people," Smith wrote to the organization, "just a little immature at times."
Contact staff writer Sam Wood at 215-854-2796, firstname.lastname@example.org or @inqwriter on Twitter.
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