A U.K. poster gives women a code word to use when they’re feeling threatened on a date
Thanks to a variety of prominent cases and the comments and behavior of a particular candidate for president (hint: it’s not Hillary), 2016 has been a big year for sexual assault. (What a terrible sentence that is.)
It’s depressing that something like this poster, which was spotted in a ladies bathroom at a pub in England, and the entire “Ask for Angela” campaign, should even exist, let alone be necessary, but it is. So kudos to whomever came up with it. Hopefully it helps.
According to Adweek, an image of the poster was snapped and shared on Twitter after a woman saw it in the bathroom in the town of Lincolnshire.
i saw this in a toilet and thought it was important and should be a thing everywhere not just lincolnshire !!!! pic.twitter.com/oO45I7gaJL
— IZ (@iizzzzzi) October 18, 2016
The poster, created by the Lincolnshire County Council as part of their Lincolnshire Community Safety Partnership, reads: “Are you on a date that isn’t working out? Is your Tinder or POF [Plenty of Fish] date not who they said they were on their profile? Do you feel like you’re not in a safe situation? Does it all feel a bit weird? If you go to the bar and ask for ‘Angela,’ the bar staff will know you need help getting out of your situation and will call you a taxi or help you out discreetly — without too much fuss.”
Hayley Child, substance misuse and sexual violence and abuse strategy coordinator for Lincolnshire County Council, told the Independent: “The ‘Ask for Angela’ posters are part of our wider #NoMore campaign which aims to promote a culture change in relation to sexual violence and abuse, promote services in Lincolnshire and empower victims to make a decision on whether to report incidents.”
Good for the council of Lincolnshire for having the foresight to create these posters, but bad for the world for forcing women to sneak around like James Bond just to prevent getting assaulted or raped by some garbage piece of trash.
Both the people who created the poster and the bars and public spaces that mount it should be commended for trying to help protect women in as low-key, and non-provocative, a manner as possible. If the past few months have made anything clear, it’s that a self-perpetuating atmosphere of male privilege and systemic misogyny combine to make the world an uncomfortable and often dangerous place for women, and that the hostile response so many victims receive upon coming forward after an assault — and the fear that they may be overreacting or wrong — continues to make it difficult for them to speak out, either before or after, hence these ads which offer a quiet alternative.
The fear of shame and retribution is powerful. It’s important that women have options, and while it’s unfortunate that those options should include speaking in code just to avoid raising the hackles of a man who potentially traffics in violence, many of the appalling stories that have surfaced after Donald Trump’s “locker room talk” make it obvious that speaking in code is likely a helpful solution.
So there you have it. Women make less money than men, women are held to different standards both professionally and personally, women are blamed and shamed for being victims, and now women have to conduct themselves like Cold War spies just to escape the wrath of horny men who won’t take no for an answer.
What a world.