Life

Ever felt unsafe on a date? This is why you should Ask For Angela

Posted by
Hayley Spencer
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App dating can be thrilling - the person you meet on your first date is a relative stranger, who you're hoping will live up to the profile that hooked you in. But what if they're not who you thought they were? You could be left feeling uncomfortable and desperate to find an excuse to cut the date short. Which is exactly why a new campaign at a bar in Lincolnshire, providing women with a simple get-out clause, has gone viral.

The 'Ask For Angela' poster scheme debuted in toilets at a bar in Lincolnshire, advocating that women who feel unsafe or at risk on a date go to the bar and use the code word 'Angela' to suggest they need help. 

The posters are part of the wider #NoMore campaign in Lincolnshire to end sexual assault and domestic violence. They read: “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.”

Lincolnshire’s County Council, Hayley Child explains that the campaign "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. Sexual abuse and violence is a national issue, and all councils have a responsibility to tackle abuse. This was Lincolnshire Community Safety Partnership’s first awareness raising campaign on this issue.”

Its genius lies in how discreet it is - if women feel any inkling that their date might put them in danger then they can evade the situation under the casual-seeming premise of another round. So there's no need to feel trapped or fearful of causing a scene. It also makes the bar a safe space where women know they have an ally just a few feet away.

Lincoln local IZ has backed the poster idea via Twitter and received almost 30,000 retweets.

As Child suggests, all councils have a responsibility to create and promote services which defend women against abuse, and this scheme sets a precedent. Let's hope more councils roll out similar campaigns, and not just for women.

If you've experienced sexual violence and need support you can call Rape Crisis on 0808 802 9999 and contact them via rapecrisis.org.uk.

Photo: iStock