In an article by The Huffington Post on Nov. 2, a new measure from the “No More” campaign has given women safer options when going out on a date. The creation of “Ask for Angela” enables women who feel uncomfortable or threatened by their dates to subtly escape from the situation with help from the staff of the establishment. The way that women can indicate that they feel unsafe is — if they are at a bar that has a “No More” poster — by asking the bar staff for “Angela,” which acts as a code phrase. The subtle method has the added benefit of women being able to extract themselves without being antagonized or causing too much of a fuss. The spread of the new system is a fantastic way to help women feel safer going on dates, especially with people who they may have never met before. Although men can also be victims of sexual assault and harassment, it’s most commonly aimed toward women. The campaign is giving them the option to extract themselves from unsafe situations, giving them more power to do what men can do without any fear.
The double standard for dating between men and women is evident. A fear for men when going on a date with a woman for the first time is whether or not they’ll hit it off or how closely her profile matches her actual personality if they met on social media. However, for women, there are so many additional fears when meeting up alone with a man for the first time. Some contemplate bringing friends to chaperone the date so that they won’t be alone or promise to text or call their friends periodically so that they know she’s safe, while others decide not to even go through with the date in the end. Staple items in the purses of some women even include pepper spray and a whistle in case they are assaulted. In the dating world, men worry about the possible fear of rejection on dates, while many women fear for their personal safety.
Due to the extremely wide gap in expectations for how a potential date can go, a system like “Ask for Angela” can give women a whole new layer of confidence for when they go on dates. Therefore, all bars should have these posters so that women know that the option is available for them. Nobody should have to worry about being physically assaulted or made to feel unsafe when they go on dates and when women experience that feeling, it takes away the control that they can exert in a dangerous situation. Women shouldn’t feel powerless before even entering their date; they shouldn’t have to worry preemptively about being harmed. Girls shouldn’t have to carry whistles in their purses, just like my dad shouldn’t have felt the need to start teaching me self-defense at 10 years old. A system like “Ask for Angela” gives women an invisible ally to utilize should they need it because even though not all men pose a threat toward women, one of the biggest threats that a woman can face is from a man.
Nonetheless, I am not trying to say that men don’t fear the possibility of physical or sexual assault. If anything, there should be more outreach and more efforts made to give survivors of abuse assistance in the healing process. They should be reminded that they shouldn’t feel shame because they were victimized. Nonetheless, by creating this system for women, we’re not forgetting men. Rather, by making dating environments less dangerous for women, we can then go on on to make them safer for men as well. No one should feel unsafe in a dating environment and no one should feel powerless at the hands of a potential partner. The “No More” campaign is working to give control back to women who are at risk of being victimized and the movement should be encouraged and more widely utilized.