After a temporary hiatus thanks to Ms. Covid 19, vaccinated people are slowly beginning to make up for lost social time. As more people decide to convene in person, the bar and restaurant scene is gradually picking up heat.

As someone incredibly excited to ditch zoom happy hour for the real deal, I thought now would be a good time to resurface the ‘ask for angela’ safety hack. 

Bartender holding up “Ask for Angela” poster Source: Sunshine Coast Daily

Angela has your back

A bad or uncomfortable date sucks, especially if you are stuck on one by yourself. While Covid-19 brought many anxieties into our lives, enduring creepy guys at the bar was thankfully not one of them! However, we are unfortunately more likely to find ourselves in that situation again as the world begins to open up.

Noted by the World Health Organization, a report labeled “devastatingly pervasive” states:

“1 in 3 women, around 736 million, are subjected to physical or sexual violence by an intimate partner or sexual violence from a non-partner – a number that has remained largely unchanged over the past decade.”

World Health Organization

As we begin to get ready for our first night out in months, reports like that one can only mean one thing. We all need a friend like Angela in our lives. 

How it works

For those unaware, Ask for Angela is the name of a bar safety campaign that started in England in 2016. Establishments participating in this program use the code as a safety precaution for customers who feel they are in a dangerous or uncomfortable situation.

“When an establishment uses this program, a person who believes themselves to be in danger can ask for Angela, a fictitious member of the staff. The staff will then help the person get home discreetly and safely by either escorting them to a different room, calling them a taxi and escorting them to it, or by asking the other party member to leave the establishment.”

Robertson, Beth,  “Does ‘Ask For Angela’ actually work?”

Venues that implement this campaign typically place “Ask for Angela” posters inside bathrooms for guests to read. The poster introduces the fictional employee of Angela and asks a list of questions for readers to reflect on their current situation.

In addition, mentioned on the bottom of the sign is a Lincolnshire rape crisis hotline as another resource for customers to utilize.

The preventive program is also non-gender-specific. With 10% of rape victims being male, the program caters to all and places posters in male and female restrooms. 

How it started

The program is named in remembrance of Angela Crompton, who was abused and killed by her husband in 2012. In 2016, Hayley Child founded the program as part of a larger campaign, #Nomore, to decrease sexual violence and abuse. Since then, the program has grown into a worldwide safety initiative across bars, restaurants, and even college campuses.

Angel shot on the rocks, please!

As the campaign spreads internationally, venues in America have altered the codeword to make the request more specific. Rather than ask if Angela is working, people can ask for the angel shot instead. Comparatively, descriptions of the angel shot help bartenders know how to act accordingly upon request.

  1. Have it be neat = Can you escort me to my car?
  2. On the rocks = Can you call me a taxi?
  3. With a lime = Call the police.

Overall, while not every venue has implemented the program, its use is gradually becoming more popularized. So for my ladies who are nervous about going, check and see if Angela is on staff beforehand. She could potentially save your life.

Read also:
Don’t Become The Next Victim
Why We Need To Talk About College Campus Safety
Rape Culture Is Rampant, So Let’s Stop Denying Its Existence