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Why ‘Ask for Angela’ Is An Important Campaign Against Harassment

'Ask for Angela' is a new campaign that could protect someone from threatening or uncomfortable situations on a night out, or dates that haven't been going as planned.
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We live in a frustrating age, and I’m not saying this in the sense that my grandmother would, or at least I hope I’m not.

We meet the people we date with online and, in my opinion, this is simply extraordinary. I’m not big on dating apps myself, in fact in the short period I tried Tinder I got easily bored and dropped it, but I do understand how helpful this might be for some people, how overly simplifying it must be for most processes.

I do understand, cause going out to meet people is definitely not the easiest thing for me either. My best friend met her girlfriend through Tinder and I just keep getting amazed by all these new opportunities.

We live in a frustrating age, with all that simplification, all these sources and different means to get stuff done, from working online and having the chance to get your voice heard in a blog-style journalism written “bottom-top”, to meeting your partner so easily and start a web mini-series. But at the same time, this age is so frustrating especially because it keeps getting more and more horrifying.

I can see no linear progress here, not of the kind that is relevant and necessary to our times. In a Europe and America with ever-growing sexism and racism, respect for human rights seems to gradually grow sicker, instead of finding the good soil to root and grow.

Women keep living in a constant fear of abuse, in societies that want to be called modern but are, in reality, soaked in rape culture. Being a woman or a gender non-conforming person can be extremely dangerous in our days. My best friend studying in London keeps telling me how unsafe she feels returning home alone at night because of people following her and shouting things at her. In Athens, where I live, we keep hearing devastating news about rape and assault against women and LGBT+ person. A lady I know had some guy flash his dick at her at 8pm outside her house at the centre of the city.

I know men who get angry if I talk about rape culture too often, because they immediately take it as a personal insult. This is all fucking terrifying and, especially with Trump’s election in the US, societies can no longer afford to ignore the dangers certain groups of people face every day.

Solidarity with each other is vital. When you see another person alone in potential danger, being followed, catcalled, harassed, or made uncomfortable by another person, first of all measure whether it’s safe for you to step forward. Is it one person or more harassing another one? Are you outnumbered? Is it a crowded place, or somewhere you can ask for help if needed? In any case, it might be really helpful if you go up to a girl and act like you know them, or call them from the opposite pavement, so that you show they have company.

Thankfully, there are some bigger initiatives to protect women and people facing potential danger of harassment when dating or simply hanging out. Lincolnshire Country Council have a new campaign for awareness against sexual violence.

The #NoMore campaign aims to fight back the harassment that people may experience in public social situations. What they do, is encourage anyone who feels unsafe and uncomfortable when they are alone on a night out, to go up to the bar and Ask for Angela.

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It might be a Tinder date going against the plan, a person you just met making you feel uncomfortable or a stranger not leaving you alone. The purpose is to spread the word so that the code can be recognized by the staff of the bar, so that they can call a taxi or help discreetly, in some other way.

User @iizzzzzi shared a picture of a poster that was hung in a restroom, letting people know about “Ask for Angela”, in order to make it viral, while also spreading awareness for harassment issues. The poster 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.”

The Lincolnshire County Council’s strategy co-ordinator for substance misuse and sexual violence and abuse, Hayley Child, 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.”

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Author
A genderfluid pansexual activist who lives in Paris with their children: a beagle puppy and a non-binary feline demon. Philosophy and history student. Also writes pretentious poetry, cries a good deal about TV and book characters, pretends they live in an aesthetically pleasing videoclip, and dyes almost everything mint green.

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