PICTURE THIS: you are in a bar and feel unsafe because, say, your Tinder date is behaving awkwardly or someone is molesting you, placing their hand where you don’t want them to. So you go to the bartenders and “ask for Angela”. They quickly understand you need discreet assistance, alerting the rest of the staff and helping you defuse the situation. They might even make sure you get on a taxi and arrive safely back home. Wouldn’t that be nice and easy to prevent potential sexual assaults?
Well, that’s what the town of Lincolnshire, in England, has proposed to their local community. They are working on improving women’s safety during what they call a “rape crisis”. Hayley Child, the sexual violence and abuse strategy co-ordinator for Lincolnshire County Council, created the campaign that caught the attention of many around the world. Angela, explains Hayley, plays on the concept of guardian angel. The way the campaign works is simple and could be replicated in other towns and college campuses with minimum effort.
The campaign is equality promoted with posters in male and female toilets. It also includes a phone number for anyone that needs to talk about sexual abuse cases. It is included in the global movement of #NoMore (#NiUnaMenos) to end gender violence and sexual assault.
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 code-word campaign “Ask for Angela” went viral from a picture in a Twitter account (@iizzzzzi). The post has more than 38,800 likes and it has been retweeted over 30,900 times. IZ, the account owner, was excited with all the attention… particularly when Ashton Kutcher shared it too. Several websites and media outlets picked up the idea after that, including the BBC, Buzzfeed and Upsocl. The poster has even been translated to Spanish already.
What I like about the idea is that it places a larger yet simple role in the community for promoting safety. All you have to do is ask for Angela or be Angela one time.