The is a big gap in the nightlife industry in regards to safeguarding the best interests of women. It’s no secret that the whole topic of partying and liquor consumption is a huge taboo in mainstream India. There exists a shocking absence of conversation and legislative ambiguity regarding the same, and that could be doing more harm than good.
Some might think that limiting dialogue around the topic of nightlife would discourage the nation’s youth from partaking in the activity, but that’s very incorrect. Not talking about alcohol safety doesn’t prevent people from indulging in it, but promotes an unsafe drinking culture, especially for women, who are then exposed to sexual harassment, alcohol poisoning and a myriad of other unsafe situations. Bars and nightlife establishments need to take some accountability and enforce concrete steps to protect women.
Here are some tactics bars can employ to ensure the safety of their female customers:
1. If you see a woman leave her drink unattended, cover it.
Women should never leave their drinks unattended. That’s a cardinal rule. But sometimes shit happens. You get tipsy and distracted or have to run to the bathroom and forget. At times like this, staff should keep a watchful eye and cover their drinks with a coaster or keep them at the bar until they return to minimize the risk of women getting drugged.
I was at a bar alone and got up to go to the bathroom. When I came back, the bartender had pulled my drink back towards him and placed a coaster over the top. He got a great tip.— Lulu Mac (@LuluMcSideways) April 29, 2022
2. Have a code word.
All bars should have a code word in an effort to protect women from sexual assault. If a woman is uncomfortable around another customer, she should be able to approach any member of staff and communicate her concerns swiftly in the form of a code word. Why is a code word necessary? Because a lot of time the culprit might be a date or a known individual and women might be apathetic to speak up publicly in fear of judgement or scrutiny.
I’m in Scotland & a bar I go into has a notice in the ladies toilet which says if you’re being harassed & someone makes you feel uncomfortable to go up to a bar person & ask for Angela.— Auders 2🇺🇦 (@Auders23) April 29, 2022
It would be nice if more places adopted this.
🚨 PSA 🚨— Protect Voting Rights ASAMFP (@donniecash818) August 21, 2021
I just heard about an “angel shot” (h/t @UneeQ_). It’s like a code word to use if someone is on a date and feels unsafe. This is a brilliant idea that many restaurants and bars are familiar with so thought I’d pass it along. Please share if so inclined pic.twitter.com/LezRGlFvlf
I saw this “drink menu“ in the ladies room of a bar/restaurant in Lake Placid. Depending upon what drink you ordered that was a signal to the bartender of what kind of help you needed. I have blacked out the names of the drinks for obvious reasons. I wish all bars did this pic.twitter.com/dRURs9q4dq— Michelle Manning 🍎 💻 (@ManningTechTalk) April 29, 2022
3. Keep an eye on body language.
If you see a woman feeling threatened by a patron in your establishment, put a stop to it immediately. This can include anything from men trying to talk to or touch a woman who is exhibiting signs of reluctance, all the way to active physical violence. No matter how small the matter, no means no. If the issue is minor, threaten them with a warning. If you witness the situation persisting or escalating any further usher them out immediately. Their check isn’t worth sacrificing women’s safety.
I love this. I was once at a country bar dancing with a guy and decided I was done after he said something. He grabbed my arm as I tried to walk away. Bouncers grabbed him immediately and threw him out. So thankful for men that watch out for all women.— Angelina Goode (@angelina_goode) April 29, 2022
4. Do not let barely conscious women leave without vetting the situation.
If a woman is intoxicated beyond the parameters of consciousness, do not let her leave without a thorough assessment. Verify if the person taking her home is someone she knows. Ask them to call her phone or check if they arrived together.
I used to work as a door guy. If a woman was leaving with a guy and she’s well beyond her limit and can’t stay awake, I’d stop them and tell the guy to call her phone. If he doesn’t know her number or his number isn’t inputted in her phone, she wasn’t leaving with him.— Ty Erickson (@norseerickson) April 29, 2022
5. Warn women.
As an employee of an establishment, most workers are aware of repeat offenders: the men who lurk around dark corners eyeing their next target, always try to pick up women, have a history of getting aggressive when drunk, have had previous complaints etc. It is your moral obligation to let women know of the potential danger that lies ahead. Do not withhold the information to protect your bar or club’s name or the money that they bring in. If anything, doing so will earn you the reputation of being a predatory hotspot.
Was at a bar alone yesterday when the bartender said, “Hey, check out this text from my sister!” He showed me his phone and it said, “Do not, under any circumstances, get into a conversation with the guy sitting on your right.” Men, if you are in a position to do this, DO THIS.— Laura Motta (@guttersniper) April 29, 2022
I’m not saying the above tactics are sure shot ways of preventing harm on women. Or the only way. But they certainly help! Nightlife venues need to have stricter protocols and bartenders and bouncers need to step up and do their part in protecting women from sexual aggression.