Women in the British town of Lincoln have a new way to stay safe if a date goes horribly wrong.
On October 18, British student Isobel O’Brien tweeted a now-viral photo of a #NoMore campaign poster. The poster, which was created for women on “a date that isn’t working out” or if the date they met online is “not who they said they were on their profile,” is meant to encourage women to seek help from bar staff if they are feeling unsafe.
Women can “Ask for Angela” at bars that have the posters on display ― the code phrase will alert the staff that the asker needs help.
Once women ask for “Angela,” according to the poster, “The bar staff will know you need some help getting out of your situation and will call you a taxi or help you out discreetly ― without too much fuss.”
The poster was created in partnership with Lincolnshire City Council, the Lincolnshire Rape Crisis center and the national Pubwatch organization ― a group of volunteers in the UK whose “key aim is to help achieve a safe, secure and responsibly led social drinking environment in all licensed premises throughout the UK and thereby reduce alcohol-related crime.” The posters were distributed to pubs and bars that take part in the Pubwatch scheme in Lincolnshire.
O’Brien’s tweet received a huge response online, and has been retweeted more than 28,000 times to date. In light of the positive feedback, Hayley Child, the Substance Misuse and Sexual Violence & Abuse Strategy Coordinator at Lincolnshire’s County Council, released a statement explaining where the idea came from and expressing gratitude at the campaign’s immense international popularity:
Sexual abuse and violence is a national issue and all councils have a responsibility to tackle abuse. This was Lincolnshire Community Safety Partnership’s first awareness raising campaign on this issue.
We have had a really positive response to the campaign, including thanks from victims of abuse for the work that’s being done. The campaign has been supported by many professional partners in the county and we will be relaunching #NoMore in February to tie in with the National Sexual Violence and Abuse awareness week.
O’Brien has mixed feelings about the campaign, but is overall optimistic about its benefits.
“It is a shame that we live in a society where a campaign like this would need to exist,” she told The Huffington Post. But the 21-year-old student is grateful for it nonetheless. “I feel that it is far better to be proactive than reactive.”
Need help? Visit RAINN’s National Sexual Assault Online Hotline or the National Sexual Violence Resource Center’s website.