Angels are moving out of the outfield and into the bar. The next time you’re on an unexpectedly creepy Tinder date, order an “angel shot” from a bar and you’ll be whisked away to safety. This well-intentioned system, currently in place in bars in London, England and St. Petersburg, FL aims to save lives and lower the risk of sexual assault. If this code can help even one person avoid suffering, then it’s worthwhile, but there are several problems that need to be addressed.
Though the impulse behind this code is a noble one, publicizing the specific words and their meanings negates the effectiveness. If your date is being aggressive or intimidating and is privy to the angel shot lingo, you might as well just announce to everyone that you feel unsafe and would like help. If you have to wait until your date goes to the bathroom to summon your server savior, there is no point in circumlocution.
Another issue is that this system seems to be in place only for women on dates with men. Sexual assault and violence aren’t always perpetrated by a man towards a woman. Victims can be of any gender or sexual orientation, and bars should work to implement more inclusive forms of safeguarding.
The biggest problem with angel shots is that there is even a need for a secretive system to feel safe on a date. The devil of rape culture needs to be faced head on with by holding offenders accountable for their actions, ending victim blaming, and emphasizing consent in sexual education.