CHILLICOTHE, OH (WCMH) – You may have heard of an “angel shot” before. It’s not an actual drink, but a covert way to signal you need help if you feel unsafe in a bar.
It’s a movement that started during the rise of dating app’s like Tinder and is gaining more traction locally with the #MeToo movement.
Owner of Steiner’s Speakeasy Tara Gillum wanted a way to help her customers if they felt uncomfortable or in danger.
“I had an instance where an older gentleman was being pretty forceful with a couple of our younger regulars that come in here,” she said. “He was trying to pressure them to go to his hotel room with them and trying to buy them drinks that they didn’t want.”
The women told Gillum they felt uncomfortable and she asked the man to leave.
“I thought more about if they were brave enough to tell me because of our relationship, how many women are in here that aren’t?” she said.
That’s when she started researching the angel shot, a code word to help prevent sexual assault.
Order an angel shot “on the rocks” and Gillum’s bartenders know you don’t want a drink. Instead, they’ll call a friend or can and walk you outside to the vehicle.
Order it “with a lime” and they’ll call police.
Gillum has partnered with Adena’s Sexual Assault Survivor Advocacy Program to spread awareness and train other bars to use the angel shot.
Coordinator for Adena’s program and sexual assault advocate Heather Welshimer said alcohol is the number one substance used in drug-facilitated sexual assaults. Unfortunately, any bar can be the backdrop for where it begins.
“If they are in that situation, whether it is an uncomfortable blind date or maybe they’re in a long-term situation that often can present violence in their life, that if they’re in a community establishment there’s a mechanism in place to make sure that they’re safe,” she said.
Flyers are posted in the bathrooms to raise awareness about the angel shot.
“A lack of consent doesn’t make it OK, no matter how much you’ve consumed,” said Adena sexual assault advocate Nicole Bullock.
Gillum and Adena are also working bring the angel shot to bars across town.
“It’s not about male or female,” she said. “It’s one step in the right direction to making our community as a whole, safer.”
The Adena Sexual Assault Survivor Advocacy Program has resources and support for anyone who’s experienced trauma. You can call them at: 740-779-7263 (open 8am-4pm)
For help 24/7 call Ohio’s Sexual Violence Hotline: 844-OHIO-HELP
If you’re in immediate danger call 911 or go to the emergency department.