Connect with your local entertainment businesses and ask them what policies they have in place to prevent sexual violence.
This is a situation I heard a while ago, but I keep thinking about common situations like this happen. How many times have you been the bystander in a similar situation?
Three young women went out for drinks one evening. At closing time, they decided to wait outside for their cab. As they waited, they noticed a man talking to a young woman who appeared to be intoxicated and uncomfortable. The women thought something didn’t seem right and tried to listen to the conversation. The man was trying to convince the young woman to let him give her a ride home. Noticing the vulnerable situation this woman was in, the three women decided to try to change the situation by inviting the young woman to ride home in their cab, and she accepted their offer. Instead of the man deciding to leave, he brought a bigger man into the situation in another attempt to convince the young woman to leave — only this time he thought she should leave with the two men. After a number of attempts and the women collectively saying no, the two men left.
As we talked more about this situation, we learned there was a bouncer who repeatedly checked on the womens’ safety. We also learned that there was conversation in the cab that provided a little more insight into the situation: the woman knew the two men, but they were not friends. The woman also had more to drink than she usually did and had no money to find her own way home.
As a sexual assault advocate, there are so many layers to this situation. What I keep going back to is prevention and demanding the change. What if these three women had not been there? Would someone else have stepped forward as a responsible bystander? Would the bouncer have stepped in and insured that this woman had a safe ride home? If she had taken a cab with these two men, would the cab driver have brought her home despite the men’s request? Or would anyone who could have intervened along the way have decided to mind their own business and do nothing?
These are all possible options. What if the bouncer knew he could get reimbursed by the bar if he paid the cab fare for her safe ride home? What if the cab driver knew his company would support his decision in giving her a safe ride home for free? What if the bar and cab company created a policy together to ensure safety over profit under these circumstances? These are all policies that can be put into place to prevent sexual violence — policies that demand the change.
You can demand the change by connecting with your local entertainment businesses. You can inspire a change of heart in how your local businesses/community views a vulnerable situation. Instead of thinking it is one person being irresponsible, let’s inspire a change of heart to understand vulnerable situations happen because one person is choosing to sexually harm or exploit another person.