Mar 22, 2023
Sexual violence is a widespread issue affecting countless survivors every year. Studies indicate that every 68 seconds another American is sexually assaulted (and one out of every six American women has been the victim of either an attempted or completed rape in her lifetime).
One of the most common settings conducive to incidents of sexual assault is nightlife – specifically bars and clubs.
In 2016, a report from Vice.com analyzed a substantial increase in reports of rape at bars and clubs throughout London. Some of the nightlife sexual violence statistics confirmed through the piece included:
Overall, the Vice article confirmed a “dramatic rise” in recorded sexual offenses in or immediately outside of licensed drinking premises across London.
Furthermore, a 2021 report from Timeout.com, which was based on data compiled by the Metropolitan Police, confirmed that reports of sexual assault in London bars, pubs, nightclubs, and music venues were at a six-year high that year.
Additional sexual violence statistics verified through the more-recent data for 2021 include:
Here in the U.S., efforts have been made at the local level to reduce incidents of sexual violence related to date rape drugs.
In August 2022, the West Hollywood City Council approved a plan to purchase and distribute drink-spiking test strips to local bars, restaurants, and patrons in an effort to “drive down the number of sexual assaults happening in the area.”
The testing strips, which were handed out to community members, are designed to detect common date rape drugs, including:
By placing a drop of one’s drink on the testing strip, a user may confirm whether or not it’s safe. Additionally, users may scan a QR code with extended safety information.
Distribution of the date rape drug testing strips took place in West Hollywood last year, with a number of local leaders and volunteers canvassing the city and handing out 2,500 kits.
After distributing the drink testing kits, councilmembers hosted a meeting which included a discussion on nightlife safety at the council chambers. The conversation specifically addressed recent reports of people who believed they were secretly drugged while out in West Hollywood.
As nightlife sexual violence has skyrocketed, a new trend for increasing patron safety and preventing crimes has garnered attention on social media platforms like TikTok. Specifically, content related to the term ‘Angel Shot’ has generated millions of views.
According to a report from the New York Post, the term ‘Angel Shot’ first gained traction in 2016 when a St. Petersburg restaurant coined the “rescue signal” to help women who felt unsafe.
In essence, an Angel Shot is a discrete call for help in the form of a drink order at a bar, restaurant, or nightclub.
According to a report from GetTips.com, an Angel Shot is defined as:
“a drink order made by a customer to inform a bartender that they
are in an unsafe situation and need assistance”
By requesting an Angel Shot, a customer is indicating that she or he needs help but does not feel comfortable outright asking for it in the present situation. As GetTips.com also noted, Angel Shot orders are usually requested in the presence of someone else – a potential sexual predator – who puts the customer in a dangerous position or makes the customer feel uncomfortable.
An Angel Shot may be ordered by anyone who believes their date, acquaintance, or another patron poses a danger. Specifically, reports have noted that Angel Shots can be effective in preventing various types of sexual and physical violence, including:
But as various media reports have noted, it’s critical for all parties involved (including bartenders, servers, etc.) to be aware of not only what the term ‘Angel Shot’ means, but also understand how to proceed when someone places such an order.
A specific Angel Shot may be ordered depending on the type of assistance being requested by the person feeling threatened.
For example, Angel Shots with certain details can have different meanings:
As GetTips.com notes, anyone can order an Angel Shot, including people feeling:
“Regardless of age, race, gender, intoxication level, or any other factors, an Angel Shot indicates that the customer feels unsafe and needs help removing themselves from the situation.
Things do not need to seem escalated or heated for an Angel Shot to be ordered. It is the bartender’s responsibility to take the words ‘Angel Shot’ seriously, regardless of how the situation seems,” GetTips.com said.
As the report further notes, if you are wondering whether or not to order an Angel Shot, it is essential to remember that safety should always come first.
“If someone makes you feel unsafe in any way, you should put your safety first and ask for help. It is better to use caution and prioritize your safety than risk getting hurt,” GetTips.com said.
As mentioned earlier, the effectiveness of an Angel Shot is only possible if bartenders or other nightlife workers are educated on the meaning, reasons for ordering, and steps to take. A bartender should do everything possible to aid a customer who feels that they are in danger and take immediate action depending on the situation, including:
While waiting for authorities to arrive, bartenders reportedly may serve a customer a shot glass or drink with water, juice, or soda to present the appearance that the person ordered an alcohol beverage (but will not alert the potential abuser to take action and remove them from the situation).
However, as GetTips.com notes, some customers may understand the concept of an Angel Shot without knowing or remembering how to request their specific needs in the order.
“It is best to smile and appear to accept the order. In this case, get the customer a non-alcoholic drink and look for a way to get the person alone to ask them what they need. If you cannot find a way to speak to the person, alert the authorities,” the website says.
“As a bartender, the safety of your customer comes above everything else. Taking the appropriate action when someone uses the term Angel Shot could save their life.”
In addition, the GetTips.com website offers state-by-state links for Responsible Beverage Server (RBS) training. In California, over 5.5 million alcohol sellers/servers have been certified by GetTips.com, and earning an RBS certificate can be completed online.
Under a recent California law – Assembly Bill 2777 (AB 2777) – adult survivors of sexual assault have the opportunity to file civil claims for financial compensation without being barred by the standard statute of limitations. AB 2777 officially opened a three-year window for any sexual assault at the beginning of this year. Accordingly, if your sex crime occurred on or after January 1, 2009, you may now file a civil lawsuit with Dordulian Law Group (DLG) seeking to recover various damages, such as:
Filing a sexual assault civil lawsuit can be an avenue which allows survivors to secure justice while also obtaining financial compensation for harm endured. From now until December 31, 2026, any adult survivor of California sexual assault may file a claim for an incident of sexual violence which occurred in 2009 or later.
For a free and confidential consultation regarding your sexual assault case, contact a member of the DLG team today by calling 866-GO-SEE-SAM.
Founded by Sam Dordulian, a former sex crimes prosecutor in the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office and member of RAINN’s National Leadership Council, DLG’s unique 24/7 support network known as the SAJE Team (Sexual Assault Justice Experts) offers survivors peace of mind through proven results. We’ve secured countless multi-million dollar sexual assault settlements on behalf of clients.
Some of our recent sexual violence case victories include:
Dordulian and his team of Los Angeles, California, sexual assault attorneys are dedicated to helping survivors obtain the justice they deserve through maximum financial damages awards.
Our law firm in Glendale, CA advocates for victims of sexual assault, injury, employment disputes, and personal injury concerns.