With the ongoing Me Too conversation, venues where sexual harassment and assault are prevalent have started to take a hard look at what they can do to prevent it from happening – or at least ally themselves with women and victims who may be feeling harassed. A few techniques such as drink coasters that remind patrons about the nuances of consent, Hooter’s new “Angel Shot” code and washroom signs suggesting women who feel uncomfortable ask the bartender for “Angela” have gained attention. Now a Victoria, B.C. event centre may have just upped the ante.
i saw this in a toilet and thought it was important and should be a thing everywhere not just lincolnshire !!!! pic.twitter.com/oO45I7gaJL
— strawberry girl (@iizzzzzi) October 18, 2016
This week, the Victoria Event Center hired a “Consent Captain” who will help to prevent sexual harassment and assault at the venue, hopefully, before it happens. Tanile Geib, who is a sexual health educator and intimacy coach, was hired in the position and has already been doing a similar job at the Crush Collective queer dance party in the city for the past year and a half.
“I can go talk to people who are having more complicated behaviours or more inappropriate behaviours and we can go from there, or sometimes it’s just about supporting someone who’s had something happen to them,” Geib told CTV News, “Whether it’s a stare or a physical touch or dancing too close, they can come to me.”
When Geib is approached by someone who is feeling harassed, she asks them if she can talk to the person who is behaving inappropriately. If the answer is yes, she says she opens conversations by letting the person know they’ve made someone uncomfortable and asking if they’d like to talk through it. If they continue the behaviour, Geib warns them it isn’t tolerated here and may eventually ask them to leave, giving them her card with an invitation to follow up with her when they’re sober.
Geib will also intervene in situations that seem to verge on assault or harassment and check in on people who look heavily intoxicated to prevent others from taking advantage. Her training and dedicated role allow her to catch and engage in situations that traditional bouncers might not notice.
With the amount of inappropriate behaviour a bar dancefloor sees late at night, it certainly doesn’t hurt to have a trained (and sober) set of eyes checking in on questionable interactions. Is this consent captain, a position more bars should adopt?