A Quebec student group is hoping to convince bars to put a strategy in place to help people leave situations they feel put them at risk for sexual violence.

The goal is to convince 40 to 50 bars in university areas to take part in the campaign, by allowing men or women who feel threatened to order a particular drink at the bar.

When someone orders an ‘Angelot’ -- or an Angel shot in English -- they are not asking for a drink, but rather for the bartender’s help in leaving the situation, no questions asked.

More specifically, these three drink orders:

  • Angelot without ice: Staff is to take the client to a safe place, where they can decide whether they want to return or speak to the person who threatened them.
  • Angelot with ice: The person wants to leave immediately. Staff should help them leave and call them a taxi.
  • Angelot with lime: The person was a victim of an assault. Staff should call police, drive them to another location and wait with them for police to arrive.

Launched Sunday in Montreal, so far Resto Bar La Maisonnée near Université de Montréal and Pub Universitaire of Université Laval have signed up to be part of the campaign by Quebec Student Health Alliance.

Stephanie Juteau, co-owner of La Maisonnée, said it makes sense for her to help students.

"We're situated near the University of Montreal so our customers are mostly students," said Juteau.

She added that the "Angelot" code is not secret, but it does offer some discretion.

"If the girl just says the word she doesn't need to give an explanation. We know that we're going to help her because she's saying this word," said Juteau.

Beginning this autumn, the Quebec Student Health Alliance expects dozens of bars will put up posters in washrooms advising clients of the policy.

"We're starting small to make sure it works and is efficient," said Patrice Allard, adding the Alliance expects many more bars will participate once the program is running smoothly.

Similar anti-rape campaigns exist elsewhere, including the Ask for Angela campaign in the U.K., and the Angel Shots program in the U.S.

Critics say not all staff are trained to respond properly, if at all, and point out abusers are likely to be aware of these code words.

Training for Quebec's program will be given by Sans Oui C'est Non.

Marie Gauthier said many people end up being victims of sexual violence.

"It's an active bystanders training so we're trying to help the staff become more aware of all the sexual violence we have in bars," she said.

The campaign begins as Higher Education Minister Hélène David wraps up public consultations on sexual violence on campus.

David travelled from Quebec to Saguenay, via Gatineau and Sherbrooke, and then on Monday heard from those concerned in Montreal.

David announced the launch of consultations to better prevent and respond to sexual violence on campuses in the wake of a series of sexual assaults at Université Laval last October.

Her goal is new legislation, along with a province-wide approach, to dealing with sexual assault.

David said she noticed a 'change of culture' on the subject.

"There are plenty of different initiatives that were proposed. We have students, we have teachers, we have presidents of universities, we have the CALACs, the CAVACs [groups that help victims of sexual assault], we have the lawyers, we have a lot of people who are very concerned with the issue," said David.

"I think we will pick up the best of all the interventions." 

David hopes to have a first draft of legislation ready by September.

She added that she and Education Minister Sebastien Proulx are also examining re-introducing a province-wide course on sexual education.