You and a few girlfriends decide to go out for a night of food, dancing and a few drinks. However, throughout the night, other patrons will not stop sexually harassing you.

Many women have experienced sexual harassment in New York City’s bars and nightclubs. You may feel that you are powerless against it, even if you are in an otherwise safe venue that you trust. To combat sexual harassment in New York City’s nightlife, the City Council is considering a new measure that would put the impetus on venues to prevent sexual harassment.

Two new bills to fight harassment

Last year, New York City founded an Office of Nightlife to update the city’s laws regarding bars, nightclubs and other after-dark establishments. Now, based on data from the office, the City Council is considering two separate bills aiming to curb nightlife harassment. The legislation would require nightlife venues to:

  • Display conspicuous signage that their space is harassment-free
  • Include verbiage on these signs informing victims that they can report harassment to the venue’s security or staff
  • List on the sign several government resources that can help harassment victims
  • Conduct sexual harassment training if the venue has at least five employees
  • Provide bystander intervention training for staff members

The Council feels that these measures could reduce sexual harassment, but the bills are not without controversy. Nightlife advocates say that clubs, bars and other institutions are already bound by numerous other restrictions. They feel that it is unfair to put the impetus to end harassment on venues instead of individual perpetrators.

What can victims do, today?

If you have suffered sexual harassment in an after-dark venue, you don’t have to wait for future legislation to help you—you have options, today. You can report your harassment to law enforcement as well as the venue’s management. You can pursue legal action against an individual perpetrator or the venue. And you can discuss your experiences with other people, to help spread awareness of sexual harassment.