Katja Eman and Tinkara Bulovec
Project SHINE – Sexual Harassment in Nightlife Entertainment Spots: Control and Prevention took place between March 2020 and January 2023. We aimed to encourage local businesses in nightlife entertainment spots to create sexual harassment-free venues. In this regard, we conducted activities to raise awareness among employees, stakeholders, and visitors. We also conducted trainings/roundtables, networking meetings, and on-the-job consultations to equip employees with the knowledge and skills to effectively deal with incidents of sexual harassment.
During the first phase of the project, people’s lives in Slovenia and around the world were literally turned upside down by the outbreak of the virus that causes COVID-19. Due to the lockdown, restricted movement and compliance with all measures and instructions to prevent the spread of COVID-19, nightlife was virtually non-existent. Clubs and bars were closed, many people lost their jobs and there was a general fear of the unknown disease in society. This situation affected the implementation of the project’s sexual harassment activities, as other issues related to the pandemic took priority. Despite the difficult times, we managed to continue the project activities. We adapted to the situation and moved our activities to the virtual world. We managed to prepare the explorative, descriptive study, which included a review of literature, media publications in selected print and online media, websites of non-governmental organisations [NGOs], legal documents and Slovenian legislation on sexual harassment, with a focus on the areas of nightlife in Ljubljana. We conducted interviews with stakeholders (police, municipality, and nightlife managers) and victims. A preliminary online survey was also conducted. The above will be presented in the Slovenian national report from 2021.
In the monitoring report we provide an insight into the state of sexual harassment in nightlife venues, its prevention and perception. The aim of the report is to present our work during the project. We will give an insight into the prevention, legal definition, and perception of sexual harassment. The report will show whether our activities have had an impact on stakeholders associated with nightlife venues, staff, and owners. Based on the research, proposals for preventive measures will be presented.
I. CONCEPTUALIZATION, PERCEPTION, & PREVALENCE OF SEXUAL HARASSMENT IN SLOVENIA
I.1. LEGAL AND POLICY DOCUMENTS
First of all, we would like to mention that sexual harassment is, depending on the context of its occurrence, defined in various legal acts and documents:
• Protection Against Discrimination Act (slo. Zakon o varstvu pred diskriminacijo, 2016) – Article 8 defines harassment as: “undesirable conduct related to any personal circumstance that has the effect or intention of creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for a person and insults his or her dignity”. Sexual harassment is defined separately as “any form of unwanted verbal, non-verbal or physical conduct or behavior of a sexual nature with the effect or intent to affect the dignity of a person, especially when it creates an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment”.
• Equal Opportunities for Women and Men Act (slo. Zakon o enakih možnostih žensk in moških, 2002) – Article 5 provides equal treatment of individuals regardless of their sex, which is reflected in the absence of direct and indirect discrimination on the grounds of sex.
• The Employment Relationships Act (slo. Zakon o delovnih razmerjih-1, 2013) – Article 7 prohibits sexual or other harassment in the workplace and defines such acts as discrimination in the workplace. Article 24 states that employers must “take measures to prevent, eliminate and manage cases of violence, torture, harassment and other forms of psychosocial risk in workplaces that can endanger workers’ health”.
• Domestic Violence Prevention Act (Zakon o preprečevanju nasilja v družini, 2008), sexual violence involves “actions of a sexual nature without the victim’s consent, to which the victim is forced or does not understand their meaning owing to the victim’s stage of development, threats to use sexual violence and publication of material of a sexual nature relating to the victim” (under Article 3, paragraph 4).
• Slovenian Penal Code (slo. Kazenski zakonik [KZ-1-UPB2]) – When sexual harassment turns into more serious forms of sexual violence and represents a violation of sexual integrity, provisions of the Slovenian Penal Code, Chapter 19, shall apply. The chapter contains provisions relevant to the understanding of severe forms of sexual harassment or sexual violence. If the perpetrator forces or threatens a person of the same or opposite sex (victim) with an “imminent attack on life or limb” and by that force her/him to sexual intercourse or similar sexual conduct, we are dealing with rape (Article 170). In cases where coercion using force or threat “with imminent attack on life or limb” is used on a person of the same or opposite sex to do or suffer from any other sexual act that is not defined in the previously described Article 170, it is described as an act of sexual violence (under Article 171). Article 174 explains that an individual who “abuses his or her position to prepare a person of another or the same sex that is subordinate or dependent on him, to sexual intercourse, or to do or suffer from any other sexual action” violates sexual integrity by abuse of the situation. Sexual harassment in the workplace is in the Slovenian Penal Code defined separately under Article 197 (Workplace Mobbing).
• Protection of Public Order Act, 2006 (slo. Zakon o varstvu javnega reda in miru) – Street harassment represents a sui generis context, which is not addressed by most legal regulations (Sheley, 2018) nor by the Slovenian legal frame. The difference between sexual harassment and violence is mainly related to the legal distinction, as “minor incidents”of sexual harassment are not prosecuted and are not covered by the abovementioned chapter of the Penal Code (Podreka et al., 2021). The law provides legal ground for instituting misdemeanour proceedings by issuing an order for payment and ordering the infringement’s immediate ending. A person who behaves indecently (Article 7), violently, or daringly (Article 6) can be sanctioned. Prohibited behaviors include: if someone “provokes or encourages someone to fight or behaves in a daring, violent, rude, insulting or similar manner or persecutes someone and with such behavior causes him a feeling of humiliation, threat, hurt or fear”(Article 6). From the above diction, we can conclude that, although it is not explicitly mentioned, verbal and non-verbal sexual harassment is also sanctioned in this way (e.g., unwelcome conquest, obscene comments, and sexually suggestive gestures).
• Other legal documents, which refer to the field of sexual harassment are described in more detail in the national report and we only list them here:
o The resolution on the national crime prevention and suppression program for the period 2007–2011 (slo. Resolucija o nacionalnem programu preprečevanja in zatiranja kriminalitete za obdobje 2007–2011 [ReNPPZK0711]);
o The resolution on the national crime prevention and suppression program for the period 2012–2016 (slo. Resolucija o nacionalnem programu preprečevanja in zatiranja kriminalitete za obdobje 2012–2016 [ReNPPZK12-16]);
o The resolution on the national crime prevention and suppression program for the period 2019 – 2023 (slo. Resolucija o nacionalnem programu preprečevanja in zatiranja kriminalitete za obdobje 2019–2023 [ReNPPZK19–23]);
o Measures to prevent and combat mobbing and sexual harassment at workplace, in public spaces, and political life in the EU (slo. Resolucija Evropskega parlamenta z dne 11. septembra 2018 o ukrepih za preprečevanje trpinčenja in spolnega nadlegovanja na delovnem mestu, javnih mestih in v političnem življenju v EU ter boj proti njima [2018/2055(INI]).
Criminal acts of sexual violence are regulated by the Criminal Code [KZ-1-UPB2] (2012), and the misdemeanor part is contained in the Protection of Public Order Act, 2006 [ZJRM-1] (2006). Despite legislation that strives for zero tolerance for sexual violence, we can see a certain grey area in actions that could constitute both a misdemeanor and a crime. Due to the different forms of sexual violence, their severity, and the feelings of the victim, it is sometimes difficult to place a certain event in one or another category. Furthermore, acts of sexual violence are not strictly regulated in nightlife areas. The above is also confirmed by the grey area between misdemeanors and criminal acts in Slovenia, as the specificity of sexual violence is that such acts are difficult to prove and, as a result, are rarely placed in the latter category in practice.
I.2. PREVALENCE OF SEXUAL HARASSMENT IN LJUBLJANA
The official statistics is provided for the whole Police Directorate Ljubljana (Fig 1). The main nightlife activities are conducted in centre (in the picture marked with red dot). From the official statistics wed cannot obtain the data only for the nightlife venues in the city centre. Besides, victims are usually not willing to report those incidents. Consequently, we are dealing with a large grey area. The only insight that we can provide is based on activities conducted within the SHINE project.
The location of the nightlife venues is briefly illustrated in the image below (Fig. 2). In the google maps we could search only using one word, so we chose pub. The frequency is even higher if we include also clubs, bars, etc. We can support the abovementioned statement, that most of the nightlife is concentrated in the city centre.
From the above, we can say that some legal acts that address this issue of sexual harassment exist, but in the context of nightlife this is not enough. The specificity of the nightlife areas, the lack of material evidence, the fact that incidents are in most cases treated as a misdemeanour show the need for changes.
I.3. PRELIMINARY ONLINE SURVEY
Due to the absence of official statistics, we are showing insight into sexual harassment using the data from the preliminary study, conducted within the SHINE project. The study involved 175 individuals, 60 (34.3%) men, and 115 (65.7%) women, who were on average 37.35 ± 10.84 years old. Due to the lockdown, we conducted an online survey. 93.9% of the respondents affirmed nightlife engagement such as visiting bars, visiting parties in bars, and visiting private parties. Respondents to the question „with whom they engage in nightlife” most often chose the answer with friends (89%), followed by answers with a partner (38.2%), classmates (26.6%), and co-workers (10.3%). Respondents least often chose the answer that they visit bars and/or parties alone (5.1%).
In 75.5%, Ljubljana was mentioned as the city of nightlife entertainment, while the second most frequent city was Kranj (27.9%). We anticipated that the density of events in Ljubljana would be the highest, so we asked the respondents who stated that they are involved in the nightlife in Ljubljana an additional question about attending parties and bars in this area. Out of the respondents having fun in Ljubljana, 73.3% mentioned Ljubljana’s center (in the vicinity of Congress Square). The second most common location for nightlife in Ljubljana was the old town (42.2%), followed by parties in private spaces (38.8%), at the Gospodarsko razstavišče (18.1%), at Metelkova street and its surroundings (14.7%) and parties in dormitories and their surroundings (17.2%). Respondents also mentioned Stožice, Šiška, and Tivoli (0.6% each) as possible locations in Ljubljana locations for nightlife activities. 2.9% of the respondents additionally pointed out that they do not go to parties in Ljubljana.
Most respondents answered that they consume alcohol frequently during their activities (27.9%), and almost the same share of respondents stated that they consume alcohol every time (27.1%). 12.1% of the respondents said that they do not drink alcohol during their nightlife activities, and the rest of the respondents consume alcohol occasionally or rarely. Almost two-thirds of the respondents (59.3%) stated that they do not use tobacco products during nightlife. 18.6% of respondents report consuming tobacco products each time. Besides, 7.9% of the respondents consume tobacco products frequently. Other respondents stated that they rarely use tobacco products during the nightlife (11.4%) or sometimes (2.9%). Among illicit drugs, respondents in nightlife most often infrequently consume marijuana (12.1%), while 4.3% of respondents reported occasional and frequent use. Other psychoactive substances consumed by the surveyed nightlife visitors include cocaine (rarely 2.1%, often 2.1%), rarely ecstasy (and its derivatives) (3.6%), and other (unspecified) psychoactive substances (rarely 2.3%, often 1.6%). The vast majority (95%) of the surveyed nightlife visitors do not use the drugs mentioned above.
66.4% of respondents stated that they observed behaviors that represented verbal, non-verbal, or physical sexual harassment in nightlife areas. The observation of sexual harassment in nightlife entertainment spots was higher among female respondents, which observed sexual harassment in 67.8%. In comparison, male respondents observed sexual harassment behaviors in 63.4%.
40.5% of respondents indicated that they were exposed to sexual harassment in nightlife areas, and 3.1% of respondents did not want to talk about it. Male respondents affirmatively in 9.8%, on the contrary, female respondents confirmed being a victim of sexual harassment in 54,4%. The rest of the respondents stated that they had not experienced sexual harassment in nightlife areas.
Respondents were asked how often they were victims of verbal, nonverbal, and physical sexual harassment in nightlife areas. For each of the forms, we have given some examples of behaviors representing this form of harassment. In the following, we have combined the responses of those who have suffered from sexual harassment at least once. Since some of the respondents have experienced a particular form of sexual harassment several times, this does not represent the absolute number of violations or incidents of sexual harassment. Findings on the frequency of sexual harassment in nightlife areas are presented in tables below according to the form of sexual harassment – verbal, non-verbal, and physical. The frequency of individual sexual harassment behaviors suffered by respondents (n = 70) was divided into categories: never, rarely (1 to 3 times), occasionally (4 to 6 times), often (7 times to 10 times), very often (more than 10 times). At least once, respondents experienced acts of verbal harassment listed below:
● 78.6% experienced inappropriate comments about appearance or posture,
● 80.1% of them have been exposed to unwelcomed conquest,
● 74.3% received obscene remarks,
● 62.9% experienced repeated allusions to sexuality,
● 40% verbal coercion to sexual activity.
II. STAKEHOLDER COOPERATION AND PREVENTION OF SEXUAL HARASSMENT
The cooperation of stakeholders is crucial in the field of prevention. In our study, we included the police, municipality, and nightlife owners as stakeholders which can impact the state of prevention in the nightlife areas. Findings from the National Report (Report, 2021), showed:
• Violations of public order and peace, alcohol and drug abuse as primary issue in nightlife areas. Physical violence was observed as the most common form of violence.
• Alcohol and drug-related physical, psychological, and also sexual violence and public order violations (including creating noise and vandalism) were mentioned. Issues at the end of the opening time when drunk guests could not be served alcohol anymore. The guests sometimes reacted with negotiation first, followed by rudeness and aggression. Those incidents are solved mainly by security guards or the bar personnel (in cooperation with the security guards or if they are not present on their own) to remove someone from the bar.
• Communication and cooperation between police, municipality, and the owners is insufficient and needs to be improved.
• Need for better information transfer and a common strategy with staff, security guards, municipal wardens, and the (national) police.
• Impact of the City’s nightlife on Ljubljana’s image.
• Some activities were conducted in the field of awareness-raising and self-protective behavior. Most often preventive measure is the presence of security personnel but is not implemented in every venue. The training of personnel for coping with sexual harassment is not implemented.
II.1. CITY OF LJUBLJANA AND MUNICIPAL CONSTABULARY DEPARTMENT
Within the project, a few activities were conducted to get an insight into the role of the City and Municipal Constabulary Department in ensuring safe nightlife and sexual harassment prevention. City regulations for the operation of nightlife entertainment venues already exist. Besides, the area of violence prevention, also prevention of sexual violence, is defined in the Action Plan for Gender Equality and in the Social Security Development Strategy. Furthermore, as Ljubljana is a tourist destination, the nightlife plays an important role in the city’s image. In Ljubljana, we have a City manager, who is in charge of the communication between the bar owners and the city. An important role have Municipal wardens, which operate in the city center also in the mix patrols with the police. Consequently, we conducted the first network meeting on 14 October 2020 in the Municipal Constabulary Department. Possibilities for prevention and future work were discussed. Due to the Covid, further discussion and communication were held via email. After the lockdown, the nightlife boomed. Within the patrols in the city center, we enhance the visibility of Municipal wardens.
In the City of Ljubljana, we co-finance the activities of non-governmental organizations, including the program of the Society Key, which conducts workshops in secondary schools, where they discuss sexuality, violence, and prostitution with students. In 2022, we held 46 conversation hours for young people in the KEY school for young people, which were attended by 770 students. On November 25, 2022, the International Day against Violence against Women, the City launched a TikTok campaign aimed at raising awareness about stalking and how to act in the event of stalking, with which we want to reach the younger population in particular. A series of short awareness-raising films on this topic were made. Nevertheless, the City of Ljubljana has an innovative awareness raising about violence – House of Fears. House of Fears, in which visitors can face first-hand the fears that victims of various forms of violence experience on a daily basis. In the House of Fears, they were able to walk through several rooms in which, with equipment and sound and light effects, you can experience the feelings of victims of violence in the family, among school peers and online. This time, the experiential project was thematically supplemented with the particularly topical issue of sexual violence in nightlife.
A larger stakeholder meeting was held at the Town Hall on 9 November 2022. We discussed the possibility of implementation of the Memorandum. The proposition of the Memorandum was aimed at improving the safety of nightlife areas and a commitment to reduce the incidence of sexual violence and harassment in these areas. By signing the Memorandum, we want to encourage stakeholders working in nightlife areas to take action to limit, control, and prevent sexual violence and harassment in nightlife areas. We have developed a proposal that bars that sign the Memorandum should be marked with stickers indicating zero tolerance and the adoption of measures to control, limit, and prevent sexual violence and harassment. We want to promote awareness that safety is an important asset in nightlife, which can also have a positive impact on the business of a particular area. We discussed the pros and cons of the memorandum with the participants. We concluded that, if implemented, we should set up a monitoring system to check compliance with the memorandum and the zero-tolerance policy. The final decision about the memorandum was not taken by the end of the project.
We should point out that the police play an important role in sexual violence prevention. Including in the prevention of sexual harassment. Because official statistics are non-existent, we can provide insight based on the conducted interviews and discussions within the network meetings. They pointed out a large dark field. Besides, they pointed out that victims usually do not want to report the incidents. When the incidents are considered, some obstacles might occur. Police officers pointed out that in some cases collaboration with nightlife owners is difficult as they don’t want to get a bad reputation and do not give any information. Besides, in private places usually, security personnel is present and consequently, the police are not called for every incident that happens. Police are usually called to intervene in case of severe forms of sexual violence. In this regard, a problem with the material evidence was pointed out. The criminal procedure is in question when we have for example a victim who was drugged and then harassed or abused. The presence of rape drugs is evident only a few hours. The victim dosed not remember the incident. Besides, in many cases victim also takes a shower after the abuse before the report to the police, so the material evidence is lost. To sum up, the absence of material evidence and the questionability of personal evidence are the topics for further discussion. Currently, in practice, it is more efficient to consider the case of sexual harassment as a misdemeanor as a crime. Because in the first case, the sanctions are immediate and the perpetrator must pay a fine. In the latter case, the sanctions are questionable. Nevertheless, in some cases, doubt about the professionalism and skills of security personnel was pointed out. In some cases, they do not know about the phenomenon or are not educated about the proper response to it. In extreme cases, they can even be the perpetrators or accomplices.
II.3. OWNERS OF NIGHTLIFE AREAS
Due to the pandemic and the lockdown, we managed to conduct only a small survey among the nightlife owners, which is presented in the National Report, 2021). We aimed to find out if sexual harassment represents an issue and to what extent and how the owners cope with it. It was a recognized problem, but mainly they noticed that they heard about it and that they know that it happens, but not on their premises. They pointed out that better cooperation and responsiveness from the police are needed from their perspective. Afterward, we invited the nightlife owners to the network meetings, but we received a low response. As the main problematic they expressed alcohol-related verbal and physical violence and noticed, that sexual harassment is not the primary problem in the nightlife venues in Ljubljana. They were willing to follow the prepositions of the Memorandum if they would have a financial gain. They expressed fear that over-controlled places will lose clients and earnings. An example of good practice and zero-tolerance policy was highlighted in a gay club in Ljubljana. They have a strict zero-tolerance policy on harassment and the aggressor is immediately removed from the club. They also have permanent security staff who are trained to recognize the problem and intervene. They pointed out that they increased earnings as they provide a safe entertainment place.
II.4. EMPLOYEES IN NIGHTLIFE VENUES
Group and individual consultations were held at the Faculty of Criminal Justice and Security, University of Maribor in October and November 2022. The aim was to conduct on-the-job training consultations with 60 participants. For the on-the-job training consultations, we prepared a presentation and working material. The working material was intended for the participants to actively participate and write down their answers between the presentation and the discussion. During the discussion, we wrote down the highlights. The group and individual discussions were not recorded. We only collected the anonymized written answers of the participants. In the working material, we only recorded their working position, gender, age, and education. Participants only signed the attendance list, which is kept securely and will be destroyed after the prescribed time and in accordance with the law.
• The participants, pointed out that the current control mechanism, training of personnel, and preventive measures are not sufficient.
• In some cases bars and clubs implemented some preventive measures, mainly the presence of security personnel, warning bartenders to watch over the drink, lightning, or posters about consent or drugs.
• Discussion about security personnel pointed out the need for more qualified security personnel. Besides, respondents pointed out that more awareness raising and training of personnel and staff empowerment is needed to address the problem efficiently. In some premises, even security personnel is missing.
• Most common verbal forms of sexual harassment were pointed out. The majority noticed such behavior a few times.
• Besides, respondents pointed out that more awareness raising is needed – they noticed, that self-protection behavior can be included in educational programs.
• Important relatives and friends – don’t party alone.
• Drug prevention and alcohol policies need to be reconsidered.
• Education and awareness raising rather than only prevention – to get to the root cause of the problem.
• Opinion on the memorandum. In general, we got approval, as they noticed it is a good idea to provide greater security in nightlife venues. It is a great advantage that provides victim support and also that education of future offenders is included. It is a good way of stakeholder collaboration. With the implementation of preventive measures, we should not exaggerate as the visitors would feel uncomfortable and won’t come to the pub or club. They pointed out that efficient monitoring of compliance is needed. Too little emphasis on educating people was pointed out. They recognized Memorandum as a market niche – a safe place will be better visited. Certain dilemmas arose.
Two training sessions/round tables were held at the Faculty of Criminal Justice and Security, University of Maribor. The training was aimed to enhance the skills of the staff of nightlife venues, which have direct contact with nightlife visitors. With the training, we wanted to give them knowledge about what sexual harassment is, in what form it occurs, and in what ways they can react in the event of an incident being detected. For the training sessions prepared a working material. The working material was intended for the participants to actively participate and write down their answers in between the presentation and the discussion. Besides some general questions, we included role-playing and examples from practice, to engage the participants. While discussing, we wrote down the highlights. The training sessions were not recorded. We only gathered the anonymized written answers provided by the participants. In the working material, we gathered only their working position, sex, age, and education. The participants signed the presence list, which is safe storage and will be destroyed after the prescribed time and according to the law.
The contents of the working materials referred to the areas listed below:
• Occurrence of sexual harassment. Which forms are the most prevalent?
• The course of the event/events – who was the victim, who was the perpetrator, and what was the reaction of the people around them?
• Role-playing – imaginary situation of sexual harassment:
o How would they react as a bystander or as a victim?
o Who would they ask for help?
o What would they do to get out of the situation?
• Discussion on what has been done in practice and what can be improved in the field of prevention. How should they approached when sexual harassment happens?
• We presented the 5D model developed in the SINE project as a possible approach to controlling sexual harassment.
• We have prepared a Preposition of Memorandum aimed at improving the safety of nightlife areas and a commitment to reduce the incidence of sexual violence and harassment in these areas.
• More than half of the participants noticed sexual harassment in nightlife venues, most commonly they mentioned that they noticed it more times.
• They did not receive any training on sexual harassment or violence and how to deal with it when they started working.
• They pointed out that some forms of sexual harassment are difficult to distinguish from normal sexual behavior in clubs and bars.
• They noted that, apart from security staff, no preventive measures were taken. Some of the participants mentioned preventive measures, which, in addition to security staff, included awareness posters and notices to watch the drinks (because of the possibility of unwanted drugs).
• They suggested more security staff in nightlife venues, especially in front of toilets.
• They also supported stricter alcohol policies and situational prevention measures.
III. TYPICAL SCENARIO OF INCIDENTS, VICTIMS, HARASSERS
Usually, it starts with a party in a public place and with a lot of alcohol consumption. The perpetrators are deliberately looking for careless girls in bars, paying them a drink or two (sometimes they secretly throw drugs into a drink with the intention to rape the victim), and then they sexually abuse the helpless victim. Sometimes, more perpetrators are included. For the victim, alcohol and drugs can cause vomiting and dizziness. Police officers pointed out the importance of bystanders or friends in these cases, helping the victims and preventing victimization. Another possible event course is that parties often continue in private apartments (home parties) where victims are abused.
A minor share of victims have been under the significant influence of alcohol before the event happened. In some cases, the victimization happened due to the rape drugs, which were put into their drinks. Most of the victims were young females in their 20s, but victimization happened also to the females of other age groups. We noticed that the males were also victims, but did not pay much attention to the harassment. The perpetrators were most often younger men in their 20s and early 30s. Most of the perpetrators were under the influence of alcohol. The importance of bystander intervention was recognized – bystanders prevented the escalation of the incidents.
IV. PREVENTION AND CONTROL OF SEXUAL HARASSMENT IN NIGHTLIFE VENUES
• From the conducted research, we (the Slovenia research team) can point out that it is essential to talk about unacceptable behaviors that represent sexual harassment with different target groups. In the context of the educational system in Slovenia already existing cooperation with police and NGOs. Besides other topics, sexual harassment and a zero-tolerance policy against it should be included in the educational system from an early age. Some successful projects against violence were already introduced and well-accepted in Slovenia. We mentioned a few of them in the analysis of NGOs (e.g., the awareness-raising project “Drop Carves the Stone”, a project about the unacceptability of violence on a date (dating violence).
• Based on the conducted activities, we can point out that bystanders willing to intervene are crucial to prevent more severe victimization. We propose a campaign never party alone to promote the importance of reliable company (e.g., a friend) when engaging in nightlife.
• Stakeholders noticed some connection between sexual harassment and alcohol or drug consumption which should be addressed in awareness-raising campaigns. Besides, the promotion of healthy partying without binge drinking, we should do more. We should include fun events such as a non-alcohol party where it would be checked with an alcohol test if guests can party without alcohol. Those who would not be under the influence of alcohol would be somehow rewarded (e.g., given back the entrance fee, etc.).
Measures to prevent the use of drugs for rape and technical solutions to prevent sexual harassment
• We notice that rape drugs are a pretty common problem in nightlife venues. We should consider some technical solutions, e.g., such as promoting party bracelets, straws, or cups that can detect drugs in the drink. It would be interesting to see the promotors with antidrug equipment for a safer night out. Besides, new inventions such as nail polish can detect drugs in the beverages are being tested (further reading, e.g., Reilly, 2018). We appeal to bar owners to give, for example, “antidrugs” bracelets to everyone when paying the entrance fee. It would not be too much of a cost for the bar owner when ordering more and could contribute a lot to guests’ safety. Every individual likes to have fun safely, and we think that in this case, they would also pay a few euros more for the entrance fee.
• Nevertheless, we should mention that some awareness-raising already exists in Ljubljana nightlife areas in the form of posters warning not to leave the drink unattended.
• Talking about rape drugs, we notice that one of the weak points is represented by waiters who, in exchange for a bribe frame a potential victim a rape drug (which is usually colorless, warlike, and tasteless) the drink. Mentioned is a multifaceted problem that should be tackled by offering higher salaries to waiters in the first place, thereby reducing the risk of the waiter succumbing to a bribe. With higher pays, the bribe does not represent a profit. Moreover, a video surveillance system over the counters could, in terms of situational prevention, significantly help to reduce the possibility of committing such acts, as the risk to waiters is higher compared to the profit in this case. Besides those mentioned above, it would be beneficial to raise the awareness of waiters about such drugs’ dangers.
• The idea that came to us in the analysis of the answers is that we could take some returnable plastic chips at the entrance, connected to the present security staff, and be pressed by people in danger in this area, thus triggering a silent alarm. The doubt that arises is the additional cost of security staff and the possibility of false reporting.
Situational crime prevention measures
• Besides the above-mentioned preventive measures that the potential victims can take, installing a video surveillance system, improving lighting, reinforcing the presence of security personnel, police visibility in the nightlife venues, and eliminating blind spots in bars can reduce opportunities for the perpetrators of sexual harassment.
• Besides, we suggest more frequent police and municipality wardens’s preventive activities, for example, undercover observation patrols. Otherwise, there are already combined police patrols of the Police and Municipal Constabulary Department, which have been very successful. If there is a chance that someone will punish the potential offender, they will behave better, and the increased presence of law enforcement acts as general prevention.
General crime prevention
• In the Slovenian legal system, we should define street and stranger harassment as offenses. Furthermore, in the sense of general prevention, we could try increasing penalties for sexual violence, which would have a deterrent effect and potentially deter potential perpetrators from committing such acts.
Empowerment of employees in nightlife areas
• Besides, employees in nightlife areas must be empowered with knowledge and resources to identify and respond to such events correctly. Employees should be like “invisible heroes” when they are faced with sexual harassment behaviors. Invisible because the intervention of employees can put them in danger (e.g., the offender’s violent reaction), so they need to pass information to the security guards or police in an imperceptible way (e.g., pressing the emergency button on the bar counter).
• We should agree on some signs which indicate that the person is not alright and represent the reason for action. Few signs already exist, e.g., call for Angela; palm with tucked thumb and then making like a feast with the tucked thumb under other fingers, etc.
• Participation of co-workers and management is crucial to achieving zero tolerance for sexual violence in nightlife areas. In addition to introducing staff to the hospitality sector, training should be included to identify and respond to events of sexual violence, including sexual harassment.
Better communication, cooperation, and information transfer between stakeholders
• A significant contribution to the nightlife’s safety can be achieved with better information transfer and collaboration between stakeholders, especially between nightlife entertainment spot administrators and police. We should upgrade the Memorandum preposition with mandatory reporting and provision of information from bar administrators to the police and the penalties provided for non-compliance.
V. CONCLUSION REMARKS
The monitoring report provides insight into sexual harassment in nightlife entertainment spots in Ljubljana. Conducted activities show that sexual harassment represents an issue of the nightlife in Ljubljana. On the contrary, there are no official data on the analyzed issue.
In 2016 Slovenia adopted the Protection Against Discrimination Act. The act also defines sexual harassment and provides financial sanctions for the perpetrators. With the adoption of such legislation, Slovenia has taken a step forward in connection with discrimination, including sexual harassment, and moved away from the traditionally accepted roles of men and women in society. The social definition of acceptable behavior is defined culturally and, therefore, subject to change. We should continue with this type of policy that seeks zero tolerance for any kind of violence and discrimination.
According to Cohen & Felson (1979), the routine activity theory assumes that the presence of a motivated perpetrator in a given time and place, the presence of an appropriate target, and the absence of a competent guardian are crucial to the emergence of criminal offenses. Still, according to Clodfelter, Turner, Hartman & Kuhns (2008), consumption of substances may reduce the victim’s safety, which, particularly when close to a motivated offender, increases the likelihood that an individual might become an appropriate target. Thus, alcohol consumption constitutes an essential factor that increases individuals’ risk of victimization due to sexual harassment (Abbey, Zawacki, Buck, Clinton & McAuslan, 2001; Rothman & Silverman, 2007). Alcohol consumption is associated with the emergence of sexual harassment in nightlife areas where victims, particularly women, are expected to tolerate sexual harassment due to a generally prevalent culture of accepting such behaviors (Mellgren et al., 2017). Our activities confirmed the abovementioned, as alcohol and drug consumption were often mentioned as causes of sexual harassment in nightlife venues. The abovementioned can be a basis for awareness-raising campaigns about the importance of alcohol consumption in moderation. As seen, excessive alcohol consumption in nightlife areas presents a potential danger for becoming a victim. We should reconsider alcohol policies.
We can point out that it is essential to talk about unacceptable behaviors of sexual violence with different target groups. Some successful projects against violence were already introduced and well-accepted in Slovenia. Among the work of non-governmental organizations, we should point out the SOS Association’s (Slo. Društvo SOS) awareness-raising project – “A Drop Carves the Stone”. The campaign was about the unacceptability of violence on a date or dating violence, which includes, among other things, sexual violence, and is in Slovenia still marked as a taboo topic (Društvo SOS, 2019). Egen et al. (2020) pointed out that media can play an essential “role by partnering with public health organizations” to ensure accurate, nonbiased representations of sexual violence and news, which would include victim-blaming. Besides, the partnering would be beneficial to include “prevention messages in stories about sexual violence”. Other awareness-raising campaigns and research are needed to tackle the roots of traditionally accepted behaviors of sexual violence in nightlife entertainment spots.
Nevertheless, we managed to prepare a significant amount of recommendations for the sexual harassment prevention model. Besides awareness-raising campaigns in the educational system about sexual harassment, we should notice the potential danger of nightlife entertainment spots in alcohol and drug consumption. In nightlife entertainment spots, we noticed the presence of rape drugs. Their occurrence is complex to prevent, but we can avoid drinking a beverage with contained rape drugs technical solution for detecting drugs, e.g., drug-sensitive bracelets, straws, and glasses. Besides, we should point out that bystander’s intervention in cases of sexual harassment. Bystanders willing to intervene are crucial to prevent more severe victimization. Furthermore, employees in nightlife areas must be empowered with knowledge and resources to identify and respond to such events correctly. A significant contribution to the nightlife’s safety can be achieved with better information transfer and collaboration between stakeholders, especially between nightlife entertainment spot administrators and police. Nevertheless, situational prevention measures and general prevention should be used to prevent possibilities for committing sexual harassment and deter potential offenders of sexual harassment in nightlife entertainment spots.