We’re all concerned with safety at work. Clubs might have poor security, guys can try to follow us home, and we’ve all heard about girls being robbed or assaulted. Sure, it’s true that the money can pit us against one another since we all have bills to pay, but when the situation requires it, dancers will take care of each other. If you do have a negative experience, don’t be afraid to reach out to others for help and to warn them of the problem. Being aware of safety concerns is the first step in addressing them.
Many of us feel unsafe at work when rowdy customers try to violate our physical boundaries. It doesn’t matter if the customer tells you that other girls do it or claims to be a friend of the club’s owner. If you feel unsafe, trust your gut and call security.
• Don’t hesitate to turn down a customer if you get a bad vibe from him.
• Don’t be afraid to remind customers that there are cameras and security staff all over the club.
I say ‘Don’t do that! Are you trying to get me fired?’ when customers get too grabby. That way it sounds like it’s coming from management, not me. – Julie
• If you’re comfortable talking to management at your club, let them know if a certain customer causes you trouble. Many managers will respect your boundaries if you’re clear about them.
• Be cautious about giving out your real name and phone number, and don’t tell customers where you live.
• Try to get a sense of what is expected in the champagne room at your club. Oftentimes customers may expect or demand more physical contact in the champagne room, and management may be willing to turn a blind eye—or take the customer’s side—because they are getting a share of the rates.
One time I was in the champagne room with this guy and he was being so grabby, I had to fight him off. In the end he asked for his money back. I thought the manager would take my side but he told me not to come back to work if I wasn’t willing to do what customers wanted in the champagne room. – Zoe
If you feel that the management or security staff at your club doesn’t care about your personal safety, you might want to think about trying a different club.
When you leave the club, be aware of your surroundings or walk with other dancers or staff for added security. Make sure you have car service phone numbers in case you decide to use them. This is important if you find yourself in a situation where you have been drinking or are not sure if you can get home safely. If you are waiting for a car service or a ride, wait inside until the car comes.
When it’s late or super-quiet outside, sometimes I’ll walk in the middle of the street rather than the sidewalk. – Donna
I keep my phone in my hand, ready to dial my emergency contact person if I need to. – Monique
“Before a shift, I always make sure a friend knows my schedule for the day. As soon as I get home, I send her a text that I made it back all right. – Stacey,
I took a self-defense class called Female Self-Awareness. It was super empowering and made me more aware of my surroundings and how to behave in different situations. – Vera
Share these safety tips with friends, whether they are dancers or not. Also, check out our Resources section for free self-defense classes and support if you are attacked or are the victim of a crime.