Coffee shop creates safe space after woman followed downtown

Mar 22 2021, 1:47 pm

After a woman was stalked while walking through Vancouver last week, a local coffee shop is now offering a safe space for other women who might find themselves in a similar position.

Harken Coffee “is already a safe space for anybody who comes in [and] we just wanted to let people know and put some feelings of comfort out into the community,” founder Eldric Stuart told Daily Hive.

Recognizing that “there is a lot of anxiety out there with recent stories having come out about men following women and putting their safety and well-being at risk, Harken welcomes those who feels threatened or unsafe is welcome to come inside and ‘just hang out.'”

If the person still feels unsafe, or can’t vocalize their situation because the person who followed them has entered the coffee shop as well, all the person needs to do is order a non-fat Americano – a drink that Stuart doesn’t actually exist, but rather is a code for requesting assistance.

A lot of times people can find themselves in a situation where they can’t be as vocal about their predicament and “that’s when you need to have those code words,” he said.

 

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Once this “order” is placed, staff can then “find out what the person needs, notify the police, or a woman’s shelter, or let them wait in back area until someone comes to pick them up. The person can enter out the shop’s back gate, if need be.”

And while Stuart said he hopes “we’re never in a situation where we have to use that code word, it’s better to have it in place, in case somebody needs it.”

At the end of the day, if someone help to someone else in need of it, “they should act on that,” he said. “It’s important, and it shouldn’t just be the responsibility of women to have to protect themselves. We’re all in this together, and we need to protect those around us, whether we know them or not.”

Harken Coffee is located at 338 Powell Street.

Eric ZimmerEric Zimmer

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