(CNN)When Carri Phyllis opened her bar in Albuquerque, New Mexico, earlier this year, one of the first things she did was put up a sign in the women's bathroom to alert female patrons that they can discreetly ask for help if they're in a bad situation.
Bar offers 'angel shot' as a code to help women flag a bartender for help
The words "Date Gone Wrong?" are written in bold at the top, followed by instructions for ordering an "angel shot" — it's a code, signaling to the bartender to help.
"If anyone is bothering you or making you feel uncomfortable, ask for an Angel Shot," the sign reads. "We'll get you out of the situation and transportation, if needed."
Phyllis didn't invent the angel shot—the code word has been gaining popularity in bars around the world in recent years. But Phyllis, a former rape crisis center worker, is also aware of the danger unique to her state. In New Mexico, an estimated 1 in 4 women will experience rape or attempted rape in her life, according to the rape crisis center. That's higher than the national rate of 1 in 6 women.
Since her bar opened in January, Phyllis says, there have so far been two instances of an angel shot being ordered. When that happens,"immediately the bartender gets the manager or security, and they assess the situation," Phyllis said. "We're not going to give that person harassing the female a chance to keep harassing her."
Phyllis says her experience as a woman working with survivors of sexual assault has informed how she wants to run her business.
"I want them to come to my bar here and feel safe, and know they're being taken care of," she said. "Unfortunately we live in a culture that is male dominated."
"I hope that other bars will follow suit, no matter what they call it," she said.