Nightlife environments are widely valued for their diversion, socialization, experimentation, celebration and break with the formal and familiar responsibilities. However, besides their emancipatory and libertarian character, are also space-times that reproduce, and several times exacerbate, the class, ethnic and gender inequalities we find in the overall society. In nightlife environments, gender asymmetries are found in the recurrent use of sexist contents and in the incidence of sexual violence that mainly victimize women. In these environments, people are invited to “loose control” but women have the difficult and challenging task of reconciling the “culture of excess” with the maintenance of their respectability and femininity. Additionally, women have to integrate the experiences of sexual harassment as a normal component of their night-time leisure. In case of sexual abuses or aggressions, they are blamed because they were not able to control and protect themselves or because they, somehow, caused the situation. These asymmetries are based in rape myths that are culturally accepted where the same behaviours (for e.g. drug use) are used to excuse the perpetrator (“he couldn’t control himself”) and blame the victim (“she didn’t protect herself”).
“Sexism Free Night - Prevention of Sexual Violence and promotion of a non-sexist nightlife” intends to promote safer and more egalitarian nightlife environments. It is an action-research project that will assess the Portuguese reality in what concerns sexual harassment, abuse and aggression in nightlife environments, and will explore their relation with drug use. It will, additionally, offer a multilevel community-based intervention that intends to contribute to the promotion of equal nightlife environments and prevent sexual violence.