By Freya Shaw, News Reporter
Amongst feelings of high tensions regarding women’s safety, the campaign Girls Night In has been launched across the UK to raise awareness for the increase in spiking.
The campaign was launched by Bristol Student Milly Seaford, who is currently intercalating in Edinburgh, and another Edinburgh student Martha Williams.
The Instagram account @girlsnightoutbristol told Epigram that ‘They started the page as they had growing anxiety on nights out with fear of being spiked especially by injectables. Although Bristol doesn't seem to have as bad of a spiking problem the recent video of the alleged spiking in Bristol Pryzm shows that we're not exempt!’
The student led boycott in Bristol is set to happen on 27 October but is happening nationwide as a movement.
GNI Bristol also said that ‘Ideally our end goal is to change the class of date rape drugs from class C to a higher class so there are more consequences for offenders.’ In under 24 hours the Instagram account gained over 1.4k followers, clearly showing the widespread support for the anti-spiking movement across Bristol Students.
2nd Year Bristol Student Olivia Raymond said, ‘I feel like there is a constant threat to my friends and I, and that we can never fully relax and enjoy nights out’, and that as a result she fully supports the boycott to help stop spiking.
Another student Lottie Adams similarly commented that ‘Stories of being spiked have wrongly become part of the normalised discourse surrounding club culture. Hopefully this campaign will change that.’
The fears were summarised by another female student affected by the spiking Marine Saint who said, ‘It’s really important for the conversation surrounding spiking to focus on stopping victim-blaming and how to stop spiking people. Given the anxiety and health risk it has created for clubbing and nightlife, it is vital that there is urgent change to the way clubs are run and people are educated on nights out.’
GNI highlighted to Epigram how ‘We are doing more than simply boycotting. We have been in contact with many night clubs and university clubs (UOB and UWE) to see what we can achieve together. In particular lizard lounge has offered to increase the amount of posters for awareness on spiking and where to turn for help, they have also considered ordering cup caps and bottle stops to prevent adding substances to drinks and they are undergoing staff training in drink spiking on Tuesday 26/10. We've also had contact with Fishies who run sports night - they are bringing up our concerns to the owners of Bristol clubs. The SU and other committees are discussing the spiking epidemic in meetings this week.’
According to a Freedom of Information request there has been a 108 per cent increase in the number of reports to police that include both the words ‘drink’ and ‘spiking’ or ‘lacing’ since 2015. As a result, there is a petition also circulating, which currently has over 100,000 signatures, ‘to make it a legal requirement for nightclubs to thoroughly search guests on entry.’
The epidemic of drinks spiking targeting young women - students and not - in nightclubs has a horrific new variant: injecting women in the back or leg with the same drugs. I asked my daughter - first year at a UK uni - if she had heard of it and she sent me this: pic.twitter.com/bWJmYRXfXi— Lucy Ward (@lucymirandaward) October 19, 2021
Whilst this petition marks a positive step to addressing the issues, GNI explained how ‘There is an issue with club searching as we feel that marginalised groups may be more targeted in some small circumstances. In this case we want to take inspiration from Queer nightlife clubs where there are arm band wearers who look out for people who seem too drug or taken too many drugs (symptoms of spiking !!) and help them rather than kick them out forcefully. As a student body we would love everybody to look after their friends on nights out and support your societies who support us! Lots of sports clubs have said to us that they will invest in branded cup caps and bottle stops and the lovely girls at Bristol breast project want to do a collaborative event to show solidarity.’
Featured image: Instagram: girlsnightin
Will you be joining the boycott on the 27th of October?