Anna Webb, Anthropology, Third Year
Founded by female students in Edinburgh, the campaign originally titled ‘GirlsNightIn’ (now simply ‘NightIn’) has spread across the UK, spanning from Glasgow to Bristol.
It calls for a boycott of nightclubs on the 28th of October in response to the reported increase in spiking incidents, with the addition of disturbing reports of women being drugged by injection.
This campaign responds to the very real fear that women face when going clubbing; that they will be drugged, become ill or unconscious, perhaps end up in hospital or in the hands of whoever spiked them in the first place.
This increase in spiking within the context of heightened awareness surrounding violence against women, as well as years of feeling unsafe when on nights out, has culminated in this boycott. It attempts to persuade clubs to increase their security protocols and implement concrete plans to reduce spiking.
However, whether the boycott itself will be successful remains to be seen. A one-night boycott will not cause enough financial damage to force clubs to make meaningful change.
Write to your MP. Demand that this issue is raised in parliament
As users on social media have pointed out, the revenue they will potentially lose from a decrease in customers on a weeknight can be easily made up on the weekend. A simple two-for-one on shots on a Saturday night could place them firmly back in the black.
As it stands, whether or not this campaign results in increased anti-spiking measures in clubs is largely down to the morality of the owners and managers themselves. The financial motive simply isn’t there at this stage, but we can hope that due to current increased scrutiny they may feel the pressure to implement these plans regardless.
As for the University, Bristol announced to its students via a joint email with the SU that it would be launching a ‘Safer Night Out’ campaign, although details on what this will entail and when it will be launched were not included.
The email itself did not explicitly comment on the Night In campaign but did acknowledge the increase in incidents. It contained the standard ‘cover your drink’ and ‘don’t walk home alone’ advice that every woman has heard countless times before.
In order for this night to work, we must do more
However, in an interesting move, the SU decided to send an email the very next day detailing a club event titled ‘Reclaim The Dancefloor’ at Thekla. In fairness, the email did include a link to a post on Thekla’s Instagram detailing how they are working to decrease spiking which included the availability of anti-spiking devices from all bars. It was not specified whether these were free or not.
But it must be said that the Student Union’s use of the ongoing discussion on women’s safety in clubs as a marketing tool to sell tickets can be described as disingenuous at best, and remarkably insensitive and opportunistic at worst.
This is especially evident when considering the financial gain that the SU and the club stand to achieve through this night, which was advertised before the boycott has even taken place. There is little evidence that this night will even be any different from any other.
In the end, if you feel strongly about a women’s right to feel safe on a night out then you should not go clubbing on the 28th of October. However, if true lasting change is going to happen, then it will take more than one night of staying home.
Write to your MP. Demand that this issue is raised in parliament and that the safety of clubbers is not simply left up to whether a club owner has a strong moral compass or not. Boycott the clubs, but do it for more than one night. Decide that unless they prove that they are willing to put safety first, they can’t have your money.
Call out your friends when they make jokes, or if you think someone you know might be spiking people, report them. In order for this night to work, we must do more.
Featured image: Adam Jaime
How do you think nightclubs in Bristol can bette protect clubbers? Let us know!