People will be boycotting clubs and bars in protest of a recent surge in spiking incidents across the UK that has seen not only drinks being spiked, but also people being spiked by injection. Various Girls Night In nights have been organised via Instagram accounts to put pressure on clubs to treat spiking incidents with the seriousness deserved.
Reports began of drink spiking in clubs around the UK, with the Night Time Industry Association (NTIA) saying it had seen an increase in drink spiking over recent weeks. Worryingly, there have been more and more accounts of spiking by injection, including in Edinburgh, Dundee, Nottingham, and now Cardiff, with police in Scotland and Nottingham launching investigations.
The first Girls Night In Instagram page to be set up was girlsnightinedinburgh, with other accounts for other cities soon following suit. An account called Edinburgh Anonymous, which aims to share reports from students to raise awareness of sexual violence, stated on 12 October that they had been contacted with multiple reports of spiking by injection.
Nottingham student Zara Owen was spiked by injection on 11 October and remembers nothing of her night out, but woke up with a sharp pain in her leg and a limp. Speaking to The Mirror about the event she said, "I cover my glasses and I cover my bottles to make sure nothing goes in, but to realise I had been injected is terrifying." She also noted that, "Obviously with needles, you can catch HIV or hepatitis.” Thankfully her friends got her home safely, but she is still waiting to be seen by a GP.
A woman in Dundee was spiked by injection at new bar The Captain’s Cabin, who initially shared a response on their Instagram page that received a large amount of negative backlash due to the post’s doubtful tone. The establishment has since apologised but many feel their response was symptomatic of many clubs and bars lack of care in regard to spiking.
The range of Girls Night In protests will take place on several days, from 25 October in Exeter to 28 October in Aberdeen. The protests are to put pressure on clubs and bars to treat reports of spiking with the proper seriousness, and to increase security and support in venues to prevent spiking incidents occurring in the first place.
Several petitions have also been created to try and tackle the issue. A petition calling for it to be a legal requirement for nightclubs to thoroughly search guests on entry has over 130,000 signatures. However, some worry that , if passed, it would allow for more sexual misconduct, only instead at the hands of bar staff and security. Another petition is asking for funding to be allotted to ensure that drink spiking test kits are available at all bars.