In light of the last few weeks, the lack of safety and security for young women has never been more apparent. As I am sure you’ve heard, there has been a concerning increase in the reports of spiking, both in drinks and by needle, in bars and clubs in Nottingham. Shivani examines the progress, if any, that has been made.
While many people demanded a response from Nottinghamshire authorities as well as clubs and bars, a group called Girls Night In took matters into their own hands. Many Girls Night In groups called for making searching upon entry into nightclubs a legal requirement to make people feel safer when going out. A boycott of clubs was organised in Nottingham on Wednesday 27th October with the aim of ensuring ‘the spiking outbreak is taken seriously by clubs and bars in Nottingham and nationwide’.
the decision of nightclubs to close to prevent a financial loss… damaged the impact of the boycott
They conveyed their requests of bars and clubs to be threefold: firstly, to increase their security, secondly to provide free drink protection devices and, lastly to provide a clear and obvious medical centre as well as a safe way to get home. In this regard, the club boycott can be said to have been successful as many clubs have begun to implement more security and drink protection devices.
However, we also need to address the fact that these increased security checks will undoubtedly cause harm for vulnerable groups such as Black men. Therefore, any solution that is decided needs to be intersectional and thoroughly planned first.
Unfortunately, nightclubs became aware of our boycott and as a result, on the night of Wednesday 27th October many clubs closed and so the question of its effectiveness is unknown. The decision of nightclubs to close to prevent a financial loss, in my opinion, damaged the impact of the boycott. The boycott was meant to show people that young women have power and have a voice. Our absence was meant to be felt. Nightclubs were meant to recognise that we cannot be overlooked and thus, listen to our demands.
the simple fact is clubs do not cause spiking; people do
Consequently, nothing has changed. But, had the boycott been successful, would things have changed? Would spiking and injecting have stopped? The answer is probably not. Increased security is not the only solution to the spiking issue. The simple fact is clubs do not cause spiking; people do. Yes, clubs can increase their security and help people reduce the chances of being spiked. But, essentially, the problem is the people who are spiking. So, what can be done to prevent spiking in drinks and by needles?
It is clear that more systemic solutions are required to solve this problem because every solution I have been able to think of has its flaws. Long-term education doesn’t solve the here and now. Increased security doesn’t tackle the root cause. Wellness tents and welfare rooms in clubs do not prevent people from wanting to spike. Then there’s the suggested solution that females do not go out alone or when it’s dark, which is evidently an idea not even worth discussing because it’s ridiculously impractical and unjust.
And so, my view is simple: while the intentions of the boycott were commendable, I am disappointed but not surprised at the fact that, once again, it has fallen upon us young women to make sacrifices in order for our voices to be heard and for our concerns to be listened to.
I have little faith that me and my friends will be feeling safe anytime soon
I do not want to hear another traumatising story of someone being spiked and ending up in hospital. I do not want my friends to have to sacrifice going out and having fun. I do not want people to spike. I wish there was a more optimistic end to this article but given the lack of effective solutions, I have little faith that me and my friends will be feeling safe anytime soon.
*Disclaimer: the author of this article understands that it is not solely those who identify as women who are vulnerable and being spiked. *
Featured image courtesy of Aleksandar Pasaric from Pexels. Image license found here. No changes were made to this image.
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