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Since the start of the new academic year, the UK has witnessed a mass outbreak of spiking in nightclubs, with countless women reporting being drugged on a night out.
According to a Freedom of Information request, there has been a 108% increase in the number of reports to police which include the words ‘drink’, ‘spiking’ or ‘lacing’ since 2015. This has prompted the creation of a Parliamentary petition which calls for the legalisation of nightclubs to thoroughly search guests on entry for weapons and drugs. The petition has already reached its target of 100,000 signatures and is growing by the minute.
Feeling their voices still haven’t been heard, universities across the country have united under the “Girls Night In” movement, with the intention of boycotting nightclubs every Wednesday from the 27th October onwards.
The movement was launched by Millie Seaford, a student from Bristol University who is currently intercalating in Edinburgh, as well as Martha Williams and is presently supported by over 35 universities nationwide.
Lancaster has joined the campaign with @girlsnightinlancaster pushing for all students to “boycott all clubs in Lancaster until the recent spiking outbreak is taken seriously and proper change is instrumented.”
Targeting The Sugarhouse and Glow respectfully, @girlsnightinlancaster have expressed their concerns for the spiking epidemic, demanding both recognition and changes to be made in all local nightclubs for the safety of students. Within a day of the movement, both The Sugarhouse and Glow have released statements acknowledging the situation and assuring students through newly issued policies and procedures that will be implemented.
In a statement given by The Sugarhouse, emphasis has been placed on their dedicated SIA licenced FGH Welfare Supervisors, easily located via their purple hi-vis jackets, who are dedicated to supporting students at The Sugarhouse as well as free spikeys and drink testing kits found on site. However, in light of recent events, The Sugarhouse have stated they will soon have ‘stoptopps’ designed to cover glasses.
Glow have released a similar statement with emphasis on the carrying out of random searches upon entry and have pointed towards the ‘Ask for Angela’ coded safety measure as a way for people to discreetly seek help from staff members. Following suit from The Sugarhouse, Glow have also stated they will be introducing anti-spiking bottle stoppers and drink covers.
Both statements have received high praise by students as a step in the right direction to ensure student safety on nights out. In a statement released by @girlsnightinlancaster, support has also been received from a “few of the Lancaster University College JCRs and many different societies” who have changed their social calendars to participate in the boycott.
However, the movement has sparked debate especially upon the recent release of the Lancaster “Girls Night In” petition with one student commenting that they “think this movement is a great thing, but it’s a perfect example of how male privilege becomes the female’s problem”. Another student also commented that they “think it’s fucked…I’m gonna do I wanna do” expressing that “it’s not just spiking that’s the issue, it’s boys thinking they can grind on any girl in sight.”
Some students feel its not acceptable that “we have to take responsibility for males misbehaving” but appreciate “it’s the way it has to be right now”. After asking students what should have been done differently, one student expressed that they “don’t think anything different should have been done necessarily- men aren’t ready to take accountability yet, and we have a long way to go until men are no longer a threat” whilst others expressed the boycott wasn’t the answer. By boycotting nightclubs, it would give those spiking the satisfaction of stopping students from being able to enjoy nights out.
For more information on the movement and how to get involved, visit @girlsnightinlancaster for announcements on the boycotts. Below are links to both the local and national petitions: