By Phoebe Melmoth
The national campaign Girls Night In encouraged students to boycott bars and clubs for a night as part of its ongoing campaign to get women’s safety improved.
A number of incidents of women being spiked by injection in clubs has been reported across the country, leading to the boycott last Wednesday.
The movement Girls Night In was started by students in Edinburgh and has been picked up in cities nationally.
Students in Sheffield, Leeds, London, Bournemouth, Belfast, Southampton and Bristol are among those who have joined the movement.
Sheffield Hallam University criminology student Francesca Jimenez, 19, said: “This situation has made me feel very unsafe and means that I have to be a lot more aware on a night out, rather than just enjoying myself.
“Night clubs need to be held accountable for what’s happening. Staff need to be more aware of people that don’t seem ok.
“They have a responsibility to help them get home or get medical help if necessary.”
Girls Night In Edinburgh posted a statement to their Instagram saying: “We deserve to have fun on our nights out. It’s not fair that our club experiences are being tainted by the fear, worry and anxiety that we’re going to be drugged.”
The group accused night clubs of “enabling spiking.”
“Girls: Boycott all Edinburgh nightclubs to demonstrate that we are NOT comfortable going out in Edinburgh as long as night clubs are enabling spiking.
“Spiking has become an epidemic. Never before have we heard of so many students waking up with no memory of what happened the night before. This is something that can be changed.
“This is not a stay at home message. This is asking our students to protest against the clubs and bars. They are not responding to our complaints, so we must make them.”
The groups’ Instagram accounts have become a space for women to share their stories.
One commented: “My friend was injected with a needle and ended up throwing up blood and spending the night in hospital.”
Another wrote: “It’s horrible that staff aren’t trained to de-escalate or investigate these terrifying situations. These venues owe it to us to check more thoroughly at the door and to create safe spaces to report incidents to staff.”
Several night clubs have responded to the campaign since the boycott. Girls Night In Leeds posted to Instagram that they “had a very constructive meeting with Pryzm Leeds night club.”
“They are in full support of the boycott and are also extremely concerned about the Spiking epidemic.
“They recommend reaching out to them directly if you have any further ideas on how they can make going out a more enjoyable experience for everyone.
The campaigners posted what came out of the constructive meeting to their Instagram:
“Firm policies in place regarding needles entering their clubs, majority of staff are female and there are mental health professionals on site, understand they need to make their policies clearer, have seen a massive increase in use of Ask Angela, working on policies to ensure people get home safer.”
Girls Night In has made a list of “national demands” for nightclubs around prevention, welfare and support.
“We are asking clubs and bars to increase their entry security.
“We are asking them to provide free drink protection devices.
“We are asking for them to provide a clear and obvious medical centre and a safe way to get home.”