Women have been gaslit over spiking for years – it’s time to speak up

Why isn’t violence against women being taken as seriously as terrorism?

Once again, women are fearing for their safety in public spaces after a rise in cases reported to police and bouncers of being spiked by injections on nights out. Females up and down the country are terrified at the idea of going out because they are met with violence and misogyny. Why isn’t violence against women being taken as seriously as terrorism? Because that’s what it is. It’s the unlawful use of violence and intimidation against women – it’s fucked up. Misogyny is personal and it’s time people stopped blaming the victims because we are not the problem.

Female safety isn’t something you can just opt in and out of. Women have to think about their safety every single second of the day. We have to watch where we step out, we know we can’t be safe at work, at home, at uni, with our mates or walking from one place to another. For too long, females have been made to sit down and watch our rights get taken away from us, we’ve never been taken seriously about our health or safety and we’re constantly gaslit by people who, funnily enough, are men.

Just this morning on Good Morning Britain, a national news programme, Richard Madeley blamed a young victim of spiking for…being spiked. He criticised her and asked whether she had taken precautions against being spiked. Women should not have to put up with this. Where was the questioning of the person who spiked her? Where was the questioning of what precautions the venue and security had in place to ensure the victim’s safety?

Victim blaming is one of the many, many reasons why victims are scared to break their silence. The Tab spoke to Gwen, a student from Brighton, who was spiked on a night out. The bouncer she told refused to believe her and didn’t assist her mates in calling an ambulance for Gwen when she took a turn. As a result and after finding out she was spiked with GHD, Gwen says she hasn’t been clubbing since the incident. But she has bought test strips for drinks so she can use those next time she goes out.

And even more recently a woman claimed she was gaslit by the police after she was spiked. 26-year-old Robyn told the BBC she was “sent round in circles” trying to be taken seriously. When she was spiked on a night out in Cardiff, she remembers the next morning having collapsed on the floor. She was sent to A&E, where she was told they could not perform the test. Then when Robyn contacted the police, she said she felt as though she was “treated like a criminal” and described her experience as “awful”. She felt the officers were “accusatory” towards her for drinking and said the “mental gymnastics” she went through “took its toll”.

Lots of women have stories similar to Robyn’s. The police don’t seem to take anything women say seriously and that has to change. Even our universities are victim blaming, Durham University recently told students “don’t get spiked” as if spiking is something we can prevent from happening to us or one of our mates. The victims are not in control of whether they get spiked or not on a night out. Blaming women for being put into a situation out of our control is ignorant and doesn’t help anyone.

If you or someone you know has been affected by this story, please head to Drinkaware for more information on drink spiking. You can call Victim Support on 08 08 16 89 111 or find help via their website. If you’ve got a story you’d like to share with us, get in touch in confidence by emailing izzy@thetab.com

Related articles recommended by this writer:

• Girls are reporting being spiked by injection – I’m terrified to go clubbing

Increasing club security won’t stop the rise in spiking – it will only make us feel way less safe

Met police in plain clothes must now video call colleagues when stopping lone women

Feature image by Louis Hansel on Unsplash.