UoB students are boycotting clubs as part of the Girls Night In movement against spiking
‘We’re looking for direct changes in clubs here’
A student at the University of Birmingham has organised a boycott of clubs across Birmingham as part of the nationwide movement against spiking on Wednesday 27 October.
Named Girls Night In, the boycott is part of a nationwide campaign aiming to put pressure on clubs and bars to implement measures to protect people from being spiked.
A recent survey by the Tab revealed that just over 11 per cent of people surveyed believed that they’ve been spiked this term.
Girls Night In Brum is a campaign launched in response to the reported increase in numbers of people being spiked on nights out, including allegedly by injection. In Birmingham specifically, this statistic was 9.3 per cent believe that they have been spiked this term. A further 48.9 per cent of respondents in Birmingham believed a friend or someone they know had been spiked in the last month.
Starting in Edinburgh, the campaign has now spread across multiple cities in the UK, including Birmingham. The movement is calling for partygoers to boycott clubs, bars and pubs for one night, to push venues into establishing proper measures to prevent people from being spiked to begin with, and to protect them if they are.
In Birmingham, the boycott will take place on Wednesday 27 October. Some of the events usually held on Wednesdays include Sports Night, Snobs and SoulJam. Students are being encouraged by Girls Night In to have a movie night, a house party or a dinner out instead.
After hearing about the boycott being held in different UK cities, University of Birmingham student Hannah went in search for the Birmingham branch of Girls Night In. After discovering that it did not exist, she decided to create it herself.
Hannah told The Birmingham Tab: “I share the sentiments of the nationwide Girls Night In campaign in increasing the safety of women and minority groups in clubs by implementing better anti-spiking measures.
“We want clubs to take some degree of responsibility and say, ‘this is what we are going to do to make your experience in our clubs safer.”
So far, the Instagram page for Girls Night In Brum has over 3000 followers, and has public support from multiple sports teams and societies at the University of Birmingham including Badminton, BUDS, and rowing. Multiple societies from Aston, including the student union, and BCU have also publicly posted their support.
In solidarity with the movement, The University of Birmingham’s Guild of Students has announced that Sports Night, due to be held on Wednesday 27 October, will be cancelled. On social media, the Guild team wrote: “Here at the Guild we are aware of the increased prevalence of drink spiking on nights out”.
“We wholeheartedly support the Girls Night In campaign to boycott club nights on Wednesday 27th October”.
“We believe that everybody has the right to be and feel safe on nights out, and to show our own support and solidarity with the campaign we have decided to cancel our Sports Night on Wednesday night.”
SoulJam has also decided to show their support for the campaign by posting their event, due to be held in Lab11 on Wednesday 27 October, to a different date in November. They wrote on social media: “We have spent the last few days speaking at length and have come to the decision that the best way to support the movement would be to cancel our show this week”.
“SoulJam is and always will be a space for anyone and everyone to feel safe, let loose and dance, regardless of gender, sexuality, race, religion or lack of it.”
Snobs are also aware of the Girls Night In campaign, although will still be opening on Wednesday. The nightclub told The Birmingham Tab: “We fully support it and people’s right to take part”.
“If it highlights an issue that negatively affects our customers and business, we’re in favour of actions to improve safety.”
Snobs described to The Birmingham Tab some of the measures they are taking to prevent drink spiking, which include staff training, a thorough CCTV system and increased signage and awareness campaigns.
Ava McBride, a German and Business student in her fourth year will be taking part in the boycott. She told The Birmingham Tab that she thinks that it’s so important because “it’s now come to a last resort where clubs aren’t and haven’t been upping their security or offering any kind of support for women or any potential spiking victims”.
“This stand against it will hopefully spread way more awareness and feeling of urgency amongst clubs and authorities to actually do something substantial to stop spikings from happening.” she explained.
Deyna Grimshaw, who is in her third year, is also supporting the campaign. The English student told The Birmingham Tab that “the thought of getting spiked by injection is terrifying because there is absolutely no preventative action we can take. Bars and clubs 100 per cent need to be doing more.”
Some of the measures that Girls Night In Brum are asking from clubs and bars are to increase their entry security, to distribute free drink protection, to provide a clear and obvious medical centre and to help people find a safe way to get home.
Megan Bourne, a first year student studying Psychology, said about the boycott: “I think the more people doing it, the better and the more seriously this will be taken.
“Clubs should be a place to have fun not fear for your safety.”
Hannah explained to The Birmingham Tab the message she wants to convey through this campaign. “To clubs and bars: get involved,” she said. “Tell us and your customers what you already have in place and, further, what changes you will make.”
“Let us know that you care about people enjoying a safe night out in your venue.”
For more information about the Girls Night In movement in Birmingham, visit brumnightin on Instagram.