43 per cent of London students say they have been, or know, a victim of spiking
64 per cent have been sexually assaulted before or know someone who has been
TW: Discussions of spiking, sexual assault and harassment
A Tab London survey has revealed that, out of over 450 people, 43 per cent of London students have been spiked before, or know someone that has been.
This figure accounts for 201 students out of a total 467, which shows that despite reports of spiking incidents in London being comparatively low with the rest of the country, there is still an overwhelming amount of cases unspoken about.
Our survey also revealed that 64 per cent of London students have been, or know, a victim of sexual assault in their lives, with 292 students saying “yes” and only 161 saying “no”.
Here are the other results:
Over 84 per cent of London students are participating in a Night In boycott tonight or next week on 5th November, with only 69 voters planning to attend clubs.
This movement is led largely by the UCL Netball Club and other sports societies, who are encouraging their members to stay home, donate money to good causes, and join other events that are taking place outside nightclubs and bars.
The official London Night In Instagram is sticking to their planned date of 5th November, but announced their support for the “Student Night In” happening tonight.
315 students, accounting for over 68 per cent of respondents, said that they do not feel safe going out clubbing in London.
For students who replied that they didn’t feel safe, we asked why. Among answers were: “Groping”, “You never know if it could be you”, “Barely any searches at the entrance”, and “Creepy men preying on young girls in clubs”.
One respondent said: “Even when I go for a night out with my boyfriend, men don’t seem to be deterred at all. If I’m not safe with a man then I’m definitely not safe on my own or with female friends.”
Another said: “I only ever go out with a large group of my friends, who are usually male. This is the only way I feel okay when going out clubbing, and even then it’s still unnerving.”
The recent reduction of Night Tube services, and limited return of lines in November, is also impacting this feeling of being unsafe going out in London. “There’s no Night Tubes to get home safely, and with the fear of being spiked as well it’s impossible to feel safe,” a student said.
Many respondents agree that “sexual assault in clubs is way too normalised”, usually by the men in the environment. One said: “Both men in clubs that won’t take no for an answer, and bouncers who are equally as bad, make me feel unsafe. They just don’t take sexual assault seriously, I’ve heard that bouncers throw victims of spiking out on the streets – it’s sickening.”
Responses from people who go out clubbing sober also reveal than they have “seen things”, and have “become hyper aware of how terrifying clubbing can actually be, but you don’t notice it when you’re drunk”.
A Freedom of Information request by Sky last month revealed that cases of spiking in the UK have risen 108 per cent since 2015, with experts saying that figures have “doubled in the last three years”, and that this is “only the tip of the iceberg”.
In London alone, 18,630 sexual offences were reported to police in the last year, which doesn’t even detail the number of drink spiking, sexual assault or sexual harassment incidents.
‘Being a sexual assault victim can completely change the way you form relationships’
Maddie*, a UCL Law student, told us she was sexually assaulted a few years ago, and that “it took me three and a half years to understand the fact that I was sexually assaulted.” It has impacted her life drastically “due to fear”, which has “changed my ability to form relationships, and what those relationships now look like”.
Niamh*, a second-year Arts and Sciences student at UCL, said: “I know two people who have been spiked before. Both of them were watching and covering their drinks the whole time and we still don’t know who did it.” According to another victim, being spiked is “the worst experience ever”.
If you think your drink may have been spiked or are looking for advice on how to help a friend who’s been spiked, this DrinkAware article can provide more information.
If you are spiked via needle and think it may be unclean, this NHS guidance on what to do after being pierced with a dirty needle can help.
London Survivors Gateway is a useful support tool if you have been raped or sexually assaulted and need extra help with getting specialist services.
You can call the Rape Crisis helpline in London on 0800 160 1036 if you have been a victim of sexual assault or rape and do not feel ready to speak to anyone else yet.
The names in this article have been changed and marked with an (*) to protect anonymity of victims.