‘I wouldn’t wish spiking on anyone’: Notts students on why they’re boycotting clubs today

88 per cent of Notts student say they’re boycotting clubs tonight

A boycott of nightclubs is set to take place today in Nottingham following a sharp increase in reports of spiking.

The boycott is being organised by Girls Night In, a campaign that originally started in Edinburgh and aims to raise awareness of spiking. Though the campaign started in Scotland, there are now Girls Night In groups associated with nearly every university city across the whole of the UK.

Boycotts are happening nationally, starting on Monday 25th of October and concluding on Wednesday 3rd November. The Boycott of nightclubs in Nottingham is due to take place today on Wednesday 27th October, coinciding with the most popular student night out of the week.

Across the UK, 6,527 young people told The Tab they’re planning on boycotting clubs. In a poll carried out on The Tab Notts Instagram, over 900 people, 88 per cent of all who responded, said that they are planning to not go out tonight in support of Girls Night In.

In light of this, we spoke to Notts students and asked them why they were taking part in the boycotting of clubs.

‘I was out with my friend when she was spiked’

Honey (left) was with her friend Zara (centre) when she was allegedly spiked

For Honey, a second year Politics and International Relations student at UoN, the boycotts hit very close to home. Honey was out with her friend Zara when she was allegedly spiked via injection earlier this month.

Honey told The Tab Notts that as Zara’s friend she initially felt a sense of guilt for what had happened to her that night, “I know that’s the way we’ve been conditioned to think about these situations – we’re responsible for our own situation, when it’s really the perpetrators at fault. In no way is it ever the victim’s fault.”

Honey is boycotting because she wants to see active but inclusive solutions to spiking: “It’s important that the solutions are solutions for everyone.

“Having increased security or police presence may trigger a rise in racial profiling, and super-thorough pat downs at the entrances of clubs can be distressing for members of the trans* community who are flagged up for binding or packing. There’s a lot to take into account, and a much wider conversation to be had.”

‘I wouldn’t wish spiking on anyone’

Annabelle, a Broadcast Journalism student at NTU, has been involved in spreading awareness about spiking since reports in Nottingham started to rise.

She told The Tab Notts: “I feel very strongly about spiking as it has happened to so many of my friends, and I wouldn’t wish it upon anyone as I know it’s very traumatising.

“I hope that after the boycott, clubs will make the right changes needed as spiking has sadly become such a prominent problem in Nottingham recently. After the boycott, I hope that clubs will realise how much of a problem it’s become and act on it.”

‘I’m boycotting for women who just want to enjoy a night out’

Imogen, second year English Language and Literature, is boycotting for her own safety and that of other women to be taken seriously.

Imogen said: “I’m boycotting for my own self-preservation and avoiding the risk of being, quite literally, spiked. I am boycotting for the sake of women who just want to enjoy a night out.

“I believe part of the reason that things have escalated this far is because of a lack of institutional resistance. However much women call out unwanted advances, nothing seems to happen and so it progresses to spiking.

“In boycotting, we take away part of the incentive to ignore these issues – at the very least clubs will make less money. Even if this does nothing to change the institutionalised norm of rape culture, at least it may make clubs safer and cut off some immediate dangers for people going out.”

‘Safety precautions for everyone need to be improved’

Olivia, final year English, is taking part in the boycotts to show her support for the Girls Night In campaign.

Olivia said The Tab Notts: “I am boycotting to encourage clubs and bars to take the spiking issue seriously and improve precautions to ensure the safety of everyone attending their venue.”

Olivia told The Tab Notts how NUDance, for which she is a part of the committee, has made other arrangements for their society in light of the boycott: “As we have socials on a Wednesday we will be coming together and having a movie night rather than going out to show that we stand with the campaign and that there needs to be more awareness and action on the issue.”

‘I have never truly felt safe on a night out’

Debbie, an English and Philosophy student at UoN, said she is boycotting night clubs and standing with Girls Night In so that the collective  female voice is heard.

Debbie said: “Spiking is not new. It happens frequently, and it is terrifying. When I first found out about the alleged needle spiking in Nottingham I studied the pictures of girls brave enough to share, and I tried to piece together in my head how this could actually be happening. The sudden realisation that I have never truly felt safe on a night out sunk in.

“Girls should not have to constantly take precautions to ensure their own safety. We need definitive measures put in place to ensure that everyone can feel safe on nights out.

“Spiking is unacceptable and by boycotting we are collectively demonstrating how we will not tolerate it. Change needs to happen, so until then, bring on wine night in with the girls.”

In response to the boycott, Crisis announced that they would be cancelling their usual weekly event today.

In a post made to its Instagram, Crisis said: “We will be cancelling this Wednesday’s CRISIS event to offer our solidarity and support for the ‘Girls Night In’ campaign. All tickets that have been purchased will automatically be refunded.

“We believe that all women have the right to enjoy themselves on a night out and not to be in fear of being ‘spiked’ or other abusive behaviour so we decided that we should cancel CRISIS this week to raise awareness of the campaign.”

Crisis said that in addition to their already preexisting CCTV, they are introducing new safety precautions at the club including searches and a metal detector upon entry as well as bottle stoppers and protective drink covers.

The Tab Nottingham has contacted Ocean, Pryzm, Rock City and Bodega for comment regarding the boycott. 

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.

Related articles recommended by this author:

• Notts student says she was ‘spiked with an injection’ at Pryzm nightclub on night out

• There have been 12 alleged spikings via injection reported to Notts Police in the past month

• Man arrested after women report being ‘injected with needles’ in Nottingham