Girls Night In has called for people across the UK’s cities to boycott clubs on October 28 to demonstrate that women and other people are ‘not comfortable going out so long as nightclubs are enabling spiking.’
It comes as many people have shared their recent and past experiences across the UK of being spiked in on nights out after lockdown rules were removed.
The UK-wide campaign – which is set to take place in Scottish cities including Edinburgh, Stirling and Glasgow – is encouraging people to host flat parties or gatherings in safe environments ‘to show the disgusting human beings that are spiking people’ and that people ‘do not need nightclubs to have a good time at the risk of our own safety.’
The campaign was originally launched on Instagram by a group of students in Edinburgh to boycott their local nightclubs with many women sharing their traumatic experiences of being spiked in nightclubs in Edinburgh.
A Girls Night In spokesperson said: “Spiking has become an epidemic. Never before have we heard of some many students waking up with no memory of what happened the night before.
“This not getting ‘black-out drunk’, this is getting drugged and something that can be changed.
"We are asking clubs and bars to increase their entry security. We are asking clubs and bars to provide free drink protection devices (drink divers etc). We are asking clubs and bars to provide a clear and obvious medical centre and a safe way to get home.
“This is not a stay at home message. This is asking our students protest against the clubs and bars. They are not responding to our complaints so we must make them.”
The Edinburgh page alone has so far received nearly 5,000 followers with the Glasgow page seeing similar numbers. University sports teams including Glasgow Caledonia Netball have cancelled socials on October 28 to stand in solidarity with the campaign.
One anonymous submission from an Edinburgh student states: “I wasn’t drinking excessively but was found unconscious outside a restaurant at St Andrews Square. Two men were supposedly standing over me and arguing about who was going to get to take back to their flats.
"I was scooped off the floor by two of my course mates who took me home. If it wasn’t for them I hate to think what could have happened to me.”
The boycott comes as reports have recently been circulating around social media of people being ‘spiked by injection’ with women posting pictures of small circular marks on their skin after falling seriously ill on a night out.
Sandy Brindley from Rape Crisis Scotland said: “Reports of spiking by injection are obviously deeply concerning and are having a very real impact on how safe particularly women are feeling entering bars and clubs.
"We agree with all those calling for venues to do better and ensure that they are taking every possible measure to prevent abusive men from having access to their premises and being able to perpetrate harm, and in responding robustly to reports when this does happen."
The Edinburgh group has now written an open letter to nightclubs in Edinburgh urging them to listen to safety concerns flagged by their followers.
The letter highlights ideas nightclubs could introduce to make clubbing safer.
These include working with organisations to provide training for staff and bouncers to reduce drug-related harm, introduction of code words to enhance surveillance amongst staff, using safety coverings on drinks and more thorough safety checks at the entrances of clubs.
The letter says: “The purpose of the boycott is to bring attention to the severity of the situation and encourage you all to take this seriously and do everything within your power and means to prevent these heinous spiking incidents to the best of your ability.”
The campaign comes as a UK petition “to make it a legal requirement for nightclubs to thoroughly search guests on entry” has now gained over 118,770 signatures. Parliament considers all petitions that get more than 100,000 signatures for a debate.
Student Abbie Malone, who runs Reclaim these Streets Aberdeen, is backing next week’s boycott.
She said: "I think the boycott will prove that if we don't want to go out and attend clubs because we’re not taken seriously, then we won’t.
"We are sick of looking over our shoulders in places where we don’t think we should have to especially when that’s not something everyone has to do.”
Ms Brindley from Rape Crisis Scotland added: “The extent to which women are simply expected to navigate the world with such an acute and credible fear of men’s violence is deeply unjust. This violence is not inevitable and it’s not something that we should accept as such.
"Women deserve to feel and be safe – venues have a responsibility to make this a reality – and we applaud those putting pressure on them and making their voices heard.”
A Police Scotland spokesperson said: "We are aware of posts circulating on social media about spiking incidents involving injections in Scotland.
"Officers are carrying out enquiries, and a small number of reports from the Edinburgh, Dundee and Glasgow areas are being investigated.
"These do not appear to be linked.
"We take all reports seriously and we would encourage anyone who believes they have been a victim of spiking in any form to contact Police via 101.”