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20th October 2021

Girls Night In: Anti-spiking campaign calls for club boycott

Girls Night In campaigner groups are calling for a boycott of clubs on Wednesday 27th October to protest spiking
Girls Night In: Anti-spiking campaign calls for club boycott
Campaigners call for boycott of clubs across the country next week. Photo: Girls Night In Manchester

Girls Night In campaign groups have sprung up across the country, calling for a boycott of clubs next week in protest of the continued issue of spiking.

The campaign was founded partially in response to sinister reports of spiking by injection in the past few days in Edinburgh, Dundee and Nottingham, alongside the ever-present fear of drink spiking faced by party-goers on nights out.

The exact date of the boycott next week varies form city to city, with Manchester’s campaign group opting for Wednesday 27th.

Over the past few days Girls Night In groups have cropped up across at least 25 cities all around the UK.

In a post on the Girls Night In Manchester Instagram page, campaigners stated:

“Along with many cities in the UK, we are organising a boycott of all clubs in Manchester to demand that spiking is taken seriously.

“We will use the boycott to demand that Andy Burnham and Greater Manchester Combined Authority as well as club owners take spiking and sexual assault more seriously by taking tangible measures such as funding anti-spiking devices in all clubs and bars, a Good Night Out Scheme, and an awareness campaign targeted at men.”

Girls Night In Manchester branch was founded by University of Manchester SU Exec Officers, in response to the growing movement.

Alongside the boycott, some campaigners have published a petition which calls for the government to make it a legal requirement for nightclubs to search guests on entry for weapons and other harmful items.

The petition was started by Hannah Thomson, a graduate of Edinburgh Napier University. In a comment issued to Brig News, Hannah explained that her disgust at the recent development of spiking by injection is what motivated her to start the petition:

“How are we even getting needles into nightclubs like how is that happening? How are we allowing that to happen? Then I started thinking we get searched going into gigs and festivals so, why not nightclubs?”

Some campaign groups, however, including the Manchester branch of Girls Night In, have released statements encouraging people not to sign this petition for mandatory searches, in favour of more comprehensive demands for local government and night clubs.

In a post to their Instagram, Girls Night In Manchester said that they “do not endorse increasing such powers for security as it would have a negative impact on multiple sections of our community, particularly Black people.”

“We are working on lists of demands from local government and club owners, and are also working together with other Girls Night In groups on demands from national government. Please share these once they are published rather than the petition.”

Girls Night In Manchester have spoken out against the petition for increased searches by nightclub security in a post on their Instagram.

Girls Night In groups hope that their boycott of nightclubs and bars will “ensure the issue of spiking is taken seriously”.

On Instagram, organisers of the Edinburgh campaign wrote: “Girls should not have to feel unsafe and uncomfortable to go out and enjoy themselves.

“Together we can make a change.”

Girls Night In Edinburgh released a statement addressing concerns about the gendered language of the movement.

Some people have raised concerns in the comments of campaign posts about the gendered language of the Girls Night In boycott, calling the name exclusionary to those who identify as other genders, but are nonetheless affected by spiking.

In response to this, the Edinburgh group have released an apology about the name, which was chosen as a play on the phrase “girls night out”. Organisers said: “We completely acknowledge that the name fails to include people of all identities and we are deeply sorry if it comes across as exclusive.”

“We want to reiterate that, not only are all genders and people of all identities welcome to join this movement; but we hugely appreciate every single person that has united with us and supported this.”

During the boycott on Wednesday 27th October, the University of Manchester Students’ Union is hosting alternative events to clubbing, in support of the anti-spiking movement. Details to be confirmed.

Anja Samy

Anja Samy

Editorial Advisor and Head of Manchester Media Group.

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