Girls Night In campaign to boycott nightclubs over peaks marked “upside down”

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The “Girls Night In” campaign which urges women to boycott nightclubs and bars in response to the recent increase in drink spikes is “backward” and “defeatist,” the activists said.

The issue of alcohol consumption grabbed the headlines after disturbing reports surfaced about women being stuck with needles – Nottinghamshire Police, West Yorkshire Police and Police Scotland are now investigating on these allegations.

Nightclub boycotts organized in response by campaign group Girls Night In are expected to take place in cities across the UK over the next two weeks as students call for tighter security measures at the premises.

But Mair Howells, who created the Ivebeenspiked campaign group in March last year, said The independent the new Girls Night In campaign requires women to change their behavior rather than tackling the root of the problem.

“It’s pretty much backwards,” said the 22-year-old, who had taken her drink up in February of last year. “I don’t think this is the right solution. I don’t believe that as women we should be forced to stay indoors.

Ms Howells said the boycotts ignored the fact that drink spikes could happen anywhere – such as house parties or pubs – rather than just nightclubs.

The activist added: “The Girls Night In activists are a bit defeatist. I’ve gotten so many messages from trolls saying, “If you don’t want to be drugged, stay inside.” If we do this and stay, we give them exactly what they want.

Ms Howells, who has seen an increase in the number of people coming forward fearing an increase since bars and clubs reopened after the lockdown, also condemned calls by activists to tighten security measures at nightclubs by response to increased drink peaks.

She said: “Increasing security leaves more room for abuse of power and ignores marginalized communities or women and the effect this might have on them. It takes away the freedom to go out.

“Unless you strip search – which we shouldn’t be doing – people are going to find a way to get things into clubs.” Clubs and bars and the whole nightlife industry have lost a lot of money in the pandemic, they need support. “

Ms Howells argued that going to bars or nightclubs is important for mental health – adding that people can find their “crowd or their stage and learn more about themselves”. Going out is a “rite of passage” for young people, she added.

Helena Conibear, Managing Director of the Alcohol Education Trust, also denounced the Girls Night In campaign group – which is active in around 30 cities – for failing to place the burden of responsibility on drink consumers themselves. same.

“I am not against increasing the profile of the prevalence of alcohol consumption, but I do not think that will solve the problems, because we have to tackle the perpetrators,” she said. The independent.

“Plus, the drinking spike is just as prevalent at house parties as the nighttime economy. The most crucial thing is more reporting, and when it is reported it is taken seriously by the police, doctors and A&E so everyone feels confident if it does show up it will be taken seriously. serious.

Hannah Thomson, a former student from Glasgow, has started a petition to legally force nightclubs to thoroughly search people entering the premises to “keep noxious weapons and other items from entering the facility”. The petition has collected more than 150,000 signatures, which means that Parliament will now have to consider debating the issue.

But the Manchester branch of Girls Night In has called on people to refrain from signing the petition – claiming that the empowerment of security guards “would negatively impact many sections of our community, especially black people.”

The Nottingham branch argued that the October 27 boycott was intended to force clubs and bars to “increase their entry security” amid the growing number of reports of drink spikes.

“Staying at home is not a message,” the group said. “It asks our students to protest against the clubs and bars. They do not respond to our complaints, so we have to make them. “

Deputy Police Chief Jason Harwin, head of the National Police Chiefs Council on Drugs, said he had identified several reports in different parts of the country that included both drinking and injecting use .

“Based on the information we have gathered so far, there have been around 140 confirmed reports in September and October of doping of drinks and 24 reports of some form of injection,” Harwin said. “There are both male and female victims, although the majority are young women. Alleged breaches have taken place in licensed premises and private parties. “

The increase in alcohol consumption puts victims in a situation where they are at risk of being sexually assaulted, raped, robbed or accidentally injured.

Elaine Hindal, Managing Director of Drinkaware, which limits alcohol harm and abuse, said: “If your drink has been fortified it is unlikely to look, smell or taste different, but the consequences can be very serious.

“Drinks can be fortified with more alcohol or drugs, including date-rape drugs, most taking effect within 15 to 30 minutes and symptoms usually last for several hours. Depending on what your drink has been fortified, your symptoms may include decreased inhibitions, loss of balance, visual problems, confusion, nausea and vomiting, or even loss of consciousness.



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