Amber (not her real name)
A young person from the UK
I love clubbing… but here’s why it also scares me
To me, there are few things as fun as a good night out. You’ve got your groovy clothes on, you’re feeling super confident and having a great time with your friends. You’re dancing in a room full of strangers, but in that moment everyone feels as one. The most catchy pop songs that everyone knows the words to are playing, and you’re screaming the lyrics at the top of your lungs. You feel invincible and alive. Sounds amazing, right?
Well, yes, in theory. Clubbing can be the best time ever when it all goes to plan. You’re the correct amount of drunk, not too much, not too little. All your friends are feeling their best and you’re yet to be inappropriately touched by some randomer. But when it goes wrong, it can be anything from regretful to downright scary.
I’ve had many bad experiences while on a night out. Some of them are entirely self-inflicted (like, hello, why would you drink so much you’ve peaked before you even arrive at the door?). But others are because of inappropriate behaviour from other people.
The most recent occasion of spiking that happened to me was Halloween last year. Something was put in my drink and the next thing you know I’m lying on the pavement unable to get up. My legs stopped working and I couldn’t speak except repeating “something is wrong” over and over again. In the days that followed I went over the events in my head, wondering what on earth I had done wrong. Perhaps it was my outfit? Maybe I was behaving like I wanted it? Maybe I should have tried to look less vulnerable? At 24, I was so annoyed that I’d let it happen to me. I felt as though I should have been experienced enough to know better. I realize now that it was wrong to blame myself, my outfit or perceived vulnerability doesn’t give a stranger the right to take advantage of me. I haven’t been clubbing since.
I think that spiking definitely affects women more. Guys who want to try their luck, probably egged on by their friends as well, seem to be the biggest perpetrators of this crime. It isn’t to say that spiking doesn’t affect men, though. It can happen to anyone.
I think more training needs to be implemented among bar staff and security. I’ve found that myself and my friends take it as our responsibility to keep each other safe – whether that’s forming barriers around someone being sexually harrassed, or reporting someone who looks suspicious. While we should definitely all be looking out for each other, it feels as though the people paid to keep us safe don’t know how to spot someone acting odd, and therefore action isn’t taken until the crime is done.
It shouldn’t be like this. We should all be able to have a fun night out with our friends without the added worry of something bad happening to you. Honestly, it blows my mind that so many people exist with the mindset of deliberately hurting others.
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