Clubs and bars are riddled with stories of people being spiked, yet it’s becoming more and more of a questionable occurrence. How do we know who to believe? Jodie Boyce explores the phenomenon of modern spiking, through the eyes of a victim of spiking, a club manager and a chaplain. It’s a new attitude to spiking: true, or false.
Doubts are rising when it comes to spiking, and it is argued that spiking is far less of a common occurrence these days than in prior decades. However, should we really be questioning those who are roofied? If anyone can throw something into a drink if you so much as face the other way for a split second, it should be more thought about. Yet only 20% of responses in a survey of 25 young people indicated that “having their drink spiked” is their biggest worry on a night out, and instead petty things like “falling over” were deemed more worrying. And surely since 88% of those who took part in the survey either know someone who has been a victim to spiking, or has been so themselves, the results seem a little strange.
Yet how are people supposed to actively be careful of spiking when there is so much doubt surrounding it? Deputy Manager of Vodka Revolution revealed that they “doubt people immediately big time to whether they’ve been spiked”. When the people in charge won’t even believe it, how are the general public supposed to. The deputy manager proceeds to reveal his opinion that “you can never be sure whether they have taken it themselves and had a bad trip and are just saying they have been spiked, or whether they actually have been”, simply a reiteration of this lack of support. It gets even more shocking, when upon being asked how Vodka Revolution deter incidents of spiking, his response is a dire “ we don’t take any precautions against spiking at all, it’s not an issue”. Revolution is a rather big venue, why would it be exempt from spiking issues? There is music, and there is alcohol, so you would expect at least a little staff training on how to spot spiking. It’s a worrying attitude, and to some extent, in this case, disbelief is ignorance. Most shockingly, this manager retains this attitude even after watching a woman so effected by spiking that “she began having a fit and managed to bite a chunk off her own tongue” – yet still having no sympathy.
Katy Smith*, 19, experienced being roofied on a night out and discusses her safety, as something “must have been dropped into the drink as I turned to take a photo” – a first year university student, left paralytic in a toilet stall after two drinks. Feeling “helpless”, Katy* felt that she “couldn’t go to the police – what could they do? Even the female bouncer told me there’s nothing they can do”. This dismissal is surely enabling the general consensus of disbelief when it comes to spiking. “When people don’t believe what you tell them, despite being unable to move and in uncontrollable tears, it’s one of the worst feelings in the world. I felt alone and disgusted that anyone could think I made it up”, alienated, Katy* was taken to a back room by bouncers to gain a little more control before simply being sent home.[/one_third_last]
Katy was lucky, a group of friends got her home. She was safe. But what about the girls who may end up passed out in the street? Or the girls who stumble home at 3am trying to figure out where the footsteps she can hear are coming from. What about the girls who walk home, and never get there. The Roofie Foundation revealed that 900 people are “drug-raped” per year – the dangers of the night-time are making themselves clear: so why is it so unbelievable?
It may be doubted, but Sharon Hartwell, chaplain at Bournemouth University, says “it’s quite hard to prove or disprove spiking, but it’s all about the what-ifs”, and with a role to support students there’s no room for doubt in her mind. Sharon Hartwell has the right attitude. It’s “working with unknown consequences, and feeling victimized, spiking isn’t just about rape”.
Women, be careful, because there are always psychopaths who think making you paralytic is their only chance to pull. Drinks are spiked, and it happens more than you think, so next time you hear a story, maybe you shouldn’t be thinking true or false.
Worried about spiking? Try following the StopSpiking twitter account below.
*Names of the victims have been changed.