“1, 2, 3, 4: Leave the spiking at the door

5, 6, 7, 8: End spiking no debate”

On the 27th October, a boycott on nightclubs took place and people took to the streets in major universities across the UK. Held largely as a response to a drastic increase in spiking incidents, the most recent cases in Nottingham have involved people being injected with needles, with some cases resulting in hospitalisation.

Organised by Wom*Cam and IHH, the ‘Girls’ Night In’ initiative encouraged people to boycott nightclubs to stand against the lack of action, aiming to combat these spiking attacks. Around 200 people gathered outside the Clarendon Building in Central Oxford at 10pm, armed with megaphones, chanting and glittery placards advertising slogans such as “No means No” and “Don’t just protect women, educate men”. Hot Chocolate and Sign Making were amongst the activities before speeches were made, foreshadowing a sense of unity that was felt throughout the evening and reflecting the power of everyone coming together for such an important cause.

Following a walk past popular Oxford nightclubs such as ‘ATIK’ and ‘Bridge’, people from the crowd were encouraged to share their own thoughts and testimonies as they gathered by the steps of the Clarendon Building. Whilst some preached about the importance of holding their friends accountable, others shared personal experiences about getting spiked, amongst other forms of sexual harassment that those who are affected by misogyny fear on a daily basis. What this highlighted, beyond the fact that almost everyone at the protest had a personal link to the cause in the form of an anecdote or experience, was the power of unity in a time like this for such an important cause. 

In a crowd full of strangers in the middle of the night, a safe space was curated where the nighttime streets of Oxford were temporarily no longer a place of fear or intimidation, but of empowerment and togetherness.