Stirling pub boycott planned amid national outrage over drink spiking

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Stirling students will be boycotting local clubs and bars in a stand against a rise in drink spiking.

The GirlsNightIn campaign asks people across Scotland and the rest of the UK to avoid local clubs on specific nights. These boycotts take place from October 25 until November 5.

The Stirling boycott will be on October 28. 

The boycotts are in response to a surge in spiking reports, with many taking to social media to share their past and more recent experiences of spiking.

The campaign is calling for a complete overhaul in the way people who are incapacitated are treated by staff.

It also calls for reassurance that people would never be left to fend for themselves in the middle of the street because they are too incapacitated.

Reclaim Stirling, a local campaign pushing for change at Stirling University in their strategy towards tackling the culture of sexual violence on campus, are wanting to take the boycott one step further and are calling for the Stirling boycott to last from October 27 until November 1 and to include local bars as well. 

“These venues rely on us, on our money and on our business for their profits, this boycott is a stand against those establishments continually making money while our lives are at risk every night we go out.”

Reclaim Stirling

In the last three years, drink spiking has risen by 108 per cent in the UK according to Global Citizens. However, officials believe that the vast majority of incidents go unreported. 

Representatives Emma Hackney and Jess Reid from Reclaim Stirling believe this is down to an assumed response by authorities and governing bodies.

A statement from the group said: “There seems to be a level of contempt or suspicion towards incapacitated people in the nightlife industry.”

Going forward, they suggest that “we need to see a more compassionate and victim informed approach.”

The more recent reports of spiking also involve allegations of ‘spiking by injection’ and some claim to have been infected with HIV infection as a result. National Aids Trust wants to reassure those that suspect they have been injected.

The charity tweeted on October 20 that “online rumours someone was diagnosed with HIV shortly after a needle injury are demonstrably false. Getting HIV from a needle is extremely rare. A diagnosis takes weeks.”

They encourage anyone who believes they may have been exposed to HIV (usually through unprotected vaginal/anal sex) in the past 72 hours to seek immediate medical help and advice from A&E or a sexual health clinic. 

Alongside the planned boycott Reclaim Stirling will also be having a Stand Against Spiking protest in Stirling city centre on Saturday, October 30 which is open to any Stirling students and residents. 

People can attend a placard making event run by the Stirling Sexual Health & Education Society on Thursday, October 28 as well. 

SNP MSP Evelyn Tweed has also commented on the issue in Holyrood and is set to meet with Scottish Government about it.

“It is unacceptable that in 2021, there is still so much to do to tackle violence against women and girls. Spiking is just the latest manifestation of a sickness in our society that we need to tackle. 

Evelyn Tweed MSP raised the issue of nightlife safety and spiking incidents with Police Scotland last week, after receiving pressing concerns from constituents about their nightlife safety and spiking incidents in recent weeks.

Since then she has also set up meetings with Engender, Rape Crisis Scotland, the Scottish Licensed Trade Association and UKHospitality Scotland.

The Stirling MSP has said that she is determined to do all she can to ensure “the focus is on those who are committing these vile acts” rather than “putting the obligation on women to protect themselves.”

“I am glad to hear how seriously the Scottish Government is taking the recent reports of spiking, either of drinks or by injection. The reports we are seeing are painfully shocking and it’s time we dealt with the root causes. 

“Everyone deserves to go about their lives and enjoy themselves in a safe manner, and the recent reports of spiking by injections are a shocking illustration of the threats that people – particularly women – face when doing so.

Evelyn Tweed, Stirling MSP

“I know there is no simple solution here but I am determined to do what needs to be done to tackle this deeply concerning issue so I look forward to meeting with the Cabinet Secretary and others to discuss what further action can be taken.

“If anyone has been or has witnessed someone being spiked, I urge them to contact the Police as soon as possible so they can investigate the instances as quickly as possible since the evidence they need is time sensitive. People can also reach out to Rape Crisis Scotland for support via their helpline which is 08088 01 03 02.”

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3rd year English and Journalism student and secretary of Brig Newspaper

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