Since the easing of lockdown, the number of spiking cases has dramatically increased across the country, especially on university campuses.
According to a survey completed by The Tab, almost 12,000 students believe a friend has been spiked since the start of the Autumn semester.
This spiking ‘epidemic’ triggered a lot of responses from universities, some even starting a hashtag “#don’tgetspiked”. I truly believe that implying women are responsible for preventing getting spiked and protecting themselves is an entirely ignorant approach to have in 2021. It has reached the point where suggesting women need to make sure they don’t leave their drinks unattended, to hold our thumbs over bottles, to not share drinks with strangers is simply tone-deaf to the situation.
Victim blaming women disregards the much-needed conversations that need to be had about men and their behaviour. So, instead of exhausting women by telling them how to protect themselves, since that is what they’ve been conditioned to do since they were young, we need to have better education on what to do once you actually have been spiked.
There are many different methods of spiking which means there are endless different symptoms to look out for. The main ones, however, are having a loss of balance, feeling sleepy, visual problems, nausea, slurring / communication inabilities, and unconsciousness. Also, from experience, you will know when your friend begins to act out of character or differently.
I think the most frustrating aspect of the situation is that while blaming women for not protecting ourselves, there are simultaneously no resources online or throughout universities that help us know what to do once we do get spiked. Once you suspect either you or your friend has been spiked, the most important thing is to remain together or with someone you trust. While substances can take effect quickly and can make it hard to communicate, try and ask a security staff member to help you. It is also recommended to contact 999 and go to A&E if things become even more urgent.
Finally, call the police because spiking an individual is illegal.