Lewis Joyes in Solidarity 611 calls on readers to join the Girls Night In Protests, the one-night boycott of venues in over 30 towns and cities, called in response to a worrying increase in reports of women having drinks spiked, or being drugged with syringes. The nationwide movement began following several police reports of female students being injected with needles while on nights out in recent weeks.
Solidarity reports they are making a range of demands for more thorough searches on entry, improved training for nightclub staff, anti-spiking devices to be made available, and increased CCTV in bars. We stand in full solidarity with those demanding the right to be safe on nights out and fighting sexual violence. But socialists should intervene in the movement with better demands. More searches on entry and increased CCTV would do little to prevent sexual assault in clubs. Increased searching will far more likely be used to catch those with recreational drugs for themselves. Injection spiking is incredibly rare compared to drink spiking, and both are dwarfed by alcohol-related violence and sexual assault. Most rapists could not be caught at the door in advance.
Girls Night In Manchester were right to call for an education and publicity campaign on consent in the city. There should be support services in cities and on campus. Local authorities and universities should provide free and safe transport for nightlife.
The dominant narrative says the answer to sexual assault is more surveillance and cops. We know this will make black and LGBT young people less safe on their nights out. We need to present an alternative.
Katy Dollar, London