Reflect and Introspect Blog | Don't Get Spiked

Don’t Get Spiked!

I was recently asked completely innocently why I haven’t written any blog posts about all of the things happening this year to women – you know, the attacks, murders, and most recently injection spikings. They recalled that I posted about Black Lives Matter, and obviously it goes without saying that I am extremely opinionated. So, as a woman, with a platform I use to express my opinions on an array of topics, why am I not actively posting about these issues? It was a completely fair question and something I’ve pondered before.

When Sarah Everard was murdered earlier this year, I actually did write about it, but I never published it because I was so drained that I couldn’t find the energy to structure my thoughts into a coherent post. I didn’t – couldn’t – share all that I was thinking because I was too frozen to truly articulate my thoughts and anger on it. I felt like I was just about managing to come to terms with it, when Sabina Nessa was murdered, and once again I plummeted into a state of shock and despair. I use these two cases as examples, but there are many other women across the world who this happens to, some who get a lot of media coverage and others who get none. But each case leaves me infuriated, petrified and frozen, experiencing all of the below:

I remember reading about Mollie Tibbetts going missing in America some years back, and I followed the case right through until her body was discovered. She had gone out for a run and was murdered. I also remember reading about Grace Millane who was travelling around New Zealand and was murdered. I have to say, these things devastate me but devastatingly, they no longer shock me. But what did shock me were the responses that surfaced in the aftermath. People questioned why the victims were doing what they were doing. Not the murderers; the victims.

Why was Mollie running alone? Was Mollie wearing shorts and a vest? Why was Grace travelling alone? Grace’s killer said it was a mistake during sex, why was she into that stuff? Why did they not tell anybody where they were? Why was Sarah walking home instead of getting a taxi? Why was Sabina walking across a park?

WHY THE FUCK SHOULD THEY NOT HAVE BEEN DOING ANY OF THESE THINGS?!

And just when it felt like things couldn’t get any worse for women, this week, there have been warnings of people injecting girls in nightclubs in an effort to spike them.

Injecting. Girls.

In response to this news, Durham University’s “wellbeing” Twitter account put out a tweet informing people that “drink spiking is dangerous and something that you can prevent happening to you and your friends”.

They received a ton of backlash so of course deleted the tweet and followed it up with a pathetic non-apology accepting zero responsibility for their shameful victimblaming, but fortunately, the hero that is Em Clarkson managed to get a screenshot before they deleted it (scroll through her post to see the tweet).

Women have been attempting to prevent themselves from being spiked for years. We cover our drinks, we never leave drinks unattended, and as much as it is possible, we watch the bartender making our drinks before bringing them to us. Heaven forbid we are spiked, we have to try our best to get help from people who deem us to be “too drunk”. Like so many others, these instructions have been ingrained into our brains, drilled into us by our mothers from childhood. And we will continue to drill them into the brains of our daughters in a vicious, neverending cycle of taking responsibility for something that shouldn’t be ours to take.

It is already difficult enough to protect ourselves from people who are intent on causing us harm. But now we are being told to prevent ourselves from being injected. Protecting ourselves from being spiked is only the start of it. We then have to protect ourselves from the intention behind the spiking, whilst in a compromised state. What more do women have to do to keep safe? When are people going to finally wake up and realise that there is a fundamental systemic issue that needs addressing, and that women are not culpable for being harmed?

The very fact that this is still happening is hideous enough, but once again, what I found more astonishing was the number of people dismissing or doubting it. “This doesn’t happen”, “people are exagerrating and fearmongering”, “women need to be more vigilant”, “this is what happens when women get drunk”, and of course, the good old classic, “men can be spiked too”.

It often feels like I am smashing my head against a brick wall with this topic. When something bad happens in the world, the amount of comments and posts that come out trying to oppose it in some way is staggering. Black lives matter? All lives matter. Women being murdered? Men get murdered too.

I feel as though I can’t even highlight the fact that the four women I mentioned above were all murdered by a man, without the #notallmen brigade coming at me with cases of men being killed by women.

We’re not idiots. We know it’s not all men. Nobody is saying, nor have they ever said, that it is. But whether you want to acknowledge it or not, girls live in perpetual fear of being targeted and have spent their entire lives trying to protect themselves. And guess what? We are still being attacked, spiked, raped and murdered.

People are so intent on being deliberately obtuse and missing the point that it takes away from the real message: the victim is never the criminal. I have so much more to say on this topic but I feel drained, so I’ll end with this:

We should be able to run alone – day or night – without being attacked, raped or murdered.

We should be able to walk somewhere – day or night – without being attacked, raped or murdered.

We should be able to travel alone, via any means, without being attacked, raped or murdered.

We should be able to wear what we want without being attacked, raped or murdered.

We should be able to go out dancing, wearing whatever we see fit without being attacked, raped or murdered.

We should be able to go to a nightclub without having to prevent ourselves from being injected, spiked, raped or murdered.

We know that men are attacked and murdered too.

We shouldn’t have to battle to get ourselves heard over the masses of “not all men”.

We shouldn’t have to prevent ourselves from being attacked or murdered.

We shouldn’t have to prevent ourselves from being attacked or murdered.

We shouldn’t have to prevent ourselves from being attacked or murdered.

Victims are never the criminals. EVER.

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