The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
Jasmine shares her thoughts on female student safety for her first article, an issue with rising prominence due to the spiking fears occuring in central Nottingham.
As a university student, letting your hair down and going out with your friends after a long week of studying is the perfect way to celebrate your hard work…right? Of course it is! However, unfortunately, as girls we face the reality of not being able to completely ‘let our hair down’ without constantly checking whether we are in danger of being harassed or spiked at a night club. I’m sure on almost every night out you’ve said to your friends ‘text me when you get home safe!’, ‘call me the whole way there!’ or ‘watch your drink’. With the news of the increasing number of drinks being spiked in Nottingham recently, it is easy to want to stay at home and avoid going out. And whilst that is perfectly okay, there are also ways in which we can protect ourselves, and each other on a night out to reduce any anxiety that may be holding us back.
One of my biggest tips is to invest in a self-defence alarm. Before I started university, my dad was so worried about me that he got me a few of them! Essentially, it is a small key chain with a button that shines a bright light (which is very useful to keep pressing to gain attention) and a small cord on the side that you pull to activate a loud alarm that will hopefully alert the people around you to your danger. You can attach them to your keys, your lanyard, or even in your bag. They are available on Amazon for £5 (which, for something that could save your life, is extremely worth it!).
Another alternative you can initiate is on your phone, in settings. Most iPhones have a built in security alarm function, which is activated by holding down the power and volume button. On some android phones, you can swipe to unlock and there is a button that says, ‘emergency call’. Most modern phones usually have some sort of built-in emergency call system, that can be used at any time.
In terms of protecting yourself from being spiked on a night out, there are a variety of ways to take precaution. My first tip would be to pre-drink a little bit before going out to avoid buying too many drinks at the bar (which is way more cost effective anyway!). And, as awful as it is, some bartenders can have the wrong intention too, so it is important to watch your drinks being made if you are going to buy them at the bar. My second tip would be to watch over your drink and hold your hand over it when not drinking from it just to ensure no one can put something in it while you are not looking. Alternatively, I would recommend buying the ‘Night Cap Drink Cover Scrunchie’ that you can use as a scrunchie in your hair before going out that you can then you can put over your drink to protect it. These are available in different forms on the Nightcap website, or on Amazon too.
It is very important to remember that as girls, it is not anything that WE are doing that put us in the vulnerable position of getting spiked or harassed, and if anything like this ever does happen to us, it is not a result of anything we did wrong. This is why it is so important that we spread awareness and educate both men and women on these issues, because it is EVERYONE’S duty to protect each other! Remember to go out and still have fun – the more we talk about this, the easier it will be to prevent these problems!