Durham Uni blasted for controversial 'don't get spiked' advice

Durham University has been criticised following an insensitive tweet regarding spiking incidents.

Charlotte Ratheram
1st November 2021
Image: Instagram @Durhamuniversity
Durham University have been accused of victim blaming following a post from their student wellbeing Twitter account

The now-deleted tweet advised students that ‘drink spiking is something you can prevent from happening to you and your friends’. A rise in spiking cases in recent weeks has led to concerns over women's safety on nights out. The advice also urged people to contact police after a suspected case.

Twitter users criticised the ‘tone deaf’ message, arguing that this leads to victim blaming as opposed to targeting perpetrators.

Durham Student Union’s President Seun Twins also criticized the tweet to which she responded:  ‘This victim blaming messaging is extremely dangerous. What was this supposed to achieve other than to divert attention away from predators and predatory behaviour?? Disappointed for the umpteenth time.’  

In response to the backlash, Durham University has responded: ‘We appreciate the feedback on our recent post about drink safety. Students have reported concerns to us about drink spiking on nights out. We take this very seriously and work with the police and others on guidance to help people be safe and report incidents.’  

However, Twitter users have demanded further acknowledgment of the mistake. 'Our Durham Streets' Twitter account argued that ‘An apology from the university is needed at this point, not telling us you ‘appreciate the feedback.’ Please stop blaming us for being spiked and say sorry.’  

In response to the recent ‘epidemic’ of spiking cases, students throughout the UK plan to boycott clubs and bars over the next few weeks in order to spread awareness in a movement labelled ‘Girls Night In.’ Durham’s ‘Girls Night In’ boycott took place on 26 October, with several Durham societies backing the campaign on social media, whilst Newcastle’s occurred on 28 October.  

Market Shaker, a popular student bar in Newcastle, have outlined preventative measures they have implemented to avoid incidents of spiking through social media. These include additional CCTV, drink covers and testing kits for drinks.  

Newcastle University student Samuel Bunting said: 'It's disappointing that institutions fail to recognise that the reduction with the spiking epidemics will take more than women remaining cautious on nights out'.

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AUTHOR: Charlotte Ratheram
she/her 2nd year English Literature student

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