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Why Have We Stopped Talking About Spiking? It Hasn’t Gone Away And These Are The Repercussions

by Molly Gymer

TW: This article contains details of spiking and assault. Names have been changed.


My dress was tight and I was dancing with guys. It’s normal, happens all the time. I wasn’t careful enough. I had to learn the hard way.

These are the things I told myself the morning after being spiked. 

Drugged against my will and it’s my fault, right?


I was on a solo trip when I decided to go on a bar crawl with some new friends from my hostel. After years of anxiety keeping me at home, I finally felt brave enough to go out, alone, in a foreign country. 

I was excited and so proud of myself - but what happened that night changed everything.

After two drinks I was found on the floor (I wonder if I was even conscious) and taken back to my hostel by some girls who may have saved my life.

I woke up feeling terrible. I had no memory of the night or of the girls who helped me home. When I got up and my head was spinning.


I felt like a little girl that next day. Like I wasn’t able to look after myself. Like I failed at being a mature woman. 

I made excuses and blamed myself. I felt embarrassed.

I knew that spiking was common. I knew the signs and symptoms - but no one speaks about the shame in the days that follow. The shame that was eating away at me.


I decided to ask my friends if they had ever experienced spiking:


“I was embarrassed. I told myself I wasn’t careful enough and it was my fault,” says Lilly. “I waited too long to go to the police for the drugs to show up in my system so I never told anyone apart from the friends I was with”.


Freya was spiked by a needle after inviting a seemingly “harmless” man to sit with her and her friends. 

She remembers having felt dizzy and as though she wasn’t in her own body. 

Later, she experienced memory loss and illness lasting several days. Outside all the cloudiness and blurred thoughts, she glaringly remembers him touching her.

When I asked about reporting it or speaking with friends she said “I didn’t really tell anyone at the time as I was embarrassed about it and felt like it was my fault”.


“I told my family the next day. It was a guy who I’d been on a couple dates with. I trusted him and my family said that was stupid of me,” writes Holly in an email.

The takeaway? We all felt shame at something we had absolutely no control over. 

I and all of the women I spoke to now shared a heightened anxiety surrounding going out and drinking in public. 

100% of the victims said they went out significantly less with friends and on dates in the months that followed their spiking, however only 40% of them now take extra safety precautions such taking a drinks cover to clubs and bars.


Spiking has rapidly increased in the last few years. 

We are told to be careful, to never let our guard down, but what if it happens anyway?

It wasn’t my fault. And I’m not embarrassed anymore.


So, what can you do to keep safe?


While it’s not on you to have to stop dickheads being dickheads, there are a few ways to help keep yourself safe because, unfortunately, we have to:

1, Buy some drink covers. There are great covers on Amazon and even ones that slip inside scrunchies*. Invest in a few incase you feel a friend needs one too.


2, Never leave your drink unattended, keep it in your hand, and always watch it being made/poured.


3, Make sure someone you trust knows where you are and what time you plan on being home.


4, Throw your drink away if it tastes different.


5, Be aware of your surroundings as much as possible.


What to do if you think you’ve been spiked


It’s so scary, but try to stay calm and keep yourself close to people - especially those you’re close with - then:

1, Get help from a trusted friend or venue manager.


2, Go home immediately- or to a hospital if facing extreme issues. 


3, Tell the police what you know as soon as you can. Both for your own safety and for the safety of future victims. You can report online, on 101 or, in an emergency, call 999. 

Kent Police state: “Some drugs can leave the body within 12 hours, so it's important you get tested as soon as possible. We know it can be scary to report being spiked, but the police are here to help you. We will listen to you and take you seriously.”

4, Don’t be afraid to get help. If you've been sexually assaulted it's important to remember that it was not your fault. Sexual violence is a crime, no matter who commits it or where it happens. 

There are services that can help if you've been sexually assaulted, raped or abused:

1, Sexual assault referral centres (SARCs) offer medical, practical and emotional support to anyone who has been raped sexually assaulted or abused. 

SARCs have specially trained doctors, nurses and support workers to care for you.

You can get help from a SARC by booking an appointment with your nearest one.

2, Rape Crisis - you can call the helpline on 0808 500 2222 or use the online chat (both are free and are open 24 hours a day, every day of the year). 

3, Women’s Aid: their website offer’s a Live Chat feature. You can also email (, read their survivor’s handbook, and join their forum to speak with those who have faced similar experiences. 

Edited by Emily Duff

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