Health & Fitness ‘Don’t Get Spiked’ And Other Terrible Advice For Women
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Being a woman, it’s a tough old job, especially when there is no shortage of people telling us how we are failing upwards when it comes to protecting ourselves. This week Durham University’s Student Wellbeing account took up the mantle when they shared this sage advice following a series of reports about a rise in spiking by injection.
‘Drink Spiking is dangerous and something that you can prevent from happening to you and your friends. #dontgetspiked. Contact the police as soon as possible in a suspected case so an investigation can be conducted and others protected.’
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The tweet has – unsurprisingly – since been deleted amid – unsurprisingly – a wash of criticism. But it follows months of terrible advice, levied at victim blaming women and failing to enact on the real issue at hand; the behaviour of men, whether they’re stalking us, spiking us or stealing us from the streets. Let’s take a look back…
In the wake of 33-year-oldat the hands of police officer Wayne Couzens we were told to; run away from lone male police officers, but ask them for ID first, or maybe get them to call for back-up, but or knock on a strangers door. Shout.
When 28-year-old primary school teacherwas found dead in a local park having taken just a ten minute walk to meet a date, we were told not to go out at night. Not to walk alone and definitely not after dark.
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We’re told not to wear revealing clothes, only bright colours, but no headphones. Don’t wear a short skirt, or high heels, or anything that makes it look like you’re asking for it – or that you wouldn’t be able to run after a bus in. Stay underneath those street lights.
We should call a friend to let them know where we are, but don’t have your phone out on the street too long – it might get stolen. Don’t get in unlicensed cabs, but take an uber if you have to, it’s safer. Or is it? Don’t smile, don’t engage, walk fast, cross the road, ask for help.
Wear a denim jacket so that you can’t be injected with anything in a nightclub. Watch your drink, don’t drink too much, or at all. Understand that if you are too drunk you might not be taken seriously.
Women have shouted from the rooftops that these are not the answers, that policing our behaviour does not work if nothing is done to stop male violence against us. But it doesn’t change anything.
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If you feel exhausted just reading this it’s because it is exhausting. Exhausting to be told in so many subtle - and not so subtle - ways that it’s our fault. That if we just behaved slightly differently we would be safer, when we know this is not true. Sarah Everard did everything right and yet she was not safe. Sabina Nessa was just a woman going for a night out.
Women should be able to walk down the streets, go out, call their friends, dance, drink and wear whatever they feel like without fearing the repercussions. Because on the flip side the advice for men is this… nothing.
Men haven’t been told to stop following women, to stop messaging them when they start to border on harassment, to stop spiking their drinks. They haven’t been told that no means no and that no matter how a woman is dressed she is not ‘fair game.’
Women are told to look out for each other but men are not told to monitor each other’s behaviour. They’re not calling it out or holding each other to account. They’re not being given advice on how to help women, carefully and in a non-threatening way. Nor are they seeking it out. And until that changes, nothing else will.
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