Lorna Street had never heard of drink spiking before she found herself slumped over a toilet in a Norwich nightclub drifting in and out of consciousness until the early hours of the morning.
The 26-year-old told The Independent she was aged 18 at the time and was “fresh into uni” when she was targeted in a club.
She said she hadn’t drunk anything before getting there but ordered a large glass of red wine upon arrival which she left unattended as she chatted to her friends.
Ms Street is now backing a legal challenge against the government by campaigners who claim not enough is being done to tackle the crime. She said: “If nothing has changed then this terrible crime is going to keep happening. I don’t want someone to go through what I went through.”
The Good Law Project and the Gemini Project has initiated legal proceedings against the Home Office alleging it has failed to comply with its statutory duty to deliver a promised report on spiking and has not outlined how it intends to solve the issue. The deadline for the report to be published was in April.
Recounting her ordeal, Ms Street, who now campaigns on the issue, said she was in the club between 10.30pm and 4am in the morning but the time flew by in an instant after she drank the spiked drink.
Suddenly she found herself in a garden full of people and remembered instantly feeling sick.
“I ran to the toilet – I don’t remember much else that night. I was going in and out of consciousness in the bathroom. I was hunched over the toilet all night intermittently being sick. I remember the bouncer carried me out the club over his shoulder.”
“I woke up in a house I didn’t recognise,” Ms Street added. “I was very confused. It was a friend of a friend's place but it was still disconcerting as to how I ended up there. I remember feeling extremely, extremely hungover but I only had a few sips of my wine.”
She said it wasn’t until stories about drink spiking emerged in the news in autumn 2021 that she realised she had been spiked.
And she is not alone. Drink spiking is a major problem – with data from police forces in England and Wales showing there were almost 5,000 reported needle and drink spikings from September 2021 to September 2022.
More than half of the incidents happened in pubs, bars and clubs, while nearly two-thirds of reports happen on weekends.
Lucy Nevitt, co-founder of The Gemini Project, said spiking was a “direct violation of a person's body autonomy”.
She added: “We are concerned that in not publishing this important report the government is reneging on both their statutory duty to address the issue and their commitments to combatting violence against women and girls”.
Written by Maya Openenheim via The Independent 13/07/2023