The Glasgow Guardian has spoken to Cara Teven, founder of the page Girls Against Spiking
Last month, Girls Against Spiking was launched on Facebook by Strathclyde University law student Cara Teven in order to campaign against drink spiking in Glasgow. The page received national attention after Strathclyde University’s Union supported the effort, announcing that they will be adding lids to cups in hopes to prevent spiking.
The Glasgow Guardian has spoken to Cara about the campaign and her aims for its future.
GG: What inspired you to start the Facebook page when you did?
CT: Like everyone else, we all see these horrible stories on Facebook about girls getting spiked, so it’s something I’ve been thinking about for a while. I’m a law student so I suppose I naturally try to protect others and advocate for them!
GG: Was your decision informed by the recent increase in spiking in Glasgow, such as the serious incident on Sauchiehall Street last month?
CT: I’m aware of that particular incident and it was definitely a contributing factor to my decision to set up the page.
GG: Have you yourself been spiked, and if so, how did this impact your life and studies?
CT: The page isn’t about me really; I like to say it’s not for my own benefit either. Honestly the page is a community filled with the most amazing people, and it’s for them rather than myself! I have a few young relatives and I want them to grow up in a culture where they’re free to enjoy themselves when they are old enough to go out.
GG: Do you have friends that have been spiked?
CT: One of my close friends was spiked; luckily she’s strong and brave enough to openly talk about it and does everything she can to help me with the page. But, a lot of people are too scared to talk about their experience of spiking and I think that’s what makes the page so brilliant – we’re all acting as one.
GG: Do you think that universities are currently doing enough to combat spiking and its culture?
CT: I think they’re certainly trying. I think out of all the places young people can go out, university unions are the most socially conscious but more can always be done! The Strathclyde Union has been amazing however.
GG: You mention that you’ve been in touch with the Queen Margaret Union – have you contacted the Glasgow University Union?
CT: I’ve been in touch with most of the unions in Scotland and haven’t heard back from them yet but I am hopeful they will get in touch!
GG: Do you think Glasgow as a city and its nightclubs/bars are doing enough to combat spiking and its culture?
CT: I don’t think currently they are. At the weekend I took a lid out with me for my drink and management at the venue were sceptical of it. It’s more about knowledge than anything else, because once it’s accepted that spiking is never the victim’s fault then women should be empowered to take control of their own safety.
GG: You’ve received a welcoming and overwhelming amount of support. Have you faced any backlash?
CT: The support has been amazing! Everyone on the page is an absolute credit to themselves and me. I’m not sure I’ve received any backlash per say, it’s more just people being unaware of the issue. I saw one comment saying “who leaves their drink lying around anyway” but drink spiking is so much more than that, and no matter how careful you are, it can still happen.