Credit: Glasgow University Union (GUU)

GUU and SWAG host a two-day vigil in solidarity with the ‘Girls Night In’ campaign

By Janka Deák

CW: gender-based violence

Participants were welcomed to Hive to reflect and leave messages of support in light of the increase in cases of drink spiking across the UK.

A vigil took place at HIVE between 10am and 7pm on 28 and 29 of October in support of the recent “Girls Night In” club boycott campaign and the fight against drink spiking and gender-based violence. 

The vigil, jointly hosted by the Glasgow University Union (GUU) and SWAG (Successful Women At Glasgow), aimed to bring attention to the increase in reports of nightclub spikings around the UK and reclaim the club setting as a safe space through a show of solidarity, strength, and support.

Messages of support, calls for change, and personal accounts covered the wall across the closed bar. On the steps below, were bouquets, small plastic candles, and stacks of survivors’ support pamphlets. The usually crowded place was empty and quiet, giving attendees a moment alone to reflect.

A spokesperson told The Glasgow Guardian: “The purpose of the event was to provide a space for people to come along and reflect. Regardless of if one or a hundred showed up, if even one person has found it beneficial we’ve done our job!”

They continued: “We used HIVE as a location in order to reclaim the space, although it may be triggering for some. HIVE has often been the site of GBV [gender-based violence] and we wanted to allow students the opportunity to take the space back and associate new memories within the venue. The space is of course contested, and triggering for some, but the hope was that it would become a space of reflection for everyone. By using HIVE we are hoping it puts across a statement.”

“We used HIVE as a location. We wanted to allow students the opportunity to take the space back and associate new memories within the venue.”

When asked about the effectiveness of the club boycotts, the spokesperson explained: “It is clear that boycotting will not solve the problem. It takes systemic change and a joint effort from institutions to ensure safe spaces are accessible on campus and in the city in general.”

Greater emphasis has been placed on student bodies’ responsibility for the safety of students following the cross campus statement by the unions and the subsequent cancellation of club nights at the GUU and the Queen Margaret Union (QMU) in solidarity with the boycott.

On this point, the spokesperson commented: “SWAG has a working relationship with the four student bodies in order to hold the University, as well as their institutions, to account and promote student welfare. We are aware of the shortcomings of the student bodies in the past but have been informed they are making conscious efforts to make their spaces safe for students and we will continue to pressure them to follow through on this.

“The GUU contacted us asking for advice on the vigil and myself and VP Kate met with them to discuss and find out their action plan going forward. We appreciate the solidarity they have shown with the “Girls Night In” boycott by closing HIVE and hosting this vigil to provide an opportunity for people to reclaim this space.”

The SRC Sexual Violence Support resources are available here. SWAG is a feminist platform at the University of Glasgow showcasing and celebrating personal and professional successes of women in Glasgow. They can be found as @swaglasgow on both Twitter and Instagram. They also work with the Rosey Project – Glasgow and the Glasgow and Clyde Rape Crisis to support survivors of gender-based violence.


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