Because the best kind of night out, is a safe night out
Once in a while, most of us love a big, raging night out with our pals – particularly if you’re blowing off the pressure of study or work – and at Fumble, we’re all for that. But for us, the best kind of night out is one where you and your friends are all looking out for yourselves.
Whether you’re heading to house parties, out on the town, or bar crawling, as soon as you throw alcohol into the mix (and especially if you’re planning to drink a lot) your judgement gets impaired, and the risk that you could end up in an unsafe situation increases. This goes for everything from falling down the stairs and smashing your phone, to getting into a row with someone, or even to someone taking advantage of you.
Before we go any further, let’s be very clear: regardless of your gender, whether you’re wearing stilettos or pyjamas, whether you’re completely sober or three sheets to the wind; if someone harasses, threatens, or physically or sexually assaults you, that is never your fault.
Some people like to blame stories of harassment and assault on drinking culture; but the only thing that links any instance of sexual violence is the moment when someone makes a decision to violate you.
But we still think it’s a great idea to allow yourself to feel as secure as possible on nights out. Following these basic steps should leave you free to to enjoy yourself:
Charge Your Phone
Make sure your phone is fully charged before the start of your night. It can be a vital lifeline for staying in touch with your friends, and (worst case scenario) getting in touch with emergency services if any of you run into trouble.
Phones are also handy for taxi apps: useful if you need to leave a place quickly as they usually come within 5 minutes of being called, and you can send a link to friends to track your ride home.
A taxi app bonus: you can still use them if you’ve lost your wallet, as you pay within the app.
Talk to Your Friends
Make a safety pact with the people you’re going out with. If you leave the club/bar/party, make sure the people in your group know where you are going and how to contact you.
Exchanging phone numbers and addresses on a group chat beforehand is always a good idea. And if you’re walking home or changing location, take a buddy with you!
Always have an emergency £10 with you, in case you lose your ride home and need to call a taxi or use public transport. Resist the temptation to spend it on another drink as you never know when you might need it.
Consent Is The Watchword
If you choose to go home with another person (regardless of whether you already know them or not) assess how drunk you both are, make it clear what you do and do not consent to, and thendecide whether it’s a good time for a Fumble. Sure, alcohol can make you feel more sexually confident: but it can also make boundaries less clear. Check out this article on alcohol and consent for more info.
If you feel uncomfortable, too drunk, or change your mind (which is completely valid) then call a taxi rather than walking in an unlit area alone or sleeping in an unfamiliar place.
Keep Your Drink Close By
Don’t accept drinks from strangers and don’t leave your drink (bottled or not) unattended at any point. If you suspect your drink may have been spiked, tell a friend, or (if you’re in a bar or club) a member of staff immediately and ask for them to call you a taxi home.
If you feel unwell, someone you trust should take you to your nearest A&E department. Tell the medical staff that you think your drink’s been spiked.
You can report the incident to the police at any point though it’s recommended you call them within 24 hours.
[Content warning: Mentions of sexual assault]
What To Do if the Worst Happens
If the worst does happen and you are sexually assaulted, here are some important steps to take as soon as you can:
Get somewhere safe. Call a friend, partner or family member to collect you or get a taxi.
If you are willing to involve the police, call 999 immediately. They can organise taking forensic evidence should you wish to report the incident.
Contact/visit a sexual assault referral centre (you can find a centre local to you here) who have crisis workers available by phone 24/7 and can provide medical examinations as well as referrals for additional support.
If you wish to speak to a counsellor immediately, you can call the national rape crisis hotline (England and Wales) on 0808 802 9999.
Try to resist the urge to wash your body or your clothes until you have decided whether to report the assault to the police. The DNA present on you and your clothes can be used as evidence against your attacker.
Additional points of care can include:
Accident and Emergency (A&E)
Family Planning Clinics
Sexual Health Clinics
For more information on rape and sexual assault, you can check out these articles: