Durham University blasted for 'victim blaming' in drink spiking tweet

Students blast Durham University bosses for ‘victim blaming’ over ‘Don’t Get Spiked’ tweet warning them that drink-spiking is ‘something you can prevent from happening to you and your friends’

  • Durham University Student Wellbeing wrote on its Twitter page ‘don’t get spiked’
  • It advised students at the site to protect others by reporting cases to the police
  • Durham Students’ Union President criticised the Twitter post as ‘victim blaming’
  • Durham SU Welfare and Liberation Officer also admitted being dismayed by post

Students have blasted Durham University bosses for a tweet saying they can ‘prevent’ being spiked.

Durham University Student Wellbeing wrote on Twitter ‘don’t get spiked’ and advised people to protect others by reporting cases to police.

The post, which has now been deleted, read: ‘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.’

Durham Students’ Union President Seun Twins was one of the hundreds of people who criticised the post, branding it as ‘victim blaming.’

She said: ‘This victim blaming messaging is extremely dangerous. What was this supposed to achieve other than to divert attention away from predators and predatory behaviour? Disappointed for the umpteenth time.’

Durham University Student Wellbeing wrote on Twitter ‘don’t get spiked’ and advised people to protect others by reporting cases to police

Durham SU Welfare and Liberation Officer Jonah Graham also admitted being dismayed by the post.

He added: ‘Disappointing. Spiking is assault so this hashtag is widely inappropriate.

‘The uni should help students to stay safe (e.g. providing drink covers) and report incidents without insensitively blaming victims.

‘All guilt lies with perpetrators – the primary focus must be on them.’

The post also provoked a reaction from students at other universities in the north of England.

Fran Heald, who studies at Leeds, told ChronicleLive: ‘The tweet said ”don’t get spiked” and I understand what they were trying to do, as there’s things you can do to avoid it.

‘But those measures don’t mean that you won’t get spiked and they won’t necessarily stop it from happening.’

Durham Students’ Union President Seun Twins was one of the hundreds of people who criticised the post, branding it as ‘victim blaming.’ Pictured: The university’s students’ union

The 19-year-old added: ‘I think it was a bit ignorant, especially coming from such a large institution with such a large number of students.

‘I do appreciate them trying to help, because I feel a lot of universities haven’t yet. But the way they went about it was completely wrong.’

A spokesman for Durham University said: ‘We appreciate the feedback on our recent post about drink safety.’

They added: ‘Students have reported concerns to us about drink spiking on nights out.

‘We take this very seriously, and work with the police and others on guidance to help people be safe and report incidents.

‘We also regularly train staff and student representatives on drug and alcohol awareness.

‘We always aim to support our students and take opportunities to learn and improve our messaging on important topics like this.’

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