I turned 18 in the blockade last year. A friend thundered me from my garden and serenade me. I blew out the candles and vowed to properly mark the milestones as soon as possible. When the club opened earlier this summer, I wanted to make my debut.
On my first night out, my friend’s mom took us to our destination. As we approached the club, she spoke seriously, ready to join the line of bodies pouring from the venue’s mouth. “Look at your drink. We’re together.” She pushed £ 20 into the palm of my friend. “In the case of an emergency taxi, I hope you don’t need it, so I’m hoping it will come back,” she explained. That night, her words echoed in my ears alongside the bass line. In addition to ID and lip gloss, vigilance is essential for clubbing.
Since that night, I’ve come down to the basement many times and reappeared with dim sweat and grin. But it wonders how much time I spend batting my hands off my hips and getting frustrated when a relentless guy doesn’t get hints. When she needed to pretend to me know her, I learned to read with the eyes of a stranger, my friends sometimes on my shoulders because it is often the easiest solution I learned to put my arms on.
That action did not discourage me from playing a club. It happened so often and so chaotically that it became almost routine. I started to anticipate harassment as a side effect of looking good and having fun. I wasn’t the only one to think of this. According to a Liverpool John Moores University study, 36% believe that unwanted sexual progress is a normal part of a night out. But after months of sneaking under strobe lights, I started getting tired – until I attended clubnight just for women and non-dual people.
The lack of a dress code made the majority of female participants comfortable. I didn’t make a noise or lie down at the bar. Instead, the girls were chatting, laughing, and dancing everywhere. When my date hung her arm on the dance floor, I leaned comfortably on her touch. I knew there were no men around me who mistaken my affection for performance. When the store closed, I walked to the subway station, feeling the sense of security that I didn’t think was impossible at night.
The tragic killing of Sarah Everd in March triggered a conversation about how society is still endangering women. Nightclubs are arenas that avoid such scrutiny. However, women’s safety in nightclubs should be a priority when navigating restricted life. Women-only clubs are an irreplaceable place, but not a solution. I don’t want to stay away for welfare. It sounds like a dystopian fiction plot. Such spaces also inevitably eliminate queer men, a group vulnerable to club harassment as homosexual hate crimes increase.
All clubs must be a safe place for women. There were proposals to achieve this, including sending plainclothes police to the bar. The plan faced swift criticism from a woman who was distrustful of the police. Organizations like the Good Night Out Campaign offer better solutions. We provide training to bar staff on prevention and efforts to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace. In August, the Metropolitan Police launched Ask for Angela in partnership with venues throughout London. This is a scheme that helps bar staff escape dangerous situations when alerted using codeword.
However, there are flaws. Such plans require the intervention of bar staff, 54% of whom are women. This could mean trying to resolve a threatening behavior against a woman by placing another woman on the firing line.
Women’s safety issues begin with the attitude of men. Consent and sexual harassment are covered by the curriculum when school children return to class. We hope this will change the movement and allow the next generation of first-time clubbers to enjoy the moonlight without fear.
Until that point is reached, we need to see men’s safety as a problem that concerns women as a whole, not just agents through their beloved women. Men must use their privileges and call other men, including friends, when they cross boundaries. Especially their friends.
Nali Simukulwa is a freelance journalist