Interpreting young women’s accounts of drink spiking: the need for a gendered understanding of the fear and reality of sexual violence

Oona Brooks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Citations (Scopus)


In recent years the public discourse around drink spiking has evolved from that of an ‘epidemic’ to an ‘urban myth’. This article examines the narratives of 35 young women interviewed in relation to the contested issue of drink spiking. The suggestion that young women invoke the drink spiking discourse to provide a feminine framework for the masculine practice of binge drinking is challenged. It is argued that, on the contrary, young women’s accounts of drink spiking are characterised by uncertainty, minimisation, self-blame and a reluctance to disclose their experiences. Further, young women’s fear of drink spiking represents a contemporary extension of the conventional gendered fear of sexual violence. Hence a gendered lens, sensitive to the fear and reality of sexual violence, is a prerequisite to a nuanced interpretation of young women’s accounts of drink spiking within the sexualised environment of the night-time economy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)300–316
Number of pages17
Issue number2
Early online date10 Jun 2013
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2014


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