Spiking can happen to anyone-Spiking has long-lasting effects-Spiking is a removal of consent -Spiking is illegal
In September 2022, Middlesex University film students produced a film campaign as part of the university’s work to tackle a rise in incidents of spiking.
The film was produced to support the launch of guidance produced by UniversitiesUK on helping universities to prevent and respond to spiking.
Click on the image on the right to view the film and read below about how the different elements of the film came together.
If you would like to know more information about spiking, click here to view our Spiking Info-sheet.
For information about how to report spiking, please view Report.It.To.Stop.It.
Raising awareness about the impact of spiking
“Our campaign film conveys the message that spiking can happen to anyone, anywhere.” explains Joe Miles, who directed the film.
The message of the campaign film uses repetition. As the film progresses, “What happened to you last night?” is repeated in different scenarios. The message begins rather light-heartedly with a young man in a pub surrounded by his group of friends - the idea here is to acknowledge that some acts of spiking are motivated by, what may be referred to as “see what happens pranks”.
However, the film quickly moves to emphasise the impact of spiking, which goes far beyond a prank.
Jack Harper, who was involved in the conceptual development of the campaign adds, “I like how this group collective message of survival builds on community as well as an effective warning of the dangers and the lasting emotional effects drink spiking can cause, highlighting the removal of consent and the fracturing of reality that can occur following spiking.”
Breaking down barriers to reporting
One of the key aims of the film is to address barriers to reporting and encourage victims and witnesses to report incidents of spiking.
If one suspects someone else of spiking someone, it’s really important that they report it, whether this is to the police, security, the university etc., so that action can be taken to prevent harm from occurring.
Unfortunately, there are a lot of barriers to reporting spiking, such as a fear of not being believed; a fear of being unfairly judged, especially when memory loss or blackouts are experienced; concerns that no action will be taken, or; a false belief that too much time has passed since a spiking has occurred.
We encourage all our students to access support and report to the University via Report.It.To.Stop.It. Here, we will support you to decide on the next steps. You can report with your contact details or anonymously.
Set in the day after the night-before
The film is centred around the day after spiking has taken place, positioning victims at the centre of the storyline. This is distinctive from lots of other campaigns on the subject which tend to focus on the act of spiking, for example at a club or bar, and feature prominently the perpetrator and a second act of abuse, such as sexual assault.
“My students are really aware of the conventions of film language, and felt they wanted to avoid some of the club aesthetics in their campaign, instead putting an emphasis on the after-effects and impact of spiking” explains Helen Bendon who supervised the project. “I think that was a really wise decision from the students as we can become desensitised to the message if the film looks visually lush and if we feel too familiar with the scenario that is being played out”. Instead, in the film, we see numerous victims and their loved ones in all different settings talking about the night before in which it is implied that spiking incidents took place.
The purpose of this approach was to empower those affected by spiking, to give them a voice, and by doing so, to facilitate a deeper understanding as to the longer-term effects of spiking on individuals and their families. Casting director Hunter Clint felt it was important to approach the topic realistically and create something “very different from a lot of campaigns out there, as it focuses on the morning after and the emotional impact” she adds that “contributing to this cultural shift in the attitude towards spiking has been very meaningful.”
Joe Miles - Director
Max Stapleton - Director
Ainslie Beer-Perry - Producer
Samson Arnett-Roughley - DoP / Composer
Fran Christie - Sound Recordist
James Roberts - Art Director
Jack Harper - 1st AD
Sam Shephard - Post Production Sound / Gaffer
Hunter Clint - Casting Director / BTS Photographer
Katerina Schmidova - MakeUp Artist
Natalie Tlustos - Art Direction Assistant
Randy Fioti-Fioti - Gaffer
Leonor Laranjeira – Runner
Helen Bendon – Supervising academic
Ethan Joseph Robert
Max McMillan Ngwenya