Anuba – a haven of cheap drinks, a comfortingly uniform reggae playlist, and a provider of a reliably good time? So I thought until I woke up one Friday lunchtime in my friend’s bed with no recollection of the night before. After a standard vodka cranberry or two, I blacked out. It was around 11:30 pm. The last thing I remember is comfortably swaying with my friend to “three little birds,” and then everything goes blank. Anuba, while a haven, apparently was not a safe one. I have never blacked out before, and I had no idea how frightening the experience would be, waking up with no knowledge of what I had said or done, feeling utterly vulnerable. How can twelve hours of your life pass by so quickly without any recollection of it?
I pieced the night together by speaking to friends, who luckily surrounded me the entire night. Apparently I had seemed a little tipsy but overall fine, until I fell flat onto the floor of the smoking area. I lost control of my limbs, and had to be lifted up. I was taken into the bathroom of Bridge, where a bouncer came in and forcibly dragged a friend and I out. I respect the difficult role of bouncers, however to grab two girls so aggressively that their arms were covered with blue-black bruises for the next week is excessive. Although I was lucky enough to be with a friend, to throw a girl out onto the streets who was clearly in no fit state to get herself home is simply dangerous. Fortunately, I was carried home by people from my college, whose Thursday night was spoiled. They spent the journey trying to provoke any sign of consciousness, carrying my limp body and trying to open my eyes. In a typical display of independence, I repeatedly shouted at them to put me down, declaring that I could walk perfectly fine by myself. Of course, when they did finally indulge me, I collapsed to the ground. When brought back to college, I passed out unconscious and proceeded to spend the whole of the following day throwing up whatever drug was in my system. I felt utterly weak and disillusioned for the next few days. It was a profoundly depressing realisation that, even in an Oxford student night, no one is safe.
When I discussed my night with other students, I discovered that several other people with similarly uncomfortable experiences at Anuba. That same night, another girl from my college was spiked – after just one drink she was on the floor, unresponsive, and similarly had to be taken home. A few weeks previously, a male friend felt sexually assaulted there. While I had little information to provide the police with, I regret not filing a report if only to make them more aware of the problem. Therefore the purpose of this article is as a warning to alert others. I felt like I was in a secure environment, and was no vigilant about constantly monitoring my drink when at the bar or letting others buy drinks for me. I cannot stress enough how important it is not to leave your drink unattended and to physically watch the bartender pour your drink. I was lucky in that I had friends with me all night who were able to take care of me, but who knows what could have happened otherwise. I am determined not to let it stop me going out, but it was a frightening wakeup call that you have to be aware when you go out, even though it is a time to relax and hang out with friends. Even if we cannot find these sickening people, we can do everything we can to try and prevent them from spiking drinks and sexually assaulting innocent students.