Women and binge drinking in Cardiff

 As women soak themselves more in alcohol, anti-social behaviour rises in Cardiff

It was about midnight. Sandra (not real name) apparently thought she was on her bed. Her phone rang intermittently in her bag. Even, the mini skirt she wore that night made her sitting position an eyesore. Passersby hissed. But, a gentleman pulled up by her side on theCathays
Bridge where she was lying, and stopped. “Yes, I know you,” the girl mumbled.

The man raised her up and took her down the bridge. He asked her where she lived. “I want to go,” she drawled.  “Where?” he repeated. “Ah! My boyfriend,” came the answer. Frustrated, the man left her. Her phone rang again. This time, she picked it. “Smith! Smith! Smith!” was all she shouted as she staggered exactly to nowhere.

Binge drinking. That was Sandra’s problem. And that is the major problem currently confronting women in Cardiff. A recent survey of global alcohol consumption found that women in the UK are the worst binge drinkers in the world. THE INDEPENDENT quoted the report as classifying one in three 17-to 30-year-olds as “a heavy drinker, bingeing on four or more drinks in one session at least once a fortnight.”

In Cardiff, the problem is more common with university students. According to the Education and Welfare Officer of Cardiff University Students’ Union, Ms Kate Monaghan, the reason is that many people see it as a social opportunity. She explains, “If you don’t get drunk at the weekend, then you haven’t done anything. To relax, you have to drink. That is the culture at the moment.”

She says some of these women drink more because they don’t realise what constitutes binge drinking. “Six units of alcohol are considered binge drinking. But to them, that is not much for a whole night,” Monaghan emphasises.

The Students Advice Centre Manager of Cardiff University, Mrs. Maria Al-Haddad, says it saddens her that it’s the British that do it more than any other European country. She notes that these women don’t really realise what they are doing to their bodies health-wise.

She adds, “ These women leave themselves wide open for attack. Sometimes, they go out in a group. But some of them try to go home alone, thereby exposing themselves to danger. You have seen the example of some women being murdered in another part of the UK.”

Besides, excessive consumption of alcohol has pushed more women into violence. The BBC recently reported that one Nadia, a 25-year-old mother of one, lost her eye when a drunk woman threw a pint glass at her.

The solution to this problem, Monaghan notes, is education. “Women should be made to realise that there are other ways to relax. At the students level, we did a safety campaign last week which focused on drink spiking and related issues. In terms of drinking less, we have a health campaign next February, which will focus on alcohol and smoking,” she states. 

Links:<a href= “http://news.independent.co.uk/uk/health_medical/article191905.ece”><a href= “http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/magazine/6213686.stm”><a href= “http://business.guardian.co.uk/0,329644238-108725,00.html”><a href= “http://www.welsh-whisky.co.uk”><a href= “http://www.womensaid.org.uk”>

For details of interview with Kate Monaghan, see here.

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