Recently I got real wound up reading a post by a solo woman traveller.
She wrote about a pervy older guy getting all up in her face, all aggressive and started following her from island to island, even staying at the same hostel, in the same dorm (!!!!!!!) as she was. The problem was that she was nice to him, answering questions he had no right to ask.
When people started pointing out her mistakes in the comments section, she got defensive. And she shared she’d been raped while travelling before and was scared if she told him to leave her alone he would get mad and rape her. sigh
First, major kudos to her for continuing to travelling after such a horrible incident! That folks, is true courage. But but but, not good if you don’t learn some street smarts to protect yourself from the scum of the earth.
Now NOT for a minute am I blaming the victim but there are ways to avoid most icky situations with the predators:
1. Sometimes it’s worth wearing a wedding band.
I know we shouldn’t have to but that alone can stop some things from even beginning.
2. Trust your gut.
How many times do we need to hear that before we get it. Politely but firmly shut him down. You don’t have to go all ape shit on his ass but you do need to communicate that you are not interested in further contact.
3. Your voice should always be strong and confident when dealing with strangers.
Bullies are attracted to soft, to them it means easy. If they push, push back with equal strength. But too strong and they think over-reaction = scared and some of them get a thrill out of that.
4. People can ask questions but you don’t have to answer them.
Do not answer questions like “Are you travelling alone?” “Where are you going?”
Are you kidding me? From reading her posts, I know she’s sweet and kind but that shit just doesn’t fly all the time. If you answer their questions, their little brains think you’re interested. A good way to deflect and get yourself away without confrontation is to whip out your phone and say, “Sorry i have to answer this” and walk away.
5. He asked her which island she was going to next.
She could have said she was meeting her boyfriend/husband on the next island. Or just say, “I am not comfortable telling you that.” and then walk away. Anything other than what she did say – the truth.
6. The guy told her she looked good in that bikini a few days ago!!!!!!!!!!
That would have been the moment to stare at him hard and then walk away. Don’t think for a minute you have to stand there and take that.
7. When you walk away, go talk to someone, a store clerk, a waitress or a fellow female traveller
Tell them what the guy said and indicate who he is. When the two of you both look at him, he’ll get the message. Not only are you not interested but now he has been called out to other people.
8. If he escalates things then freak the fuck out and start yelling to quit bothering you.
I know most women would rather get a zit than make a scene but doing it will get you allies and/or witnesses. Neither are good for Mr. Perv.
9. He got on the plane with her to the next island.
I would have got off. I bet if she had gone to the ticket office and explained what was going on they would have refunded her money. Either way, it wasn’t worth taking the risk.
10. When she checked into the hostel he followed her in.
She could have pulled the manager to one side and explained that the man was stalking her and could he recommend another place, or give her a room with a lock, at least. I just can’t believe she was prepared to sleep in the same room with the guy alone.
The key is to stop it, the sooner the better. The longer you allow it to continue, the harder it will be to end it.
I know it sucks we have to do these things but we need to protect ourselves as much as possible. I am not advocating that we wear a burka or a nun’s habit, no no no no. That isn’t going to stop shit cause it just turns some men on. I believe the only way we can protect ourselves is to be assertive and confident and get some skills in our arsenal.
Do you have tips I haven’t included?
Do you disagree with mine?