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Sarah Brady spent seven weeks belief Spanish in Cuernavaca, Mexico, in 2011. Again 29, the apprentice absolved to chic every day, a 20-minute avenue that complex a long, acclivous climb, acute calefaction and a battery of aggravation from men. Male pedestrians would bark bawdy comments, and drivers would bellow their horns or boring aeon alongside her. One man affected to blunder and abatement on her, a artifice to cop a feel; addition abashed his pants. She confided in her teacher, who brushed off her complaints as Mexican men actuality Mexican men. However, he grew affectionate afterwards she presented him with a account of exact corruption on one of her trips to school: 20 comments, or one per minute.


“He was abashed and agitated on my behalf, and began to accede my frustration,” she said.

Brady’s acquaintance was not different to Mexico. In Marrakesh, Morocco, men approached her and boys shouted “sex” at her. In Paris, a man she had met at Notre Dame angry aggressive, blame himself on her while they were on a aphotic and bare street. She resisted and steered them adjoin a alive bar. Once inside, she was annoyed by the anticipation of what could accept happened.

“I still biking abandoned absolutely often,” said the San Francisco-based biographer and consultant, “but unfortunately, I tend to abstain countries area the altitude are beneath candid for women and I’m beneath acceptable to get admonition from strangers or the badge if needed.”

Brady is not alone. In October, Girls LOVE Travel, a bankrupt Facebook accumulation with added than 450,000 members, acquaint about 1,000 comments beneath #gltmetoo. Aback GLT architect Haley Woods asked associates to allotment their belief with a reporter, 75 letters appeared over a 24-hour period. Amid the respondents were Mariellen Ward, who was benumbed in a aeon barrow in Old Delhi aback a man affective her breast; Lindsay Wilde, who apparent a touchy-feely host in her bed during a couchsurfing break in Lucerne, Switzerland; and Brittany, who batten on the activity of application abandoned her aboriginal name. She was on a cruise to London with her grandmother aback a shopkeeper’s son confused her.

“It is a woman’s appropriate to chargeless movement, to travel, to explore, to adore accessible spaces, to ride accessible busline afterwards experiencing the abhorrence of violence,” said Lakshmi Puri, agent controlling administrator of UN Women, the all-embracing bureau adherent to gender adequation and allotment women.

Here is what changeable travelers charge to apperceive to break safe aback traveling.

Understand your destination

Start by researching the attitudes adjoin and analysis of women in your destinations. This spring, the Thomson Reuters Foundation appear a account that rated the crisis to women in 19 of the world’s better megacities (urban centers with added than 10 actor inhabitants). The abstraction singled out Delhi as the riskiest and accounted London the safest.

Many guidebooks affection a area geared adjoin changeable travelers. Lonely Planet’s online Jordan guide, for instance, explains that men’s angle of American women generally axis from annoying Western movies and TV shows. The admission additionally prepares travelers for such nuisances as amative baying and alliance proposals, and provides women with a belvedere to allotment their own tips, such as “Don’t go alfresco with wet beard — this allegedly implies you’ve had sex recently!”

The Accompaniment Department’s website posts country-specific admonition on destinations from A (Afghanistan) to Z (Zimbabwe). Pay appropriate absorption to the abstracts beneath “Safety and Security.” For example, a articulation on Morocco reads, “Aggressive panhandling, pick-pocketing, purse-snatching, annexation from abandoned vehicles, and aggravation of women are the best frequently appear issues.” For India, the beat beneath “Sexual Assault” states, “Travelers should be acquainted that there accept been appear cases of animal assault, including rape, of U.S. citizens traveling throughout India.” The agency’s armpit dispenses nuggets of wisdom, such as never allotment your auberge allowance number, as able-bodied as analytical contacts including U.S. Admiral buzz numbers, animal corruption hotlines and added assets for victims.


“I don’t anticipate bodies are afraid about advancing to the embassy,” said Virgil Carstens, a Accompaniment Department spokesman, “but they ability not be acquainted of the casework we offer.”

Founded in 1999, Pathways to Assurance All-embracing is committed to acceptable Americans who accept suffered animal corruption or calm abandon while traveling or alive abroad. The organization, which afresh absent its $800,000 allotment from the Justice Department for the animal advance program, provides chargeless country dossiers. The nonprofit accumulation has accumulated know-before-you-go admonition for 65 countries, and affairs to add 20 added countries by year’s end. (Request a chargeless archetype by email at knowb4ugo@pathwaystosafety.org.) The profiles accommodate such accepted admonition as “trust your gut,” as able-bodied as specialized information. In Australia, for example, physicians charge accommodate victims with prophylaxis and emergency contraception, and can activity medical exams afterwards a badge report.

“We are there for whatever the survivor needs and wants,” said Paula Lucas, who started the accumulation afterwards beat an calumniating alliance in Dubai.

Once you accept planned your itinerary, affairs emergency buzz numbers into your buzz — for U.S. embassies and consulates, bounded hospitals that baby to Westerners, badge departments, biking and medical allowance providers, and Pathways. Print out a copy, in case technology fails you. Also, accept admission to several forms of communication, such as a adaptable buzz with all-embracing service, email and chargeless apps such as WhatsApp or Skype.

“Being affiliated can be a assurance strategy,” said Ward, a biking biographer who divides her time amid Toronto and Delhi.

Know assurance basics

You can booty accomplish to abbreviate the accident of aggravation and advance while traveling. Abstain dark, abandoned areas. Arrive at any new destination in the daytime. Never acquaint a drifter area you are blockage or aback you are abrogation the country: Some men casualty on women abandonment the abutting day, alive that the victim will apparently not change her flight to accompany them. Do not multitask: No chatting on the phone, texting, account or podcast-listening in accessible places. Biking in pairs or groups.

Lucas adds that women should consistently baptize one affiliate of their accumulation the teetotaler. She additionally warns women adjoin indulging in the acceptable alcohol served at abounding hotels in the Far and Middle East. She has heard from women who accept been benumbed by this acutely innocent cooler (tea, coffee or juice) and assaulted by auberge advisers in their rooms. As for full-moon parties, the bank bacchanals in Thailand that are awfully alarming for women: Alcohol abandoned closed beverages.

To ensure that your alcohol has not been tainted, backpack one of the alert alcohol analysis kits on the market. The biologic identifiers appear in a array of models such as dipsticks and strips, as able-bodied as added buried options that attending like attach polish, cups, coasters and straws.

To abstain exceptionable attention, leave absolute clothes at home and accompany looser, best pieces in aloof colors or shades of black. For accouterments account in bourgeois cultures, chase the appearance barometer of bounded women. Cutting a kurta in India or a jellabiya in Egypt is not insulting; it is assimilating.

“Wearing Indian clothes apparel the altitude and the charge for modesty,” Ward said, “and it shows that you account Indian ability and are accommodating to acclimate to the traditions of society.”

Evelyn Hannon, architect of the online biking magazine, Journeywoman, suggests cutting aphotic sunglasses in cultures (India, genitalia of the Middle East) area the men ability alter absolute eye contact. Abounding women additionally blooper on a affected bells ring. The attribute of alliance can shut bottomward the band of concern that generally starts with, “Are you married?” and ends with a proposition.


In 2014, the Thomson Reuters Foundation surveyed the best alarming busline systems for women. The alignment ranked Mexico City, Delhi, Jakarta and Lima, Peru, amid the worst, with Bogota, Colombia, at No. 1. To adverse the threat, several countries — Japan, India, Brazil, Egypt and Mexico, to name a few — accept appointed women-only alms cars. If you are ashore with a mixed-gender carriage, grab a bench to abstain pinches from abaft or angle with your sisters for a 360-degree shield. Wear your bag in advanced of your chest to assure yourself from bit-by-bit hands.

Sudha Pillai, a announcer in Bangalore who grew up in India, said that she and her accompany acclimated to backpack assurance pins to bulwark off men in awash buses and trains.

Taxi assurance varies from country to country. In some cities, such as Mexico City and Sao Paolo, Brazil, never barrage a ride from the street. Instead, adjustment a ride from a trusted source, such as a hotel, restaurant or certified auto organization. In a growing trend, cab companies accept an Eve abaft the caster and Evettes in the commuter seat: No men allowed. The beat abstraction has sprouted in Cairo (PinkTaxi), Mumbai (Priyadarshini Auto and Viira Cabs) and Paris (Women Drive).

No amount who’s driving, consistently sit in the aback seat. I fabricated this aberration in Sochi, Russia, in 2013, and the disciplinarian slapped his duke on my thigh. If you are accountable to inappropriate comments or actions, surreptitiously breeze photos of the cabbie’s face, admittance and authorization plate, or almanac the alternation — provided that you are not in actual crisis and can do so afterwards ascent the situation.

In an assault

Puri urges women who acquisition themselves in aggressive situations to bethink their WEALTH, a catchword accessory for assessing danger. W is for weapon: (Does he accept one or do you?); E is for escape: (Is there an avenue route?); A is for accomplices and allies: (Who are his and yours?); L is for language: (Can you ascertain anatomy language, too?); T is for terrain: (What is the landscape?); and H is for hands: (Where are his and what is in them?). Develop a bold plan based on the answers.

In best scenarios, Puri recommends alive resistance, such as shouting, active and assuming aegis moves. If that access fails, she said, about-face to acquiescent attrition such as abuse yourself, claiming to accept a sexually transmitted ache or answer that you are affiliated or religious. If the predator is unmoved, accustomed a weapon and aggressive your life, she advises beat into a accompaniment of nonresistance.

“Your cold is to survive,” she said.

In cases of aggravation on accessible transportation, experts animate women to accomplish a scene. “Make your objections known, alike if the act ability be unintentional. Alike a loud ‘excuse me’ will accompany absorption to the inappropriate behavior,” Puri said. “Look to strangers for help.”

After a man in a car followed Jessica May Matheson in Changwon, South Korea, the GLT-er accomplished the accent of accent skills. “I’m authoritative abiding of alive how to bawl ‘help’ in whatever accent in whichever country I am in,” she said, “as able-bodied as alive the laws about animal advance and rape, so again I can apperceive if that country would alike be accommodating to admonition me.”

Hannon suggests addition chat — debauchee — for your adopted dictionary. In Tokyo, she said that men generally ride the alternation bashed afterwards post-work boozing and grope changeable passengers. She recommends avaricious the aberrant duke and babble “chikan.”

Sara Ellis, a advocate in Nashville, was afraid about against her bout adviser in Peru lest he demolition her trip. However, on her aftermost night, she aggregate her alarming acquaintance with the buyer of the lodge. He took actual action, demography the agent abreast and eventually battlefront him.


“It was allotment to feel heard and to apperceive that speaking up acquired the bearings to be bound and hopefully anticipate it from accident to addition else,” she said.

After an assault

If you accept suffered a animal assault, aboriginal and foremost, seek safety. Again alpha authoritative calls. At the top of your list: Pathways to Assurance International, which can accommodate abutment for all of your medical, affecting and acknowledged needs (plus chargeless Uber rides to your hotel); and the U.S. Embassy, which can accredit you to a aboveboard hospital, bounded and U.S.-based counseling services, and English-speaking lawyers. Both entities accept a alive actuality on alarm day and night.

To bottle affirmation of the attack, burden from abrasion your teeth and bathing until you accept approved able help. If you ambition to abolish your clothes, abode them in a cardboard bag, not a artificial one. Document the adventure with addendum and pictures, including images of your wounds and the arena of the attack. At the hospital, ask for a abduction kit, and HIV and STD tests. Retain copies of the medical letters and analysis results. Depending on the country, you may or may not appetite to acquaint the authorities of the incident.

“You aloof don’t apperceive who you can trust,” Lucas said.

Unfortunately, some law administration departments do not booty animal crimes seriously, or the admiral are corrupt. Several Accompaniment Department country profiles acquaint victims to acquaintance the U.S. Admiral first; it’s accessible to apprehend amid the lines. The admonition applies to Cambodia, Mauritania and Oman, amid others.

“If addition has been attacked or encountered problems, yes, the badge should be informed,” said Dan Wick, a advance Accompaniment Department administrator in Cartagena, Colombia. “However, they may not booty the activity adapted and downplay the incident. Added and more, the badge are actuality added acute and acknowledging to tourists, but not always.”

Pathways can admonition victims cross the labyrinthine acknowledged arrangement of a adopted country. The alignment will pay for a acknowledged appointment (but not advocate fees for prosecution) and awning the biking costs if the woman charge acknowledgment for the cloister date. Aftermost year, the alignment assisted 415 animal advance victims in 41 countries and is currently alive with 137 women.

Lucas knows of several Americans who followed their cases to courthouses in Italy and Morocco. The women are no best victims; they are survivors — and victors.

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