Touring the World, Whereas Wanting Over Her Shoulder


You’re studying In Her Phrases, the place ladies rule the headlines. Enroll right here to get it delivered to your inbox. Let me know what you suppose at dearmaya@nytimes.com.

“We inform ladies what to not do to keep away from being attacked as an alternative of telling males to not assault ladies.”

Jessica Nabongo, who hopes to develop into the primary black lady to go to each nation on the planet

Many years in the past, within the 1970s, Israel was grappling with a spate of violent rapes in opposition to ladies. Throughout a cupboard assembly, an answer was recommended: that ladies be positioned beneath a curfew till the attackers have been caught. Golda Meir, then the prime minister, wasn’t having it. Males are those at fault, she fired again. “If there may be to be a curfew, let the lads keep at dwelling, not the ladies.”

Meir’s phrases have been the primary to return to thoughts this week as I learn a brand new article — “Adventurous. Alone. Attacked.” — by my colleagues Megan Specia and Tariro Mzezewa. In it, they reported on the phenomenon of solo feminine vacationers, whose numbers have skyrocketed, however not with no darkish cloud of gender-based violence, a few of it lethal.

Information of ladies — typically younger, typically Western — being attacked overseas has raised laborious questions on how the world is greeting the shift. “There isn’t any clear world image of the dimensions of violence in opposition to feminine solo vacationers,” Specia and Mzezewa wrote.

[READ MORE: Safety Tips for the Solo Female Traveler]

As Jessica Nabongo, who hopes to develop into first black lady to go to each nation on the planet, put it: It’s nonetheless idealistic to suppose ladies can transfer by way of the world with the identical ease as males. “We inform ladies what to not do to keep away from being attacked as an alternative of telling males to not assault ladies,” she stated, echoing Meir.

Right here’s what three different ladies needed to say about their harrowing experiences with solo journey.

“They’ve a accountability to inform vacationers of all of the dangers.”

Laura Jaime’s finest buddy, Carla Stefaniak, was murdered in Costa Rica whereas visiting alone in November to have fun her 36th birthday. Jaime stated the native authorities ought to have achieved extra to publicize the dangers to ladies within the nation.

Stefaniak was the third overseas lady killed in Costa Rica in three months, and at the least 14 ladies have been killed in gender-based violence from January to August 2018. In September, the federal government had declared violence in opposition to ladies a nationwide drawback.

Jaime stated the attacker had underestimated the willpower of Stefaniak’s household, who not solely filed a lawsuit accusing Airbnb of negligence (Carla had rented by way of the service), however are additionally combating for justice in Costa Rica’s courts.

“The assault, the method, it broke me down. However I needed to discover power inside myself.”

Vasilisa Komarova was assaulted whereas tenting in Bolivia in 2017 and left for useless. She was in her mid-30s. The place, she had been advised, was secure.

She was met with indifference from the native authorities, however she refused to proceed her travels or return dwelling with out getting justice. With the assistance of the British Embassy, she was in a position to join with an advocate who helped her start the authorized struggle in opposition to her attackers.

A 12 months later, she watched because the three males have been sentenced to a mixed 42 years in jail.

“I don’t really feel defeated.”

Hannah Gavios, 26, was attacked whereas visiting Southeast Asia on her personal in 2016, inflicting her to tumble from a cliff and fracture her backbone. The person sexually assaulted her whereas she lay helpless for 11 hours.

She spent months hospitalized and needed to be taught to stroll once more. Her attacker was finally arrested and sentenced to 5 years in jail. Regardless of that horror, Gavios says she continues to maneuver ahead and journey alone and has since develop into a yoga teacher and realized Krav Maga, a self-defense system. Final fall, she accomplished the New York Metropolis Marathon on crutches.

She says she doesn’t need her ordeal to scare ladies from the wealthy expertise of touring solo. “Reasonably than horrifying individuals,” she stated, “I need individuals to enter it with somewhat extra bravery and somewhat extra information.”

Have you ever ever traveled alone on the planet? If that’s the case, how did your gender have an effect on your plans and your consolation stage? Let me know at dearmaya@nytimes.com.

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Bessie Stringfield, nicknamed the Bike Queen of Miami, was a dispatch rider for america Military within the 1940s — at a time when bike using was thought of “unladylike.”

At 16, Bessie acquired her first bike and rode throughout the nation, dazzling household and mates with tales of being chased off the highway within the Jim Crow South and carnival stunts on the Wall of Demise. Whereas different ladies have been relegated to home tasks, Bessie revved and roared by way of Florida’s palm-tree-lined streets on her Harley-Davidson.

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