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Finisterre safety awareness for lone women

AKJ

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJP to Santiago 2012
Burgos to Fisterra 2015
Planning SHP to Leon for early spring
I stayed for 3 nights at Finisterre after walking from Burgos. On the first day while walking to the lighthouse a man commented on how nice the view was. I agreed and continued walking. The next day the same man approached me on the beach with a shell which I accepted and thanked him for. The next day I was walking on the road to the lighthouse again but was planning to go up to the hermitage and approach the lighthouse from the other side. The man drove by and gestured me to get in. I declined politely. He drove off and I carried on. At the turn off for the hermitage I turned off. When I realised the path was drive able I began to worry. I was 3/4 the way up the path and decided to go back down. I carried on round the other side and saw the mans car parked off to the side. Luckily I noticed other walkers and caught up with them. I then went over the hill and began walking down to the lighthouse. The man drove past me slowing down and looked red in the face and flustered he asked if I had been to the top. I said yes and carried on walking he drove off at this point there were lots of people in sight. I mention this story because it is the only time I felt scared when on the camino. I believe I avoided an incident with this man. I listened to my gut instinct. What was different was that he didn't introduce himself but kept turning up. It wasn't a normal camino interaction. If the other two walkers had not been ahead of me when I saw his car I am not sure what I would have done I had an urge to run back to the road and felt very vulnerable. Single women please trust your instincts. AK
 

mountaingoat999

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
we are due out Jan 2016
I stayed for 3 nights at Finisterre after walking from Burgos. On the first day while walking to the lighthouse a man commented on how nice the view was. I agreed and continued walking. The next day the same man approached me on the beach with a shell which I accepted and thanked him for. The next day I was walking on the road to the lighthouse again but was planning to go up to the hermitage and approach the lighthouse from the other side. The man drove by and gestured me to get in. I declined politely. He drove off and I carried on. At the turn off for the hermitage I turned off. When I realised the path was drive able I began to worry. I was 3/4 the way up the path and decided to go back down. I carried on round the other side and saw the mans car parked off to the side. Luckily I noticed other walkers and caught up with them. I then went over the hill and began walking down to the lighthouse. The man drove past me slowing down and looked red in the face and flustered he asked if I had been to the top. I said yes and carried on walking he drove off at this point there were lots of people in sight. I mention this story because it is the only time I felt scared when on the camino. I believe I avoided an incident with this man. I listened to my gut instinct. What was different was that he didn't introduce himself but kept turning up. It wasn't a normal camino interaction. If the other two walkers had not been ahead of me when I saw his car I am not sure what I would have done I had an urge to run back to the road and felt very vulnerable. Single women please trust your instincts. AK
AKJ

Oh Dear......... as in serious
call the police ......take photo of car if your still in the area

I for one believe everything you have said.....you did good dealing with this... needs reporting .
could be a good idea to talk about this again with someone if its effecting you now or if its effecting you later on

Take care
 
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GettingThere

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Roncesvalles-SdC Apr-Jun 2015
Roncesvalles-Sarria Sep-Oct 2017
C. Frances sections Apr-Jun 2019
I stayed for 3 nights at Finisterre after walking from Burgos. On the first day while walking to the lighthouse a man commented on how nice the view was. I agreed and continued walking. The next day the same man approached me on the beach with a shell which I accepted and thanked him for. The next day I was walking on the road to the lighthouse again but was planning to go up to the hermitage and approach the lighthouse from the other side. The man drove by and gestured me to get in. I declined politely. He drove off and I carried on. At the turn off for the hermitage I turned off. When I realised the path was drive able I began to worry. I was 3/4 the way up the path and decided to go back down. I carried on round the other side and saw the mans car parked off to the side. Luckily I noticed other walkers and caught up with them. I then went over the hill and began walking down to the lighthouse. The man drove past me slowing down and looked red in the face and flustered he asked if I had been to the top. I said yes and carried on walking he drove off at this point there were lots of people in sight. I mention this story because it is the only time I felt scared when on the camino. I believe I avoided an incident with this man. I listened to my gut instinct. What was different was that he didn't introduce himself but kept turning up. It wasn't a normal camino interaction. If the other two walkers had not been ahead of me when I saw his car I am not sure what I would have done I had an urge to run back to the road and felt very vulnerable. Single women please trust your instincts. AK
Thank you for posting this, @AKJ. A very worrying experience for you, which you handled in absolutely the right way. I can only echo @mountaingoat999 and urge you to report this to the local police if you have not already done so. The Spanish police want pilgrims to report this kind of incident, and this guy has quite likely done similar before (or will again) - in fact he may already be known to the local police, in which case your report will be very helpful. Alternatively there is the "Alert Cops" app recently launched by the Spanish government and discussed on the forum in this thread: https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/alert-cops.36208/.

Best wishes for a safe journey home.
 

dougfitz

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2014, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011, 2019. CP (tbc)
@mountaingoat999 and @GettingThere, I am puzzled about what you think there is to report to the police. @AKJ seems quite sensibly to have ensured she has not placed herself in circumstances where she might have felt she was not able to control the situation.

Her view that she has avoided an incident is speculation, and fortunately does not have to, and cannot now, be tested. According to @AKJ, on none of the occasions they spoke did he persist and maintain an unwanted conversation. She doesn't report being followed after any of these incidents by him, which in a place like Finisterre could well be coincidental as people visiting the town will generally be interested in seeing and doing the same things.

My own experience there was that I saw the same people several times over the couple of days I was there. I don't think that would be unusual, and certainly not sinister. Unless this person did something @AKJ has not revealed, I don't see what there is to report other than she took sensible precautions to ensure her safety when she didn't feel comfortable.
 

GettingThere

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Roncesvalles-SdC Apr-Jun 2015
Roncesvalles-Sarria Sep-Oct 2017
C. Frances sections Apr-Jun 2019
@mountaingoat999 and @GettingThere, I am puzzled about what you think there is to report to the police. @AKJ seems quite sensibly to have ensured she has not placed herself in circumstances where she might have felt she was not able to control the situation.

Her view that she has avoided an incident is speculation, and fortunately does not have to, and cannot now, be tested. According to @AKJ, on none of the occasions they spoke did he persist and maintain an unwanted conversation. She doesn't report being followed after any of these incidents by him, which in a place like Finisterre could well be coincidental as people visiting the town will generally be interested in seeing and doing the same things.

My own experience there was that I saw the same people several times over the couple of days I was there. I don't think that would be unusual, and certainly not sinister. Unless this person did something @AKJ has not revealed, I don't see what there is to report other than she took sensible precautions to ensure her safety when she didn't feel comfortable.
Hmmm. Well, OK. I think perhaps we'll just have to agree to disagree on this :), as I certainly don't want to get into an argument about what should or should not be reported to the police. As a woman who has done a lot of solo travel, I've learned to listen to and trust my instincts. The incidents described by @AKJ individually would be of no concern. Put together, involving the same man on consecutive days, I would have been more than worried. I would not have considered them coincidences. Yes, taking sensible precautions is good, and as you say, she did that. And from all the comments on this forum over the past months I have gathered that the police in Spain do want people to report incidents that make them concerned for their safety (when they don't "feel comfortable", as you put it). What the police do with those reports is up to them, but a few similar reports from different people might be of concern, and the only way such patterns can be spotted is if people - perhaps erring on the side of over-caution - report the incidents. As for speculation - well yes, that's certainly one word for it. This is generally what women mean when they talk about "trusting your instincts" - it's to speculate, then act, and so (hopefully) avoid anything which might become more concrete than speculation.

But as I say, this is all a matter of perspective and opinion, and the above is just mine.
 

mountaingoat999

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
we are due out Jan 2016
Hi Getting there

Quoting your post "But as I say, this is all a matter of perspective and opinion, and the above is just mine."
Also mine ?
 
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JillGat

la tierra encantada
Camino(s) past & future
C. Frances SJPP - Finisterre - Muxia (May 2016)
C. Frances (Sept 2017)
Camino Portugues (June 2019)
I agree with Doug that there isn't much the police might have done. However, Doug, with all due respect, your analysis of this situation and your experience - as a male - is not that helpful. The important part of her advice was to trust your gut. It is very difficult for a male to put himself in the shoes of a woman in this scenario.
Been there,
Jill

@mountaingoat999 and @GettingThere, I am puzzled about what you think there is to report to the police. @AKJ seems quite sensibly to have ensured she has not placed herself in circumstances where she might have felt she was not able to control the situation.

Her view that she has avoided an incident is speculation, and fortunately does not have to, and cannot now, be tested. According to @AKJ, on none of the occasions they spoke did he persist and maintain an unwanted conversation. She doesn't report being followed after any of these incidents by him, which in a place like Finisterre could well be coincidental as people visiting the town will generally be interested in seeing and doing the same things.

My own experience there was that I saw the same people several times over the couple of days I was there. I don't think that would be unusual, and certainly not sinister. Unless this person did something @AKJ has not revealed, I don't see what there is to report other than she took sensible precautions to ensure her safety when she didn't feel comfortable.
 

MichaelSG

Retired member
Camino(s) past & future
Not enough
I agree with Doug that there isn't much the police might have done.
They might have not been able to do anything based on the one report but I bet if they got two or three similar reports, they would certainly at least go find the individual and talk to him. They will need each person to report the incidents though. Police will know how to deal with the reports.
 
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gerardcarey

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CFx2, CPx1
They might have not been able to done anything based on the one report
I would have thought that if the Police had been advised, they would have been able to tell him his behaviour, even if innocent, was unacceptable in that it caused distress.
In addition, if indeed his actions were questionable, he would be aware the police had their eye on him.
IMO always tell the coppers.
Regds
Gerard
 
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wayfarer

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP-Santiago-Finistera-Muxia. April/May 2012
Sarria-Santiago Sept. 2013
SJPP - Almost Orrison April 2014
Always listen to your instincts, they are hardwired into our DNA since the dawn of man, this is what helps us to survive. Your instincts will have made decisions on a situation even before you are consciously aware of danger, its up to you to listen to it and react accordingly.
And report, report, report.
 

SeaHorse

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015 (SJPDP-Finisterre), planning Norte
@mountaingoat999 and @GettingThere, I am puzzled about what you think there is to report to the police. @AKJ seems quite sensibly to have ensured she has not placed herself in circumstances where she might have felt she was not able to control the situation.

Her view that she has avoided an incident is speculation, and fortunately does not have to, and cannot now, be tested. According to @AKJ, on none of the occasions they spoke did he persist and maintain an unwanted conversation. She doesn't report being followed after any of these incidents by him, which in a place like Finisterre could well be coincidental as people visiting the town will generally be interested in seeing and doing the same things.

My own experience there was that I saw the same people several times over the couple of days I was there. I don't think that would be unusual, and certainly not sinister. Unless this person did something @AKJ has not revealed, I don't see what there is to report other than she took sensible precautions to ensure her safety when she didn't feel comfortable.
Sorry, Doug, but you are not a female, you are not in danger of being raped in broad daylight, you don't have those gut instincts that have saved many of us.
I'm sure this was no pilgrim: how many of us do have our cars handy at Finisterre? Local creep. And sure the police needs to know whats going on, he may follow without worse consequences one girl (who, note, was smart enough to get "safety in numbers") and he may be really dangerous if there is no one around. BTW the police calls this "grooming" in a bad way. Making the victim used to the presence. If he wanted just get acquainted with a nice girl, there was no need to follow up to the hill by roundabout. That IS creepy.
 
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CaminoDebrita

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances SJPP to SdC Oct/Nov 2015
Frances Burgos toSdC March/April 2016
W. Highland Way August 2016
Camino Somewhere September 2017
Side comment, one thing I discovered whilst living overseas was that the taxi drivers never, ever took no for an answer. Sometimes this would pay off! They would follow me unrelentingly, and ask me, "tired yet?" "taxi?" or just try to be "friends" so they could get my taxi fare later!

I would not--as a woman--appreciate any of the above, so usually became very gruff and picked up the pace.

@AKJ , thank you for sharing your intuition with the exchange you had. It reminds women on the forum to be safe, and trust intuition with exchanges.
 

MTtoCamino

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Francis SJPdP to Finnestere April(2014)
The Korean females would observe behavior of men the entire walk if they for some reason we're separated from there " family" they would stay close to men they felt were "safe" until catching up to their camino family. Seemed to work very well but if you are chosen as the guardian, like many cultures you meet along the way language may be limited to pointing. Simply respect them for finding a way to stay safe.
 

dougfitz

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2014, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011, 2019. CP (tbc)
Sorry, Doug, but you are not a female, you are not in danger of being raped in broad daylight, you don't have those gut instincts that have saved many of us.
I'm sure this was no pilgrim: how many of us do have our cars handy at Finisterre? Local creep. And sure the police needs to know whats going on, he may follow without worse consequences one girl (who, note, was smart enough to get "safety in numbers") and he may be really dangerous if there is no one around. BTW the police calls this "grooming" in a bad way. Making the victim used to the presence. If he wanted just get acquainted with a nice girl, there was no need to follow up to the hill by roundabout. That IS creepy.
Really. Only because you have re-written the narrative to make it so.

Let me make three points.

First, let me repeat what I have already said, and that is what @AKJ did appears sensible. As is posting a reminder to others not to put themselves into circumstances where they might feel unsafe. In my view she did not need to speculate on whether or not she avoided some undesirable outcome. It is sufficient that she felt uncomfortable in the circumstances, and took action to put herself in the company of others. I don't think it is ever acceptable to expect a person to justify why they might have felt unsafe in completely rational terms. Whether you call it intuition, a gut feeling or something else that defies rational explanation, it really doesn't matter. If it is there, act on it.

Second, the original narrative offers no support to the suggestion that this is a serious incident nor the characterisation of this man as a 'local creep' or that his behaviour was in any way unacceptable, even if @AKJ speculated that it might have become so. It needs a very imanginative re-rendering of that narrative to support those conclusions. I know that when I was at Finisterre, there were people there with cars who I had walked with. I presumed at the time they had been met at Finisterre by family or friends, but there are any number of other plausible explanations. @AKJ does not report that in any of the encounters was the conversation pursued in other than a polite manner, and in the last encounter she went to the place after this man had arrived there. None of this suggests that this man did anything but respond in a reasonable and civilised way to someone he had met by chance.

Third, let me reject the suggestion that only women have the gut instincts that protect them from dangerous situations. Engaging in this form of special pleading carries with it the suggestion that men are not qualified to have a view on these matters. I don't think so!
 

JillGat

la tierra encantada
Camino(s) past & future
C. Frances SJPP - Finisterre - Muxia (May 2016)
C. Frances (Sept 2017)
Camino Portugues (June 2019)
Third, let me reject the suggestion that only women have the gut instincts that protect them from dangerous situations. Engaging in this form of special pleading carries with it the suggestion that men are not qualified to have a view on these matters. I don't think so!
NOBODY suggested that only women have gut instincts to protect them in dangerous situations. The suggestion was that a man cannot, by hearing a "narrative", understand or have true empathy for what women experience commonly throughout their lives, feeling unsafe because of unwanted attention by males - especially those we don't know. Some of that attention may be harmless, but sometimes it is not. It is always worrisome when you politely tell or show a man that you are not interested and you feel that you are still being followed. Unless you've been there, you don't know what it's like.
I am gratified that some men here understand that and don't feel intimidated or defensive by this scenario. These men are our
comrades and we appreciate them!

Sure, men can be victims as well. But come on, look at the statistics. Welcome to the real world. Give me a break. Back in my early 20s, when I traveled around Spain, daily I was catcalled, followed and often even physically groped by strange men. I often felt I had to watch my back and hide from predators. Some men cluelessly thought that I should be flattered by this attention. The word "No" meant nothing to them. What man here has ever experienced this??

I realize that I am not qualified to second-guess or "have a view on" what it's like to be a male or to be a non-white person who faces discrimination in a mainly white population. Trying to maintain or pretend that one does just proves how clueless and insensitive one is.

Again, I want to thank all the men here who are sensitive, observant and SECURE in themselves enough to listen, understand, and support the women here who only want the right to travel the Camino independently in peace.

Jill
 
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JillGat

la tierra encantada
Camino(s) past & future
C. Frances SJPP - Finisterre - Muxia (May 2016)
C. Frances (Sept 2017)
Camino Portugues (June 2019)
Sexual assault can happen to anyone, no matter your age, your sexual orientation, or your gender identity. Men and boys who have been sexually assaulted or abused may have many of the same feelings and reactions as other survivors of sexual assault, but they may also face some additional challenges because of social attitudes and stereotypes about men and masculinity. The 2014 U.S. National Crime Victimization Survey found that 38 percent of incidents of rape and other sexual violence were against men. It's not just a female concern.
Rob, I hope by this you mean that you *GET* why she was uncomfortable when she felt like she was being stalked by the guy. I am hoping your message is that, since you have ALSO felt the SAME KIND of wariness from getting unwanted attention and being followed by a stranger, that you empathize with what the original poster was saying and support her advice for others to trust their gut.
 
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wayfarer

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP-Santiago-Finistera-Muxia. April/May 2012
Sarria-Santiago Sept. 2013
SJPP - Almost Orrison April 2014
Could members please read the rules before posting especialy Rule #1, ie no personal attacks. This is a forum and members will have many opinions, some differing from yours, debate your point but do not attack another member. Please also have respect for the late Denice Thiem and do not use her death as something with which to attack another member, two references to her have already been removed from this thread, any more will not be tolerated.
 

April Trekker

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Sarria--Santiago de Compostela 39 May-3 June 2012;
Camino Frances St Jean Pied de Port--Santiago de Compostela 2 April-6 May 2013
I wonder if the person AKJ is writing about is the same one I encountered in Finisterre. In 2012, when my friend (also female) and I were about to walk back to the town center, a guy asked us if we’d been to the top of the hill. He said it would be a pity if we missed the beautiful view that could be seen from there. He offered to take us in his car. I wasn’t so keen on being in a stranger’s car, but my friend wanted to see the view, so I went along. When we reached the top, the guy gave us some interesting info about the town (he said he’s from Finisterre) and the Cape. After staying about half an hour there (I became less nervous when other pilgrims arrived), he offered to give us a ride back to the town center. When we reached our destination, we thanked him for his kindness, shook his hand and said goodbye. After he’d driven away, I wondered if he did that (offering to transport people and to show them the sights) as a hobby - or as a source of income; if the latter, I regretted not offering to pay for the service.

In 2013, I returned to Finisterre with a different friend. While we and other pilgrims were on the highway, walking back to town, a car slowed down, and the driver asked me if I wanted a ride. I said No, thanks. Then, when the car was speeding away, I suddenly realized it was the guy I’d met in 2012. I regretted not saying a friendly hello and taking the chance to pay him.

Well, now I don’t know what to do next time I see him. But I truly hope he’s one of the good guys.
 

mountaingoat999

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
we are due out Jan 2016
The Korean females would observe behavior of men the entire walk if they for some reason we're separated from there " family" they would stay close to men they felt were "safe" until catching up to their camino family. Seemed to work very well but if you are chosen as the guardian, like many cultures you meet along the way language may be limited to pointing. Simply respect them for finding a way to stay safe.
MTtoCamino

I found this to be the case....once the whole town(not fisterra) was full except one twin room so a 19yr old Korean girl shared a twin room with me.she however spoke perfect English...

I have seen locals stop in remote places and offer a small religious token and a sweet to me and the others(for free) .also a female do this with a tiny religious token passing the outskirts of the Santiago runway in the tree line......

as @April Trekker post announces in her post there are times when it is what it is and nothing more....yet in AKJ OP I would be highly suspicious ...safety first .
 

mountaingoat999

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
we are due out Jan 2016
NOBODY suggested that only women have gut instincts to protect them in dangerous situations. The suggestion was that a man cannot, by hearing a "narrative", understand or have true empathy for what women experience commonly throughout their lives, feeling unsafe because of unwanted attention by males - especially those we don't know. Some of that attention may be harmless, but sometimes it is not. It is always worrisome when you politely tell or show a man that you are not interested and you feel that you are still being followed. Unless you've been there, you don't know what it's like.
I am gratified that some men here understand that and don't feel intimidated or defensive by this scenario. These men are our
comrades and we appreciate them!

Sure, men can be victims as well. But come on, look at the statistics. Welcome to the real world. Give me a break. Back in my early 20s, when I traveled around Spain, daily I was catcalled, followed and often even physically groped by strange men. I often felt I had to watch my back and hide from predators. Some men cluelessly thought that I should be flattered by this attention. The word "No" meant nothing to them. What man here has ever experienced this??

I realize that I am not qualified to second-guess or "have a view on" what it's like to be a male or to be a non-white person who faces discrimination in a mainly white population. Trying to maintain or pretend that one does just proves how clueless and insensitive one is.

Again, I want to thank all the men here who are sensitive, observant and SECURE in themselves enough to listen, understand, and support the women here who only want the right to travel the Camino independently in peace.

Jill
Jill
I actually had a stalker from catalan on one camino...and a couple of times when I was listening to someone they had another agenda on there mind..in a aggressive way...

your be nicely surprised how modern day man can have empathy through awareness there is now..of course male and female can process thoughts and feeling in some situation in other ways.....fear is fear and it feels the same when you feeling it

when I was reading the OP post first time around I was alarmed and sensed danger..and still feel the same way...

not just Spanish men who used to behave this way in times past..many men from most countries used to behave this way..and it unacceptable and becoming less and less.. the situation on the whole camino is our collective responsibility to support each other......for the common good....we all need to be aware and look out for each other...
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
I have had a fair number of Camino experiences involving creepy men and have learned to be much more assertive and in control than I was at the beginning. Going way back to my first or second camino, I remember an old man who was kissing and fondling women on the Frances. "Harmless old guy" is how he was described, but even even "harmless old guys" can create some really yucky experiences. Some of the Europeans (men and women) I walked with that year told me they thought American women tended to be the ones least willing to assert themselves and risk "being rude" to this guy. I don't know if that societal generalization is accurate or not, but I know it hit home with me and it made a huge change in my behavior. When my gut now tells me something is fishy, I act before it gets worse, something I wouldn't have done in my early days of not wanting to appear "being rude." It was a great lesson for me.

Whether or not what the OP experienced should be reported to the police is a different question. I am all in favor of reporting things to the police. I have often gotten on my soap box on the forum and begged women who have things happen to them on the Camino to report them, because so often they do not. But at the same time I know that the police need something more to go on than my gut instinct before they can question someone. In this case, and in the current climate, my guess is that the OP's report would have led to police questioning if they saw this guy. If he is harmless and just being friendly, a good talking to by the police might let him see that this kind of behavior is just not appropriate and can lead to a lot of duress for the woman he approaches.

I think the very valuable take-away here is that we need to have our antennas working and respond in a proactive way before things happen. I am one who continues to feel comfortable walking alone and hope to have many more years of it in my future.
 

JillGat

la tierra encantada
Camino(s) past & future
C. Frances SJPP - Finisterre - Muxia (May 2016)
C. Frances (Sept 2017)
Camino Portugues (June 2019)
We have to be careful when we feel vulnerable. Sometimes that means being assertive and sometimes that means seeking safety. Sadly, men who are the good guys - rather than being offended or defensive - will be understanding about this and not take it personally.
 

CaminoDebrita

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances SJPP to SdC Oct/Nov 2015
Frances Burgos toSdC March/April 2016
W. Highland Way August 2016
Camino Somewhere September 2017
When I was fairly new to this forum--not absolutely new, mind you--we had a rather odd discussion about women's safety on this forum. At that time, a pilgrim had recently gone missing. What was odd was that discussing our safety--by "our" I mean "women"--became taboo. At least one discussion was "locked" . Peruse the "Crime" section: masturbators, flashers, gropers are nothing new. The Camino is not Disneyland, nor is it Eden. I never expected it was either.

Anyway, some women on the forum rallied behind a really proactive member by the name of Camino4me. She is no longer on this forum. In fact, she is no longer on this forum because she was argued with--and might I say "molested" (bothered, in the Spanish sense)---by many forum members, both male and female. It was a very difficult time on the forum, but it was a time of growth.

Back to Camino4me, she even received at least one scathing private message in her inbox. Yes, I was listening to her. An Asian-American woman herself, she was aghast at the dearth of concern by many forum members. Recently, I read through her research, and it tallies numbers of women being groped, flashed, and raped while on pilgrimage in Spain. She did not tally the men who were groped, flashed, etc. Perhaps that is someone else's project.

Sorry, people. You do have to keep your street smarts on when traveling, but you knew that.

Her efforts to compile real, factual data and to attempt to present the information in a factual, calm way in order to inform women of the facts was not accepted well, and she, along with other unhappy forum women, left. Around that time, some of us proposed that we needed some women on staff, and fortunately, that came to be.

Recently, I had a long conversation with her about that time, which I think was landmark in the forum's growth as a forum that accepts and values women.

We, as a forum community, more readily listen to each other.

Women's voices are more prevalent, and we [even] have two women on the staff. This has lent more balance, and lately, Peregrina2000 has steered us through several landmines, so to speak. Thank you for that.

There is no need to argue against feelings--men's or women's--when they encounter the creepers, or when they feel unsafe. It is what it is. If you don't want to read others' concerns or questions, just walk on by and go for one of the technical threads. There is room in this forum for all voices [I am editing this section to note that Peregrina2000's words are echoed here, and I want to credit her for that]. [second edit corrected misspelling of 'dearth'].
 
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Gailsie

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances Fall '09 ;
Thank you CaminoDebrita for your posting. So well said about a very difficult time on this forum. There have been many of us on this forum who have been censored by well meaning forum members for what we have posted. I only recently checked back into the forum to find out that Denise's body had been found. I will be opting back out in another week or two as this forum no longer suits my needs.
 

MTtoCamino

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Francis SJPdP to Finnestere April(2014)
I worked in law enforcement after my military retirement. 2 things that were said on this topic really stand out. People not listening to what is being said & folks being afraid to be up front with challenging behavior.
Under stress people react from life experience, but with most agressive people they have learned they can get the innocent to react in a way that they have temporary control. Think about that. They only have that control until you react loudly & with confidence. Then remove yourself quickly from the situation.
In working in high stress jobs A person thinks constantly about what if a person does this or that, get some general reactions in your mind so you have some type of reaction rather than being completly suprised.
 

JillGat

la tierra encantada
Camino(s) past & future
C. Frances SJPP - Finisterre - Muxia (May 2016)
C. Frances (Sept 2017)
Camino Portugues (June 2019)
An added challenge for many women is that we receive a lot of training, growing up, to always be nice, polite and to avoid hurting anybody's feelings. We even have a tendency to start conversations with "I'm sorry..." This makes it hard sometimes to stand up for ourselves when we need to.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Back to Camino4me, she even received at least one scathing private message in her inbox. Yes, I was listening to her. An Asian-American woman herself, she was aghast at the dirth of concern by many forum members. Recently, I read through her research, and it tallies numbers of women being groped, flashed, and raped while on pilgrimage in Spain. She did not tally the men who were groped, flashed, etc. Perhaps that is someone else's project.
I was on the Camino in June and had not been aware of these posts, so I now see there is a lot of history I need to familiarize myself with. I wonder if the research you are referring to is on the forum somewhere or available in some other place?

I have read a recent article in El País, for me the premier Spanish newspaper, and the story refers to a compilation of all violent crimes on the Camino. If I am understanding the scope of the collection, they seem to report that since the Camino's renaissance, whenever that is deemed to be, there have been 15 violent crimes on all of the caminos (mostly rapes but it also must include the guy with the knife near Guillena on the Vdlp). Is that consistent with camino4me's research? Thanks, Debrita. Buen camino, Laurie
 

MTtoCamino

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Francis SJPdP to Finnestere April(2014)
An added challenge for many women is that we receive a lot of training, growing up, to always be nice, polite and to avoid hurting anybody's feelings. We even have a tendency to start conversations with "I'm sorry..." This makes it hard sometimes to stand up for ourselves when we need to.
Yes we teach our daughters to be kind for more years than we teach caution, they grow up in such a quick time. We have become such a world community we see daughters leave the protection of good families early. Your point is well taken Time for this grampa to have this discution with my children. With what seems like fewer marriages in societies as well creating more independent woman you best be prepared for more single obnoxious men. It is that companionship that keeps us (Men) somewhat under control. Not to say that societies don't adjust but the lack of good role models creates some of these issues.
Oh no I probably took this off topic...
 

CaminoDebrita

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances SJPP to SdC Oct/Nov 2015
Frances Burgos toSdC March/April 2016
W. Highland Way August 2016
Camino Somewhere September 2017
I was on the Camino in June and had not been aware of these posts, so I now see there is a lot of history I need to familiarize myself with. I wonder if the research you are referring to is on the forum somewhere or available in some other place?

I have read a recent article in El País, for me the premier Spanish newspaper, and the story refers to a compilation of all violent crimes on the Camino. If I am understanding the scope of the collection, they seem to report that since the Camino's renaissance, whenever that is deemed to be, there have been 15 violent crimes on all of the caminos (mostly rapes but it also must include the guy with the knife near Guillena on the Vdlp). Is that consistent with camino4me's research? Thanks, Debrita. Buen camino, Laurie
Laurie:

Thanks for your even response to what has been a rather heated discussion.

First of all, I live in rural America, where crime is low. That said, I used to live in a war zone. All of my responses come from a person who lives in peace now, but I had to live for a decade aware of the crowds, avoiding crowds, etc. (bomb possibilities, muggings, kidnappings). So, I'm kind of a jaded old bird. Here we go.

In April, several women were coming forward in the safety threads with stories of flashing and public exhibitionists. We also heard the story of a woman who had been tasered, but got away. Then there was a rape story. These threads all came up around the same timeline, as women came forward with various stories. They were not organized in one place, and the veracity of some of the "narratives" was dismissed as "rumor" and "hearsay". At the same time, several women were showing apprehension and concern about their own Caminos, but these fears were dismissed (by forum members) as being over reactionary, and as fear mongering. This caused a chasm on the forum: those who were concerned about disappearances and "narratives" and those who dismissed the problems. There was a middle group who tried to listen to both sides; I was in that group. Around that time, however, I came close to quitting the forum altogether, as it became somewhat "popular" to dismiss the women with the most concern. It was, in my opinion (of course), tantamount to bullying. Sorry, folks. It was not a good time.

Of course, being flashed, groped, or "hold my hand, then I'll pull you into me and kiss you" are not violent crimes, are they? Still and yet, they are annoying and bothersome.

If you would like me to put you in contact with Camino4me, she told me that she would share her links and information with me. I, for one, am no longer interested in perusing them, as I completely believe that the narratives are true. Women have been flashed, groped, kissed, and--in at least one situation--worse. My response to all of the above is the same as always: knowledge is power. Pack for fun, but don't forget to pack your brain.

I hope that all people travel with earbuds out (mostly) and with an eye to helping one another.
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
Thank you CaminoDebrita, for this post and the one you wrote a while ago.
I just went back to the original posts for a reality check and found it unnerving (knowing what happened) to read the content.
and at the same time I have been disturbed by the language on both sides, frankly.

I'm going offline soon for a week and find myself hoping that when I get back there won't be angry people who've said "I've had it with this, " and left for good. That would be sad. As are the defections that have already happened.

So whatever our opinions it would be a very good idea for us all to take a deep breath before attacking others personally or dismissing others. No matter what side of any discussion we fall on. It's divisive and doesn't help anyone. Nor does it add to the discussion.

Of course, we all need to feel we can speak our minds. But there are ways of doing that that are skillful, and ways that are not.

The discussions will continue...and so I'm glad for a gender balance amongst the mods. It does seem to make a difference.
Hopefully we can make their work easier by being civilized with each other.
 

CaminoDebrita

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances SJPP to SdC Oct/Nov 2015
Frances Burgos toSdC March/April 2016
W. Highland Way August 2016
Camino Somewhere September 2017
Thank you CaminoDebrita, for this post and the one you wrote a while ago.
I just went back to the original posts for a reality check and found it unnerving (knowing what happened) to read the content.
and at the same time I have been disturbed by the language on both sides, frankly.

I'm going offline soon for a week and find myself hoping that when I get back there won't be angry people who've said "I've had it with this, " and left for good. That would be sad. As are the defections that have already happened.

So whatever our opinions it would be a very good idea for us all to take a deep breath before attacking others personally or dismissing others. No matter what side of any discussion we fall on. It's divisive and doesn't help anyone. Nor does it add to the discussion.

Of course, we all need to feel we can speak our minds. But there are ways of doing that that are skillful, and ways that are not.

The discussions will continue...and so I'm glad for a gender balance amongst the mods. It does seem to make a difference.
Hopefully we can make their work easier by being civilized with each other.
Very well put.
 

Rebekah Scott

Camino Busybody
Camino(s) past & future
Many, various, and continuing.
I have been harassed on the Camino and other places, too. I am afraid I am one of the people who spoke against "fear-mongering," back when the Denise story first broke.
Pilgrims disappear every day, and they always reappear sometime. They always did.
It was hard, seeing people in very dangerous places many hundreds of miles away being frightened about coming to Spain or the Camino. I kinda take it personally when people do that, because I live here, and I love this place, and it is not a bit scary. Besides, some of the people posting really seemed to ENJOY being scared, and scaring others. And that's just downright nuts, IMHO. (If you want to have fun being scared, go to the movies.)
But as time went on and more women came out with more stories of harassment and attacks, I started to get mad. Not at the scared-ness, but at the lax attitudes of law enforcement, and the attitudes here that make it somehow OK to harass women, especially foreign women. I started to make some noise on Spanish forums, and was promptly shouted down for being a foreigner who lives here but doesn't properly appreciate life in a "free country!" (where you're not supposed to talk about these things until the guy is convicted of a crime. As if!)

Anyway, when Denise's body was found and the killer confessed, I took it much harder than I thought I might. I cried for her, and her family. And I cried for us, the camino people. I was very dis-illusioned. I had been enjoying the illusion of a violence-free place for women to walk, with just a few harmless pervs here and there. And so they are not just perverts and creeps. They can also be very dangerous criminals.

And so I apologize for not listening better to the women who first posted their experiences, and for being, or appearing to be, unsympathetic.

I still have little time for scaredy-cats and fear-mongers. But I know the horror of unwelcome attention and the cold chill of realizing a situation could go very bad, very fast.
The bad policing that went on this summer is giving Spain a gut-check. God knows if anyone will do anything.
I am on the board of the Fraternidad Internacional del Camino de Santiago. This week we proposed the Ministry of the Interior and Ministry of Culture work with French authorities to develop a police and/or emergency response force dedicated to investigating and preventing crimes and accidents specifically on the caminos -- aka Camino Cops.

It's only an idea. But the more I hear of these reports, as well as scams and robberies, it seems like a community of 200,000 oughtta have their safety looked-after.
 

CaminoDebrita

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances SJPP to SdC Oct/Nov 2015
Frances Burgos toSdC March/April 2016
W. Highland Way August 2016
Camino Somewhere September 2017
I have been harassed on the Camino and other places, too. I am afraid I am one of the people who spoke against "fear-mongering," back when the Denise story first broke.
Pilgrims disappear every day, and they always reappear sometime. They always did.
It was hard, seeing people in very dangerous places many hundreds of miles away being frightened about coming to Spain or the Camino. I kinda take it personally when people do that, because I live here, and I love this place, and it is not a bit scary. Besides, some of the people posting really seemed to ENJOY being scared, and scaring others. And that's just downright nuts, IMHO. (If you want to have fun being scared, go to the movies.)
But as time went on and more women came out with more stories of harassment and attacks, I started to get mad. Not at the scared-ness, but at the lax attitudes of law enforcement, and the attitudes here that make it somehow OK to harass women, especially foreign women. I started to make some noise on Spanish forums, and was promptly shouted down for being a foreigner who lives here but doesn't properly appreciate life in a "free country!" (where you're not supposed to talk about these things until the guy is convicted of a crime. As if!)

Anyway, when Denise's body was found and the killer confessed, I took it much harder than I thought I might. I cried for her, and her family. And I cried for us, the camino people. I was very dis-illusioned. I had been enjoying the illusion of a violence-free place for women to walk, with just a few harmless pervs here and there. And so they are not just perverts and creeps. They can also be very dangerous criminals.

And so I apologize for not listening better to the women who first posted their experiences, and for being, or appearing to be, unsympathetic.

I still have little time for scaredy-cats and fear-mongers. But I know the horror of unwelcome attention and the cold chill of realizing a situation could go very bad, very fast.
The bad policing that went on this summer is giving Spain a gut-check. God knows if anyone will do anything.
I am on the board of the Fraternidad Internacional del Camino de Santiago. This week we proposed the Ministry of the Interior and Ministry of Culture work with French authorities to develop a police and/or emergency response force dedicated to investigating and preventing crimes and accidents specifically on the caminos -- aka Camino Cops.

It's only an idea. But the more I hear of these reports, as well as scams and robberies, it seems like a community of 200,000 oughtta have their safety looked-after.
Knowing that you are there--in our corner--is very helpful. Thank you for your support, from a very on-the-cusp peregrina (I depart Monday!). Edit: I'd also note that in a social forum, "no discussion" or exchanges of passionate opinion often make for a very boring community, so perhaps we should all be glad for an interesting place to discuss a place that we either love, live in, or aspire to walk!
 

mountaingoat999

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
we are due out Jan 2016
the thing is, there's no knowing how many other reports about this person there a) have been or b) will be. but if no one reports the incidents, the police never know.
exactly......also when good people stand by and do nothing bad things can happen (said it before) and its condoning bad behaviour doing nothing (UK spelling)....eventually the police will find this on top of there agenda for so long more resources will be earmarked to address this danger.....as is the case in most places not just the camino.....
 

Wokabaut_Meri

somewhere along the Way
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés 2015
Pilgrims Way 2018
Via Francigena #1 Canterbury-Dover 2018
...Anyway, when Denise's body was found and the killer confessed, I took it much harder than I thought I might. I cried for her, and her family. And I cried for us, the camino people. I was very dis-illusioned. I had been enjoying the illusion of a violence-free place for women to walk, with just a few harmless pervs here and there. And so they are not just perverts and creeps. They can also be very dangerous criminals.

And so I apologize for not listening better to the women who first posted their experiences, and for being, or appearing to be, unsympathetic.

I still have little time for scaredy-cats and fear-mongers. But I know the horror of unwelcome attention and the cold chill of realizing a situation could go very bad, very fast.
The bad policing that went on this summer is giving Spain a gut-check. God knows if anyone will do anything.
I am on the board of the Fraternidad Internacional del Camino de Santiago. This week we proposed the Ministry of the Interior and Ministry of Culture work with French authorities to develop a police and/or emergency response force dedicated to investigating and preventing crimes and accidents specifically on the caminos -- aka Camino Cops.

It's only an idea. But the more I hear of these reports, as well as scams and robberies, it seems like a community of 200,000 oughtta have their safety looked-after.
Thank you so much for your post, Rebekah. I also had an 'off' experience on the Camino Frances in April this year but didn't post it as I didn't want to appear to be scare mongering. For what it's worth, I've decided that it should be added to the mix. Once again, not sure if this is still 'on topic' so moderators please feel free to move this to a more appropriate area.

I am 61 years old and was walking with another female friend, 69, and my husband, 63, who was about 20 metres behind us taking photos. My friend and I were dressed very conservatively in long trousers and long sleeved shirts. We had missed the river option just before Pamplona and were making our way along the bicycle pathway on the Camino Burlada about 500 metres before the Puente de Magdalena. It was a rundown area and there was a group of boys playing soccer ranging in ages from 3/4 years to the eldest of about 14/15 years. As we approached, he came away from the group and walked up straight in front of me, stopping me. He then said, in good English and with significant malice: 'I will f*ck your ****! and spat in my face. I was stunned but barged past him, pushing my friend on and then looked back for my husband who went past and scored a mouthful as well.

At the time we thought that it was just an adolescent shock tactic but we women were old enough to be his grandmothers. Who knows what he would have said or tried if a woman had walked past alone. There were other instances that I witnessed along the Camino (unwelcome approaches, including physical) where woman did what we usually do, ignore the behaviour, walk on and just put it down to the unfortunate 'creep element'.

While the concept of a 'Camino Cops' response is something to aim for, in the meantime, we women need to do what we always do and take care of our own safety as much as we can. How to achieve this? Well, this is controversial but I believe that we need to stop promoting that the Camino is 'safe' for women to walk alone. It is safer than many other places that I have been to, probably safer than my own Australian neighbourhood, but nowhere in the world is totally safe anymore. It IS reasonably safe for women to walk alone as long as they are as situationally aware as they would be in an unfamiliar western city. I wish that it were otherwise but we need to be honest.

So, what can be done in the meantime that would prove useful? Ivar, I don't know how difficult this would be to set up or even if it is appropriate but I'm putting it out there for discussion. On a lighter note, here in Australia in the springtime we have an issue with magpies (lovely melodious bird usually) attacking cyclists, in particular, to protect their nests. Every year we put up a Magpie Map where we register attacks and injuries (my husband had his ear lobe sliced open). When we go out for a ride, we always look up to see what is happening in the area and can respond accordingly. We are informed. Would something similar work on the Camino Forum? An isolated incident would be exactly that - some young creep trying to get a reaction - but several reports would indicate a problem that required some form of action. Keeping statistics would not deter pilgrims but would allow them to be better informed and act accordingly. It is no different to looking up any countries foreign advice for travellers.

Having said all this, I have trekked extensively in Papua New Guinea and several African countries but took advice on the relative safety of each and organised my travel and walks accordingly.
 

wayfarer

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP-Santiago-Finistera-Muxia. April/May 2012
Sarria-Santiago Sept. 2013
SJPP - Almost Orrison April 2014
If the Spanish authorities are really serious about this issue the first thing they need to do is look at the laws on public nudity (except on beaches) and public masterbation and make these an offence as they are in most other countries. Personal freedoms are fine but freedom has responsibilities and when those freedoms are abused its time to do something IMO. I know this will not be easy to change but if enough people lobby their local Spanish embassy and the Spanish authorities in Spain itself, change might just happen.
 

Dutch

Straightforward
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP-SdC sept '13
Porto-SdC May '14
SdC-Finis/Muxia May '14
SJPP-Finisterre sept '14
Pamplona-Burgos march '15
Porto - Sdc may '15
Camino salkantay june '15
SJPP - SdC aug/sept '15

Pacific Crest Trail april thru sept 2016
What is this? A camino horror thread? Sorry to say this, but Stuff happens and creepy people exist and yes, even on the camino. Its just like normal life.

Use common sense and instict and most likely you will be fine, at home and on the camino.
 
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Rebekah Scott

Camino Busybody
Camino(s) past & future
Many, various, and continuing.
This is where we need to draw some lines.
We don't all need to hear all the horror stories "live" from the camino. I am sad to hear these stories, but I don' t think Ma and Pa in Peoria are benefitting.
The point of all this is, REPORT THESE INCIDENTS to POLICE, and if you can, to the local Pilgrim Amigos group and/or the tourist office. If enough people make enough noise, something might be done. Do not go in expecting a reaction -- just report it and move on.
 

William Marques

Moderator
Staff member
At home I am on a neighbourhood watch e-mail list. In our quiet sleepy village I get an alert almost daily about some e-mail scam, or bikes stolen from a barn or car broken into etc etc. I am thinking about coming of the list because of the volume of low level incidents that are continuously reported. I suppose the problem is that once you start reporting incidents you have to report them all no matter how insignificant. I think that is what is starting to happen with respect to the Caminos.
 

MTtoCamino

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Francis SJPdP to Finnestere April(2014)
If you have something happen to you never feel you can't write about it & please report it quickly to the local authorities.
By putting it on this forum you may spare another the same pain coming up behind you.
We have moderators that do their best. But they make the decisions of what should be appropriate. I see a trend that victims should not express bad experiences. For those that disagree feel free to PM me.
Keith
 

CaminoDebrita

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances SJPP to SdC Oct/Nov 2015
Frances Burgos toSdC March/April 2016
W. Highland Way August 2016
Camino Somewhere September 2017
If you have something happen to you never feel you can't write about it & please report it quickly to the local authorities.
By putting it on this forum you may spare another the same pain coming up behind you.
We have moderators that do their best. But they make the decisions of what should be appropriate. I see a trend that victims should not express bad experiences. For those that disagree feel free to PM me.
Keith
I agree with you, Keith. Wokabaut Meri---sounds pretty annoying, and sorry you had to go through that.

This is where we need to draw some lines.
We don't all need to hear all the horror stories "live" from the camino. I am sad to hear these stories, but I don' t think Ma and Pa in Peoria are benefitting.
The point of all this is, REPORT THESE INCIDENTS to POLICE, and if you can, to the local Pilgrim Amigos group and/or the tourist office. If enough people make enough noise, something might be done. Do not go in expecting a reaction -- just report it and move on.
Don't worry about this "ma in Peoria". I'd rather know.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
So many hard questions here. I agree with Rebekah about the importance of reporting behavior to the police. But I think I disagree (still working through this one) that the forum shouldn't contain all these reports.

On the other current thread on this issue, about the incident near Guillena, someone weighed in with the realization that this same incident in this same place has happened recently to another woman, who appears not to have reported it. Once we start hearing stuff like that, it goes from an isolated frightening incident to something that clearly needs official attention. But -- and this goes back to Rebekah's drumbeat -- if women don't report, nothing ever happens. Knowing that this is more than an isolated incident, I would change my behavior if I were walking from Guillena today.

But clearly there's a line, just like Reb says. On that same Guillena thread, there's a report of rude and crass behavior to pilgrims by some young ruffians outside Pamplona. I doubt that the police have the time or interest to follow up on that, but I'm not denying it was a very unpleasant experience. The victim describing that incident doesn't appear to have reported it and I think that was appropriate in that case.

This recent shift in attitude and apparent blossoming of bad behavior on the camino is similar to what happened a few years ago in my university town. For years and years, the University did nothing to publicize incidents on campus. Sure we knew about bad things that happened but we didn't hear about it from the university, we heard about it in the local paper. Students tend not to read the local paper. Parents mounted a campaign (many of them in Peoria, no doubt ;)) and the university started sending emails to everyone to describe all reported campus crimes involving either major theft, violence, or any sexual assault. The initial reaction was one of fear, since many students had thought they were in that Disneyland zone, but we soon realized that this stuff had been going on for years and years and that now we had more awareness about what our actual risks were and could also help in reporting information that might help solve the crime.

Once the initial shock about crime on the Camino subsides, I think we will all walk more comfortably because the other point is that the Camino is still one of the safest places on the planet. 15 violent crimes in decades on thousands and thousands of kms on different Camino paths, and millions of people walking is still a shockingly low crime rate, at least for those of us who live in urbanized areas.

Buen camino, Laurie
 
D

Deleted member 36903

Guest
So many hard questions here. I agree with Rebekah about the importance of reporting behavior to the police. But I think I disagree (still working through this one) that the forum shouldn't contain all these reports.

On the other current thread on this issue, about the incident near Guillena, someone weighed in with the realization that this same incident in this same place has happened recently to another woman, who appears not to have reported it. Once we start hearing stuff like that, it goes from an isolated frightening incident to something that clearly needs official attention. But -- and this goes back to Rebekah's drumbeat -- if women don't report, nothing ever happens. Knowing that this is more than an isolated incident, I would change my behavior if I were walking from Guillena today.

But clearly there's a line, just like Reb says. On that same Guillena thread, there's a report of rude and crass behavior to pilgrims by some young ruffians outside Pamplona. I doubt that the police have the time or interest to follow up on that, but I'm not denying it was a very unpleasant experience. The victim describing that incident doesn't appear to have reported it and I think that was appropriate in that case.

This recent shift in attitude and apparent blossoming of bad behavior on the camino is similar to what happened a few years ago in my university town. For years and years, the University did nothing to publicize incidents on campus. Sure we knew about bad things that happened but we didn't hear about it from the university, we heard about it in the local paper. Students tend not to read the local paper. Parents mounted a campaign (many of them in Peoria, no doubt ;)) and the university started sending emails to everyone to describe all reported campus crimes involving either major theft, violence, or any sexual assault. The initial reaction was one of fear, since many students had thought they were in that Disneyland zone, but we soon realized that this stuff had been going on for years and years and that now we had more awareness about what our actual risks were and could also help in reporting information that might help solve the crime.

Once the initial shock about crime on the Camino subsides, I think we will all walk more comfortably because the other point is that the Camino is still one of the safest places on the planet. 15 violent crimes in decades on thousands and thousands of kms on different Camino paths, and millions of people walking is still a shockingly low crime rate, at least for those of us who live in urbanized areas.

Buen camino, Laurie
Thank you Laurie for your wise counsel. I had one unpleasant encounter in Castrojeriz in April this year when I was eating my picnic lunch in the square. A well-dressed elderly gentleman came up to speak to me. my Spanish is limited but he was fluent in international sign language soon moving on to below the belt (literally) gesticulations as to how he envisaged our relationship might develop. I was so damned angry with him for spoiling a beautiful relaxing day, but then I thought he might be suffering from some form of Alzheimer's disease, so just expressed my annoyance, packed up and left. Some days later I caught up with a fellow pilgrim I had walked with earlier, and she had had a similar experience with the same man but on this occasion it ended with him pushing her to the ground. I am sure now that he must be ill, but is considered to be generally safe wandering the streets of his home town. The reason I am mentioning this is so women pilgrims are aware of the man's inclinations and so give him a wide berth. I am sure he is harmless, although a nuisance and an encounter with that kind of behaviour when unexpected can certainly spoil your day - who wants to feel negative thoughts to fellow human beings? In an urban setting such encounters are par for the course, having lived in London for years you learn the unwritten rules for personal safety and how to deal with unwanted male attention, its the unexpectedness of this kind of behaviour on the Camino that jars. Still, I got angry, I got over it and it didn't prevent me being able to accept the assistance, advice and directions of other elderly Spanish gentlemen on the rest of the walk.
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016), VDLP (2017), Mozarabe (2018), Vasco/Bayona (2019)
This is where we need to draw some lines.
We don't all need to hear all the horror stories "live" from the camino. I am sad to hear these stories, but I don' t think Ma and Pa in Peoria are benefitting.
The point of all this is, REPORT THESE INCIDENTS to POLICE, and if you can, to the local Pilgrim Amigos group and/or the tourist office. If enough people make enough noise, something might be done. Do not go in expecting a reaction -- just report it and move on.
I was inclined to agree with Rebekah on the above post, but then some good arguments were put forth for having the information available to us, as we walk, so we can be better prepared. The problem I see is in maintaining some quality control of the information reported, and organizing it in a way that we can use. Otherwise it would leave me reading various threads and making notes on my Brierley maps (as I do for recommended albergues or hazards such as bad mud). I would end up with maps filled with "exhibitionist" between Point A and Point B, "rude children" between C and D, and "suspicious vehicle" between E and F. That would get out of hand very quickly and I would have a lousy feeling about it.

The forum is not equipped to develop and maintain a reliable database of incidents. The police are. So we should continue to add to their data.

Clearly ;), some compromise solution is needed for the forum. I would be very discouraged to see the forum peppered with threads describing the suspicious or unpleasant behaviour of all the creeps along the camino, as reported by anonymous strangers (that is us, of course) on the internet. If there is to be a designated thread or forum section to collect such reports, would it be possible to moderate it strongly to keep it to reporting the facts in each case, and then no discussion? That would mean banning most of the responses to a given report, both sympathetic and critical. We should be able to keep an eye on the incident reports, without having to sort through the political and emotional arguments and tangents. This would mean extra work for moderators, of course.

I am not convinced that a separate incident thread/section (as I just described) is the best idea, but I put it out there for consideration.

I usually agree with what @CaminoDebrita says, and always respect it, but have a slight disagreement with the wording below (bolding is mine). I realize that she's summing up a complex situation, and that there were other unpleasant private conversations that I had no knowledge of.
They were not organized in one place, and the veracity of some of the "narratives" was dismissed as "rumor" and "hearsay". At the same time, several women were showing apprehension and concern about their own Caminos, but these fears were dismissed (by forum members) as being over reactionary, and as fear mongering.
Some of the narratives were rumor and hearsay, and this was rightly pointed out, especially to understand why certain actions could not be taken in response. That does not mean that the accounts were "dismissed" as untrue or unworthy of consideration. Similarly, I felt that some fears were over reactionary, and agreed with the posts that concluded that the camino is probably safer than our home cities. That does not mean that I "dismissed" the fears that were reported. On a final point, there was a "call to action" that was not very clear. When people disagreed with that proposed action, they were dismissed as dismissers of the fears. Unfortunately, these subtleties of logic are often overlooked in internet discussions.
 

MTtoCamino

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Francis SJPdP to Finnestere April(2014)
We will continue to debate this but the folks doing these things will get bolder & if silence is your practice the result for those following can turn more violent. Let the monitors decide if they want to restrict this topic of victim speech. What is the concern is it bad press? Or that you simply do not want to hear about disturbing actions? Many complain about too many walking, yet this topic will reduce numbers, so are the fears economic?
 

wayfarer

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP-Santiago-Finistera-Muxia. April/May 2012
Sarria-Santiago Sept. 2013
SJPP - Almost Orrison April 2014
I think C clearly was suggesting a locked incident report thread to avoid all the debate and arguement not restricting the reports themselves. Many of the reports added to the original threads get lost in all the replies.
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016), VDLP (2017), Mozarabe (2018), Vasco/Bayona (2019)
I think C clearly was suggesting a locked incident report thread to avoid all the debate and arguement not restricting the reports themselves. Many of the reports added to the original threads get lost in all the replies.
Yes, exactly.

We will continue to debate this but the folks doing these things will get bolder & if silence is your practice the result for those following can turn more violent. Let the monitors decide if they want to restrict this topic of victim speech. What is the concern is it bad press? Or that you simply do not want to hear about disturbing actions? Many complain about too many walking, yet this topic will reduce numbers, so are the fears economic?
I'm not sure if the above was referring to my post or not, because silence was certainly not my suggestion. Having a place to report and to monitor incidents would be quite useful.
 

MTtoCamino

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Francis SJPdP to Finnestere April(2014)
Yes, exactly.


I'm not sure if the above was referring to my post or not, because silence was certainly not my suggestion. Having a place to report and to monitor incidents would be quite useful.
there are posts that create the idea. If a victim of a violent crime felt they would be verbally assaulted by simply warning others On this forum it would isolate them even more. The fear created by violent acts is debilitating so I like the idea of a locked thread. I also suggest a female who has some life experience moderate.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
We will continue to debate this but the folks doing these things will get bolder & if silence is your practice the result for those following can turn more violent. Let the monitors decide if they want to restrict this topic of victim speech. What is the concern is it bad press? Or that you simply do not want to hear about disturbing actions? Many complain about too many walking, yet this topic will reduce numbers, so are the fears economic?
I'm not sure, but I think you're suggesting that if the forum were to shut off discussion on these incidents, that somehow the perpetrators will get bolder and the violence will increase. If that's what you're suggesting, I think that is attributing way too much influence to the forum, which is visited by a miniscule fraction of the total number of people walking Caminos. I would agree that failure to report these incidents to the police can have the result you describe, and I think that is what our focus on the forum should be -- to encourage people to report, report, report.

I am not suggesting that the forum shouldn't post information about crime and safety. But I understand the concern -- that instead of producing awareness, we produce fear. Violent crime on the Camino is not new, but it is now and always has been extremely rare. On my first Camino in 2000, there was a rape near Logroño and I was flashed coming down the Alto del Perdón. There was no forum then, and I'm sure my experiences were not the only ones that happened that year or in any of the other subsequent years that I have been fondled and flashed, all of which happened before 2006 or 2007 (nothing since then). I guess we can't control the way people process and react to information, but it would be a shame if a lot of people draw totally unreasonable conclusions from the information that is being posted. Buen camino, Laurie
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
Report to the police, please. It is heartening that currently we are seeing a much increased Guardia civil presence on the Camino Frances - about every second day we are seeing a police vehicle driving along the track. Hopefully it has at least a slight deterrent effect.
 

mountaingoat999

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
we are due out Jan 2016
We will continue to debate this but the folks doing these things will get bolder & if silence is your practice the result for those following can turn more violent. Let the monitors decide if they want to restrict this topic of victim speech. What is the concern is it bad press? Or that you simply do not want to hear about disturbing actions? Many complain about too many walking, yet this topic will reduce numbers, so are the fears economic?

I always believed never enough resources are given to victims and there aftercare, in the first instance along with being believed they must have a voice,and not only be listen to but heard loud and clear...in the title of this thread "awareness" is the key here and in the world at large, the camino can feel like an unreal world ....being aware being ready to respond not react can seem inappropriate for such a journey..with smartphones and wi-fi -forums, reporting makes these incidents seem like there is an explosion of these incidents......when in reality they have been there all the time...

The camino is safe compared to London...New York etc....don't be a victim anywhere in the world..plan well, be assertive in any situation and be heard, move away from the situation and micro navigate your way along the camino. knowing where you are all the time can quickly become automatic....if you think your off track ..make sure its not 2 kms down some other road......you can still walk alone with some others a good distance away, this makes sense anyway for many reasons not just crime prevention....some people are very unaware......

Because off these reports its a dandy time to go on the camino and bring a friend.........safety in numbers......
 

MTtoCamino

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Francis SJPdP to Finnestere April(2014)
I'm not sure, but I think you're suggesting that if the forum were to shut off discussion on these incidents, that somehow the perpetrators will get bolder and the violence will increase. If that's what you're suggesting, I think that is attributing way too much influence to the forum, which is visited by a miniscule fraction of the total number of people walking Caminos. I would agree that failure to report these incidents to the police can have the result you describe, and I think that is what our focus on the forum should be -- to encourage people to report, report, report.

I am not suggesting that the forum shouldn't post information about crime and safety. But I understand the concern -- that instead of producing awareness, we produce fear. Violent crime on the Camino is not new, but it is now and always has been extremely rare. On my first Camino in 2000, there was a rape near Logroño and I was flashed coming down the Alto del Perdón. There was no forum then, and I'm sure my experiences were not the only ones that happened that year or in any of the other subsequent years that I have been fondled and flashed, all of which happened before 2006 or 2007 (nothing since then). I guess we can't control the way people process and react to information, but it would be a shame if a lot of people draw totally unreasonable conclusions from the information that is being posted. Buen camino, Laurie
Wow that is re writing what I wrote. I will stand by what I have written
 

MTtoCamino

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Francis SJPdP to Finnestere April(2014)
Also, @peregrina2000 indicated that she was not sure of what you meant. Therefore it would be helpful to clarify, rather than just dismiss her reply.
Ok "the folks doing these things will get bolder" means that they will get bolder if no authority curbs the behavior.
"If silence is your practice then those following "(other pilgrims)" Can Turn more violent" the assaulter can get worse.
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016), VDLP (2017), Mozarabe (2018), Vasco/Bayona (2019)
Ok "the folks doing these things will get bolder" means that they will get bolder if no authority curbs the behavior.
"If silence is your practice then those following "(other pilgrims)" Can Turn more violent" the assaulter can get worse.
I understood those concepts and don't think any of us would disagree. The confusion is about which "you" you are addressing in different places and whether you are talking about "silence" (no reporting at all) or having some limits to discussion on this forum.

I am not deliberately being dense; the uncertainty is real.
 

GettingThere

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Roncesvalles-SdC Apr-Jun 2015
Roncesvalles-Sarria Sep-Oct 2017
C. Frances sections Apr-Jun 2019
I'm not sure, but I think you're suggesting that if the forum were to shut off discussion on these incidents, that somehow the perpetrators will get bolder and the violence will increase. If that's what you're suggesting, I think that is attributing way too much influence to the forum, which is visited by a miniscule fraction of the total number of people walking Caminos. I would agree that failure to report these incidents to the police can have the result you describe, and I think that is what our focus on the forum should be -- to encourage people to report, report, report.

I am not suggesting that the forum shouldn't post information about crime and safety. But I understand the concern -- that instead of producing awareness, we produce fear. Violent crime on the Camino is not new, but it is now and always has been extremely rare. On my first Camino in 2000, there was a rape near Logroño and I was flashed coming down the Alto del Perdón. There was no forum then, and I'm sure my experiences were not the only ones that happened that year or in any of the other subsequent years that I have been fondled and flashed, all of which happened before 2006 or 2007 (nothing since then). I guess we can't control the way people process and react to information, but it would be a shame if a lot of people draw totally unreasonable conclusions from the information that is being posted. Buen camino, Laurie
I agree, and can also understand the logic of @Cclearly's suggestion of locked threads with single incident posts. However I'm not sure, if that were done, how it would allow people to post "Oh but that happened to me in the same place", without starting a separate and unconnected thread. I think the value of the thread format is that it allows for this a well as simply informing of a single incident. The mods don't have an easy task but I think you have the balance about right. And "fear"? Well maybe, but I don't think information or debate creates it. People are responsible for their own emotional reactions. And if these discussions cause some to fear walking alone, and to seek out walking partners (as more are doing) then that's not so bad. I certainly haven't seen much of what I'd call "fear mongering", and on the whole the comments on threads like these mostly either express sympathy, gratitude for the information, or disagreement with aspects of the debate (which is healthy too and shouldn't be prevented! )

Thank you again to the mods for their careful and sensitive moderation of these threads.
 

MTtoCamino

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Francis SJPdP to Finnestere April(2014)
I understood those concepts and don't think any of us would disagree. The confusion is about which "you" you are addressing in different places and whether you are talking about "silence" (no reporting at all) or having some limits to discussion on this forum.

I am not deliberately being dense; the uncertainty is real.
I used "you" in one sentence, ask yourself that question. I am asking all who read to ask that of themselves. Then decide if the victims voice is more important than a negative reply.
It is a mute point if they create a locked thread.
 

m108

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2011-2016
Report to the police, please. It is heartening that currently we are seeing a much increased Guardia civil presence on the Camino Frances - about every second day we are seeing a police vehicle driving along the track. Hopefully it has at least a slight deterrent effect.
I agree, Kanga. I think that in reporting to the police on such incidents can not miss - still they can decide whether the incident requires special attention or not. I like to walk alone and Guardia civil presence is welcome - feel could be safe and more relaxed
 

JillGat

la tierra encantada
Camino(s) past & future
C. Frances SJPP - Finisterre - Muxia (May 2016)
C. Frances (Sept 2017)
Camino Portugues (June 2019)
I agree, Kanga. I think that in reporting to the police on such incidents can not miss - still they can decide whether the incident requires special attention or not. I like to walk alone and Guardia civil presence is welcome - feel could be safe and more relaxed
In the early 70s, when Franco was still in power, I was 18 years old and hitchhiking around Spain. I got a ride in a small car with several young Guardia Civil men and sat between two of them in the backseat, with their machine guns propped against their knees. We listened to music and they drummed their hands on the guns.
 

thecatalanway

Member
Camino(s) past & future
I hope to walk the Camino Frances in Spring 2015
Laurie:

Thanks for your even response to what has been a rather heated discussion.

First of all, I live in rural America, where crime is low. That said, I used to live in a war zone. All of my responses come from a person who lives in peace now, but I had to live for a decade aware of the crowds, avoiding crowds, etc. (bomb possibilities, muggings, kidnappings). So, I'm kind of a jaded old bird. Here we go.

In April, several women were coming forward in the safety threads with stories of flashing and public exhibitionists. We also heard the story of a woman who had been tasered, but got away. Then there was a rape story. These threads all came up around the same timeline, as women came forward with various stories. They were not organized in one place, and the veracity of some of the "narratives" was dismissed as "rumor" and "hearsay". At the same time, several women were showing apprehension and concern about their own Caminos, but these fears were dismissed (by forum members) as being over reactionary, and as fear mongering. This caused a chasm on the forum: those who were concerned about disappearances and "narratives" and those who dismissed the problems. There was a middle group who tried to listen to both sides; I was in that group. Around that time, however, I came close to quitting the forum altogether, as it became somewhat "popular" to dismiss the women with the most concern. It was, in my opinion (of course), tantamount to bullying. Sorry, folks. It was not a good time.

Of course, being flashed, groped, or "hold my hand, then I'll pull you into me and kiss you" are not violent crimes, are they? Still and yet, they are annoying and bothersome.

If you would like me to put you in contact with Camino4me, she told me that she would share her links and information with me. I, for one, am no longer interested in perusing them, as I completely believe that the narratives are true. Women have been flashed, groped, kissed, and--in at least one situation--worse. My response to all of the above is the same as always: knowledge is power. Pack for fun, but don't forget to pack your brain.

I hope that all people travel with earbuds out (mostly) and with an eye to helping one another.
Thank you for this post and for saying what I have been thinking. I grew very weary of this forum when it became obvious some people wanted to censor what others were saying. I have felt for a long time that it needs to be said that the Camino is like everywhere else- it is safe, until it isn't. I walked this April in total calm and without incident but in retrospect I was in a fantasy bubble and was merely lucky. Next time I will walk like a wolf with all my instincts alert. Thanks again for writing. Knowledge is power! And communication of knowledge even more so. Kate
 

dee bright

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Spring 2016
I'm late to this discussion and most of what I think has been expressed. I'd like to add two additional thoughts.

1. Years ago a US study was done asking what people feared most in life. I was astounded at what they found. For men their greatest fear was "public embarrassment." For women it was "fear of physical harm." Men and women obviously perceive the world out there very differently. Unfortunately, rightly so.

2. An author, previously in law enforcement and intimately involved in the serial killer Ted Bundy case, made an astute observation. That human beings are the only animals who will ignore their gut feelings for fear of offending someone. Ted Bundy used that to his advantage to gain access to women's homes and cars. We need to learn to listen to and ACT on our instincts--they're there to protect us.

I must admit that in light of recent facts I'm becoming a bit nervous about walking the Camino alone next spring. However, the more informed I am, the more alert I will be, and the more often I will seek out other pilgrims to walk certain stretches of the Camino with me. It will helpful to me to know in advance some of the "trouble spots" so I can plan to do that.

I hope either this thread or local law enforcement will assist in this endeavor.
 

dee bright

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Spring 2016
Question: would it be advisable to carry mace or pepper spray? I haven't heard this mentioned.
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016), VDLP (2017), Mozarabe (2018), Vasco/Bayona (2019)
Question: would it be advisable to carry mace or pepper spray? I haven't heard this mentioned.
If you use the Search at the top of the page, you can find quite a few opinions on pepper spray. It usually comes up somewhere in the middle of the safety threads and turns into a heated debate. For example, the topic is introduced about halfway down This thread.

Personally, I have never carried pepper spray or anything like it, and would not start doing it on the Camino. I'd be far more likely to incapacitate myself.
 

dee bright

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Spring 2016
If you use the Search at the top of the page, you can find quite a few opinions on pepper spray. It usually comes up somewhere in the middle of the safety threads and turns into a heated debate. For example, the topic is introduced about halfway down This thread.

Personally, I have never carried pepper spray or anything like it, and would not start doing it on the Camino. I'd be far more likely to incapacitate myself.

Thanks, I'll check it out!
 

SabineP

Camino = Empathy + Compassion.
Camino(s) past & future
some and then more. see my signature.
Just want to add that you don't always have to report an incident to the authorities.

I was walking the Portugues a month ago and on a certain etapa where there was only one bar during the 20 k. I stopped for a coffee and then started again my walk. On that particular stretch I was on my own as a walker but felt very safe : one hamlet after another and enough people going on with their business.
Then an old man came walking from a field ( holding some crops ) , it was clear that he was mentally a bit simpler ( don't seem to find the right word ) but not mentally ill ( I work in psychiatry and think I know one or two things about this ). Anyway he then came towards me and said something in Portugues and at same time he tried to touch my breasts. He tried , I must say because he was half my size. I then said in a stern voice that if he would try that I would kick him somewhere where it would hurt very badly ( in dutch of course ). He got the message. Then immediately two ladies ( one was his sister and the other a neighbour who understood english ) appeared and scolded him and shooed him into the house. He was just a simple man, living in a rural village, not able to do any real harm. And the ladies were very apologetic. And at same time we had an interesting conversation about lack of enough social services for mentally handicapped older people in Portugal.

I just wanted to write this down because I really think I handled this in a good way and reporting this to the police did not even come up in my mind.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Thank you for this post and for saying what I have been thinking. I grew very weary of this forum when it became obvious some people wanted to censor what others were saying. I have felt for a long time that it needs to be said that the Camino is like everywhere else- it is safe, until it isn't. I walked this April in total calm and without incident but in retrospect I was in a fantasy bubble and was merely lucky. Next time I will walk like a wolf with all my instincts alert. Thanks again for writing. Knowledge is power! And communication of knowledge even more so. Kate
I think I am finally starting to understand what seemed to be a big gap in attitude among the women. I don't intend any insults or disrespect here, but I am surprised to be hearing that women walked alone in what thecatalanway describes as a "fantasy bubble." That, in retrospect, was a big mistake, so it's good that people are getting the message. But frankly, I am surprised that anyone would walk with that attitude, and I sincerely hope that nothing I or anyone else who regularly walks alone have said has helped to create that fantasy. I have always assumed that the Camino, like any other place on the earth, would have some risk of violent crime and that I would have to be alert when walking alone. I learned of a rape on my first camino in 2000 near Logrono and I was also flashed on that Camino. Yet I have walked thousands of kms on untraveled and solitary caminos since then, by myself, always alert but never scared. And it is in that context that I have said, and will continue to say, that it is safe for a woman to walk alone. But I will go to extra efforts to clarify what I mean by that just in case I'm helping to create a fantasy bubble. For me, the bottom line is that if it is not safe for a woman to walk alone on the Camino, then it is not safe for a woman to walk alone anywhere in the world. That may be your conclusion, but it's not one I'm willing to make. Not to be boringly repetitive, since I've posted this already, but El Pais documents a total of 15 violent crimes over what I think are the past 20 or 25 years, on all Caminos in Spain. I can't think of any other place that even comes close to that.

So I think we can now all be on the same page. The Camino is not a fantasy bubble, if you walk alone you have to be alert, but it would be a real shame to extrapolate from that statement that you have to walk in fear. Buen camino, Laurie
 

MTtoCamino

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Francis SJPdP to Finnestere April(2014)
The awareness you all bring to the forum is a gift.
 

Wokabaut_Meri

somewhere along the Way
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés 2015
Pilgrims Way 2018
Via Francigena #1 Canterbury-Dover 2018
Thank you Laurie for your wise counsel. I had one unpleasant encounter in Castrojeriz in April this year when I was eating my picnic lunch in the square. ...
Here is an example. I can report another incident with an elderly man in Castrojeriz, also in April, also in the square. Similarly using sign language with (obvious) below the belt intent. He ignored all comments from my friend, who showed him her wedding ring and pointed to her husband, and ended up putting his hands on her thighs. We pushed him off and thought, as you, that he was somewhat mentally confused. This was quite a shock as there were many people around and he did not stop until we took action and moved on.

I think I am finally starting to understand what seemed to be a big gap in attitude among the women. I don't intend any insults or disrespect here, but I am surprised to be hearing that women walked alone in what thecatalanway describes as a "fantasy bubble." That, in retrospect, was a big mistake, so it's good that people are getting the message....

So I think we can now all be on the same page. The Camino is not a fantasy bubble, if you walk alone you have to be alert, but it would be a real shame to extrapolate from that statement that you have to walk in fear. Buen camino, Laurie
Thank you for voicing this so well. This is exactly what I intended with my post - not to put any women off walking the Camino alone, nor make them afraid but make them realise that they need to be situationally aware. I met so many who weren't and told me that the Camino would take care of them. This is the attitude that you have so rightly drawn attention to.

For me, the Camino, despite all the incidents that I encountered was still one of the safest places that I have trekked in anywhere in the world.
 

Icacos

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2013)
Recently I attended a workshop on sexual assault put on by our city police. We were told there are three things that have to be present for a sexual assault to occur. If I recall correctly, they are:
  • The intent
  • The victim, and
  • The opportunity
We cannot do anything about the first one, but we can try to do something about the other two.
 

Anna Powell

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
September (2015)
What is this? A camino horror thread? Sorry to say this, but Stuff happens and creepy people exist and yes, even on the camino. Its just like normal life.

Use common sense and instict and most likely you will be fine, at home and on the camino.
What is this? We're talking through a serious problem, not just being flippant.
 

Donna Sch

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
VdLP-Sanabres-Fisterra (Summer 2015); Levante-Invierno (Feb/Mar 2019);
England Camino routes ?2024
It doesn't hurt to revise your self defence skills pre-Camino. Especially if you cannot use language as a weapon. I do martial arts so I have a fair idea what I am capable of (and running is the better option compared to fighting a male). But if I do find myself in a compromising situation I want to have a few techniques up my sleeve. I was at a workshop and the visiting coaches went over some self defence stuff during the lunch break for the Mums who were interested. It was a nice bit of revision. Learn about vulnerable bits of anatomy - its not always the bits that people go for in the movies and on TV.

I think that getting as much Spanish under your belt is imperative. It can make all the difference. You cannot guarantee finding a walking companion that is fluent in both languages. And the extra confidence it gives you is probably just as important so that you don't look like a potential victim. Besides it is lovely being able to chat to the old folk along the way who are usually more than happy to talk.

But be aware. Every now and again you would come across a car in an odd place. I'd find myself looking at number plates, working on a description of the car or driver, just in case. And I'd straighten up, get ready to pull out the death glare if required, rehearse a choice Spanish phrase, have a stone in my pocket I could throw, have my cameraphone switched on etc.
 

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