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Sexual harassment Camino Portugues oct 2021

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Fred2a

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Portuguès oct 2020
Hi,
I just completed the camino portugues from Lisbon. I am very thankfull that I had access to such a amount of informations on this forum before leaving and will post myself soon.
But before that I would like to make a report on the bad experiences some of my fellow female travellers had to go through.
I didn’t meet a lot of pilgrims on this camino and let’s say I really got close to 3 female pilgrims, who were walking alone, at separate moments of the journey.
Out of these three, two were sexually harassed in Portugal.
One in the early morning hour, before dawn, just out of Vilarinho, on the central after Porto (Man following her in a car and shouting insanities, she speaks portuguese). The second right after Aguaçadoura, on the coastal (exhibitionist masturbating).
Both were very scared and managed to escape. They didn’t report to the police.
This made me think that the stories we hear about now and then must really be the tip of the iceberg. I think this is really a major problem on this camino and that women should keep on being fully informed before walking alone.
I hope that the local police, when the cases are brought, takes this seriously.
 
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slmb

New Member
Past OR future Camino
2022
Hi,
I just completed the camino portugues from Lisbon. I am very thankfull that I had access to such a amount of informations on this forum before leaving and will post myself soon.
But before that I would like to make a report on the bad experiences some of my fellow female travellers had to go through.
I didn’t meet a lot of pilgrims on this camino and let’s say I really got close to 3 female pilgrims, who were walking alone, at separate moments of the journey.
Out of these three, two were sexually harassed in Portugal.
One in the early morning hour, before dawn, just out of Vilarinho, on the central after Porto (Man following her in a car and shouting insanities, she speaks portuguese). The second right after Aguaçadoura, on the coastal (exhibitionist masturbating).
Both were very scared and managed to escape. They didn’t report to the police.
This made me think that the stories we hear about now and then must really be the tip of the iceberg. I think this is really a major problem on this camino and that women should keep on being fully informed before walking alone.
I hope that the local police, when the cases are brought, takes this seriously.
Thank you for posting this. I have been planning my Camino along that route and have wondered about the isolation of it and walking as a solo female. I've heard a few things about this but your post confirms that it really is happening and like you say, it's the tip of the iceberg if incidents aren't being reported. I actually crave that isolation but not at the risk of harming myself. Sadly, I'm going to change my route. Again, thank you 🙏.
 
Past OR future Camino
Future
I heard that this could also be the case on the Frances, but nothing to report here. Finished and felt safe walking solo at all times… I am planning to do the Portuguese in the future, so I truly hope that such instances would be addressed. I know that the Spanish camino has an easy way of reporting via the AlertCops app… wondering if Portugal has a similar way of reporting this making it easy for pilgrims when they don’t speak the local language
 
One of the best things about the Camino is that it's safe, and open to all including the many intrepid women who in an age of anxiety and mistrust bravely choose to walk alone.

It's outrageous that sick and depraved individuals behave like this, and in my experience the police are zero-tolerant such behaviour. This is why these incidents should, in my view, always be reported. The police know whose these people are, and they will deal with them.

However, I've never heard of an attack on the Camino more serious than cat-calling and exhibitionism. The risk is that women may be deterred from walking the Camino out of fear, and even one such instance would be one too many.

Such people exist everywhere, unfortunately, and I think there are far, far fewer in rural Spain and Portugal than in Ireland, the UK and the USA.

Don't let these creeps stop you from walking. That way they win.
Without minimising the horror and wickedness of these actions, these cowards rarely attack ... and if I ever see such a thing myself, although as a Christian and a man I find it impossible not to pity someone who has fallen so low, and as a pacifist I abhor violence, I guarantee you they won't do it again.

Walk on, brave peregrina. Buen Camino.
 
Past OR future Camino
Future
One of the best things about the Camino is that it's safe, and open to all including the many intrepid women who in an age of anxiety and mistrust bravely choose to walk alone.

It's outrageous that sick and depraved individuals behave like this, and in my experience the police are zero-tolerant such behaviour. This is why these incidents should, in my view, always be reported. The police know whose these people are, and they will deal with them.

However, I've never heard of an attack on the Camino more serious than cat-calling and exhibitionism. The risk is that women may be deterred from walking the Camino out of fear, and even one such instance would be one too many.

Such people exist everywhere, unfortunately, and I think there are far, far fewer in rural Spain and Portugal than in Ireland, the UK and the USA.

Don't let these creeps stop you from walking. That way they win.
Without minimising the horror and wickedness of these actions, these cowards rarely attack ... and if I ever see such a thing myself, although as a Christian and a man I find it impossible not to pity someone who has fallen so low, and as a pacifist I abhor violence, I guarantee you they won't do it again.

Walk on, brave peregrina. Buen Camino.
I agree! And get a whistle! I did… I never had to use it, but i had it just in case… to alert others who may be too far to hear you
 
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LTfit

Veteran Member
Hi,
I just completed the camino portugues from Lisbon. I am very thankfull that I had access to such a amount of informations on this forum before leaving and will post myself soon.
But before that I would like to make a report on the bad experiences some of my fellow female travellers had to go through.
I didn’t meet a lot of pilgrims on this camino and let’s say I really got close to 3 female pilgrims, who were walking alone, at separate moments of the journey.
Out of these three, two were sexually harassed in Portugal.
One in the early morning hour, before dawn, just out of Vilarinho, on the central after Porto (Man following her in a car and shouting insanities, she speaks portuguese). The second right after Aguaçadoura, on the coastal (exhibitionist masturbating).
Both were very scared and managed to escape. They didn’t report to the police.
This made me think that the stories we hear about now and then must really be the tip of the iceberg. I think this is really a major problem on this camino and that women should keep on being fully informed before walking alone.
I hope that the local police, when the cases are brought, takes this seriously.
This is very unfortunate but the women in question should have reported this to the police. The local police will be more on the lookout if women take the time to make a statement.
 

Francisco Garcia

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances, Portuges
Esto es dantesco yo recomiendo a las chicas que van solas se compren un expray de pimienta yo te aseguro que al que le de ese se le quitan las ganas , tambien vale para los perros violentos pero mejor ir acompañados , esos individuos son cobardes y solo se atreven cuando ven mujeres solas ,,,

Google translation: This is daunting, I recommend that girls who go alone buy a pepper spray, I assure you that whoever gets that one will lose the desire, it is also valid for violent dogs but it is better to be accompanied, these individuals are cowards and only dare when they see women alone ,,,
 
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Past OR future Camino
Future
Esto es dantesco yo recomiendo a las chicas que van solas se compren un expray de pimienta yo te aseguro que al que le de ese se le quitan las ganas , tambien vale para los perros violentos pero mejor ir acompañados , esos individuos son cobardes y solo se atreven cuando ven mujeres solas ,,,
I was originally thinking about the pepper spray, but I quickly decided against it and went for the whistle instead… I mean - why do we do the camino? It’s a test and I wouldn’t want to walk my spiritual journey equipped with a “weapon” - I decided to have have faith instead… I don’t carry a pepper spray with me in NYC, so why bring it to Spain… don’t let fear cloud your camino… I understand how one may feel, but sometimes you have to trust the process… some may think otherwise, but I am not on a team pepper spray myself… but do as u see fit… also, pepper spray is not as easy to use as it seems and all camino dogs I have met are super friendly with pilgrims - why would anyone want to harm them?!
 
Past OR future Camino
2020
Hi,
I just completed the camino portugues from Lisbon. I am very thankfull that I had access to such a amount of informations on this forum before leaving and will post myself soon.
But before that I would like to make a report on the bad experiences some of my fellow female travellers had to go through.
I didn’t meet a lot of pilgrims on this camino and let’s say I really got close to 3 female pilgrims, who were walking alone, at separate moments of the journey.
Out of these three, two were sexually harassed in Portugal.
One in the early morning hour, before dawn, just out of Vilarinho, on the central after Porto (Man following her in a car and shouting insanities, she speaks portuguese). The second right after Aguaçadoura, on the coastal (exhibitionist masturbating).
Both were very scared and managed to escape. They didn’t report to the police.
This made me think that the stories we hear about now and then must really be the tip of the iceberg. I think this is really a major problem on this camino and that women should keep on being fully informed before walking alone.
I hope that the local police, when the cases are brought, takes this seriously.
Hello.
I hope that all who were hasseled reported the fact. I walked alone aged 74 ( maybe age was in my favour) and I felt safe every step of the way. Hopefully after hip surgery I will be able to report another safe journey next year!
 
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Past OR future Camino
CF- Finisterre-Muxia 03/17; Camino SK 10/17; Norte 03/18; Ingles 11/18; Augusta 03/19
Hi,
I just completed the camino portugues from Lisbon. I am very thankfull that I had access to such a amount of informations on this forum before leaving and will post myself soon.
But before that I would like to make a report on the bad experiences some of my fellow female travellers had to go through.
I didn’t meet a lot of pilgrims on this camino and let’s say I really got close to 3 female pilgrims, who were walking alone, at separate moments of the journey.
Out of these three, two were sexually harassed in Portugal.
One in the early morning hour, before dawn, just out of Vilarinho, on the central after Porto (Man following her in a car and shouting insanities, she speaks portuguese). The second right after Aguaçadoura, on the coastal (exhibitionist masturbating).
Both were very scared and managed to escape. They didn’t report to the police.
This made me think that the stories we hear about now and then must really be the tip of the iceberg. I think this is really a major problem on this camino and that women should keep on being fully informed before walking alone.
I hope that the local police, when the cases are brought, takes this seriously.
The man exposing himself near Armenteira on the Spiritual Variante route has been repeatedly reported to police since September (in the FB CAMIGAs group it’s been reported at least 3-4 times) yet this apparently psychiatric make patient obviously still roams free. Congrats again Fred. It was fun to share the early stages with you!
 
Past OR future Camino
2020
One of the best things about the Camino is that it's safe, and open to all including the many intrepid women who in an age of anxiety and mistrust bravely choose to walk alone.

It's outrageous that sick and depraved individuals behave like this, and in my experience the police are zero-tolerant such behaviour. This is why these incidents should, in my view, always be reported. The police know whose these people are, and they will deal with them.

However, I've never heard of an attack on the Camino more serious than cat-calling and exhibitionism. The risk is that women may be deterred from walking the Camino out of fear, and even one such instance would be one too many.

Such people exist everywhere, unfortunately, and I think there are far, far fewer in rural Spain and Portugal than in Ireland, the UK and the USA.

Don't let these creeps stop you from walking. That way they win.
Without minimising the horror and wickedness of these actions, these cowards rarely attack ... and if I ever see such a thing myself, although as a Christian and a man I find it impossible not to pity someone who has fallen so low, and as a pacifist I abhor violence, I guarantee you they won't do it again.

Walk on, brave peregrina. Buen Camino.
Wow! Now I feel that as a geriatric (74years) I was lucky to have had NO bad experiences. I walked Porto to Santiago. Next year, if my new hip permits I hope to walk San Sebastian, Guernica, via Oviedo to Santiago, Bom Camino!
 
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Fred2a

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Portuguès oct 2020
All in all, I think I’d still choose to do Portuguese Route and just trust the process like I have on the French way
Thanks for your reactions.
The last thing I want is to prevent female pilgrim to walk the camino. Just know what can happen before going and be prepared.

And know that the portugues way is very different from the french where other pilgrims are always more or less in sight. At least from Lisbon to Porto, you might walk days without meeting any pilgrim. Either on the road side or in the forest. I started on the 9 th of october.
 
Past OR future Camino
Francés and Portugal
I walked the Portugues Central from Porto with my husband in September. I was walking ahead alone and came to a small park just outside a small village, Fontoura. There was a house overlooking the park. A man stood inside watching me through a very large window fully naked while masturbating. When my husband caught up with me, we continued walking. Later that day, I sent a message to the town counsel detailing the incident with a map and pictures of the house. I never heard back from them. I’m assuming because it’s not illegal to do this in your own home. I was disappointed but I guess I understand. Regardless, it was unsettling to experience this and I wonder how many women have had to experience this while walking alone. It stayed with me the rest of the walk.
 

marja71

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Fisterra, camino portugeus, padre Sarmiento
Thank you for posting this. I have been planning my Camino along that route and have wondered about the isolation of it and walking as a solo female. I've heard a few things about this but your post confirms that it really is happening and like you say, it's the tip of the iceberg if incidents aren't being reported. I actually crave that isolation but not at the risk of harming myself. Sadly, I'm going to change my route. Again, thank you 🙏.
I walked along the coast solo, no bad experiences, only friendly people.
 

Fred2a

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Portuguès oct 2020
I’m a solo walker too and I couldn’t imagine walking with somebody the whole way.
So female pilgrims if you want to go just go !!
Relaxed and open minded.
Portuguese people are very nice and caring.

The point of my post is really to invite pilgrims to get prepare just in case and to know how to react.
Get a specialised app for sure. I think any kind of weapon is a bad idea as it can make things worst.
I’m not a paranoïd kind of person. I don’t like people who see danger everywhere and are always defensive. They miss so much. Especially on a camino where exchanges are essentials.
 
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Helen Avoca

Slow walker.
Past OR future Camino
Planning to finish to Chemin Le Puy in April 2022.
But, I don't think that attacks on the Camino are a "really major problem" as the OP states.
Harassment of women is a major problem on this earth. In my experience women think about how to manage this regularly. We probably don’t need advice, report or not, for example. The question for the many, many supportive men out there might be ‘what can I do’, and not just on the Camino, because the Camino is life.
 
Past OR future Camino
2018
One of the best things about the Camino is that it's safe, and open to all including the many intrepid women who in an age of anxiety and mistrust bravely choose to walk alone.

It's outrageous that sick and depraved individuals behave like this, and in my experience the police are zero-tolerant such behaviour. This is why these incidents should, in my view, always be reported. The police know whose these people are, and they will deal with them.

However, I've never heard of an attack on the Camino more serious than cat-calling and exhibitionism. The risk is that women may be deterred from walking the Camino out of fear, and even one such instance would be one too many.

Such people exist everywhere, unfortunately, and I think there are far, far fewer in rural Spain and Portugal than in Ireland, the UK and the USA.

Don't let these creeps stop you from walking. That way they win.
Without minimising the horror and wickedness of these actions, these cowards rarely attack ... and if I ever see such a thing myself, although as a Christian and a man I find it impossible not to pity someone who has fallen so low, and as a pacifist I abhor violence, I guarantee you they won't do it again.

Walk on, brave peregrina. Buen Camino.
Yes!
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Past OR future Camino
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
I walked solo from LIsbon and from Porto took the coastal route. I personally did not experience anything untoward, but I was aware of several incidents reported to the police during the time I was walking.
 

walkinglover

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances, '16 and '18; Portuguese '17; Ingles - 19
Hi,
I just completed the camino portugues from Lisbon. I am very thankfull that I had access to such a amount of informations on this forum before leaving and will post myself soon.
But before that I would like to make a report on the bad experiences some of my fellow female travellers had to go through.
I didn’t meet a lot of pilgrims on this camino and let’s say I really got close to 3 female pilgrims, who were walking alone, at separate moments of the journey.
Out of these three, two were sexually harassed in Portugal.
One in the early morning hour, before dawn, just out of Vilarinho, on the central after Porto (Man following her in a car and shouting insanities, she speaks portuguese). The second right after Aguaçadoura, on the coastal (exhibitionist masturbating).
Both were very scared and managed to escape. They didn’t report to the police.
This made me think that the stories we hear about now and then must really be the tip of the iceberg. I think this is really a major problem on this camino and that women should keep on being fully informed before walking alone.
I hope that the local police, when the cases are brought, takes this seriously.
I am very sorry that the women didn't report the incidents to the police. Doing so helps protect all pilgrims. Forgive this generalization, but after doing the Portuguese route once, the Frances twice, and the Ingles once. this behavior seems to be most prevalent on the Portuguese route. In '17, we encountered a number of women who experienced men exposing themselves. We didn't experience this probably because my husband was with me.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
I think it’s unwise to make generalizations about the problem of flashing in Spain and Portugal based on anecdotal evidence. We know that it happens on Caminos in both countries. I’ve been flashed seven or eight times in Spain and never in Portugal, but I don’t think I have any way to generalize based on that sample. I think the important message is that unfortunately this happens, and that female pilgrims should be alert and ALWAYS report incidents to the police.

It’s up to the individual to decide whether these reports change her mind about walking alone, it’s a matter of your own comfort level and whether you are fearful because of these reports. But I would urge everybody to take stock of the real risk by looking at some statistical comparisons of sexual violence in Spain and Portugal as compared to your home country.
 
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I'm sure I speak for all of the men who walk the Camino when I say we stand in solidarity with our Camino sisters, and in refusing to let these depraved individuals bully them from their right to walk free from fear.

Perhaps this might help. Get the WhatsApp of a man walking the same route, ask him to walk 500 meters before you or behind, and live share your location. Keep WhatsApp open so you can text at once if you're molested. You can be certain that any of us would rush to protect you, and either frighten the coward away or hold him until the police arrive. The Camino provides in many ways, but mostly by pilgrims helping each other ... Let us be your guardian angels, it would be an honour.
 

muddy-mama

Member
Past OR future Camino
2020
I heard that this could also be the case on the Frances, but nothing to report here. Finished and felt safe walking solo at all times… I am planning to do the Portuguese in the future, so I truly hope that such instances would be addressed. I know that the Spanish camino has an easy way of reporting via the AlertCops app… wondering if Portugal has a similar way of reporting this making it easy for pilgrims when they don’t speak the local language
Like you I walked the Frances this year and plan to do the Portuguese next year. I was never far from other Pilgrims, I couldn't always see them, even though I walked at a much slower pace. I just needed to stop and tie my shoe lace or have a drink of water and someone would stop and ask me if I was alright.
A few tips if this happens to you. If someone is being an exhibitionist don.t directly look at them but keep an eye on them from the corner of your eye. Walk past quickly it would be hard for them to catch you with their trousers round their ankles. Don't laugh at them unless there are other people around. Blow hard on your whistle and as a last resort use your walking poles as a weapon.
To all women (and men) young or just young at heart, don.t be afraid to walk the Camino it is a great experience.
 

truenorthpilgrim

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Norte post-pandemic
Harassment of women is a major problem on this earth. In my experience women think about how to manage this regularly. We probably don’t need advice, report or not, for example. The question for the many, many supportive men out there might be ‘what can I do’, and not just on the Camino, because the Camino is life.
Exactly this. Women have entire flowcharts hardwired in their brains on how to keep themselves safe from harassment; it's so second nature that most of the time we don't even know it exists within us.
 
Past OR future Camino
2019
We see numerous reports of creeps doing this to women walking solo in Portugal and in Spain.
“Unpleasant” is putting it mildly. It’s disturbing, troubling and appalling.
I don’t subscribe to this idea of “trusting the process,” whatever that means. With all due respect, we are talking here about sexual harassment and near-assault. It’s real. It’s not a process.
I’m a strong bloke and fit but I still carry a loud whistle, I still try to walk within eyesight or earshot of others and I maintain my alertness to risks and dangers nonetheless. Does it spoil my Camino? No. Does it detract from the pilgrimage experience? No. Is it a negative overlay? No. It’s simply a common sense thing to do so that you are safe and you come out ok and with some sense of control over your environment and your safety. It’s the one percent that need a good solid kick in the groin. In saying that, I take nothing away for the many, yes the 99% of Spanish and Portuguese people who are kind, friendly and hospitable. So, no need for alarm or panic but let’s not dismiss or play down the seriousness either. It’s real. It’s possible. And It’s manageable providing we take some precautions and look out for each other.
 
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To Santiago and back (roads & paths; Tours; Francés; sea; roads & paths)
We probably don’t need advice, report or not, for example.
This comment has been bugging me for a while.

I agree that we, as women, don't need a lot of the advice that is often being offered when we read about such incidences. I myself intend to move myself away from the situation as quickly and quietly as I can; I have no intentions of pointing and laughing, or manipulating my poles and approaching the person, or wrestling my camera or some kind of spray out of my backpack when I don't keep this stuff in my hands all the time. Not sure about the use of an emergency whistle when I don't feel that I am in very clear and imminent danger ... but good to know and to practice beforehand and know where it is if it is incorporated in one's backpack.

But, and I think that I can say this at least for my generation, we need to hear the advice to report, report, report; we need to hear it again and again. We need to unlearn that men masturbating in the public space, in our shared public space, and with the explicit intention to be seen and interact at least visually if not more, is something that happens everywhere or that happens elsewhere supposedly even more often than on a Camino, something that we must put behind us quickly, something that is not a big deal. It needs to be reported to the police, no matter what happens with the report. When an incidence happens we need to hear it and be reminded that it must be reported. I believe that this is a major factor for change. Make it public. Report it. It is not trivial and it must not be covered with silence.

In this sense: Thank you, @Fred2a, for your initial post.
 
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Past OR future Camino
2018
We see numerous reports of creeps doing this to women walking solo in Portugal and in Spain.
“Unpleasant” is putting it mildly. It’s disturbing, troubling and appalling.
I don’t subscribe to this idea of “trusting the process,” whatever that means. With all due respect, we are talking here about sexual harassment and near-assault. It’s real. It’s not a process.
I’m a strong bloke and fit but I still carry a loud whistle, I still try to walk within eyesight or earshot of others and I maintain my alertness to risks and dangers nonetheless. Does it spoil my Camino? No. Does it detract from the pilgrimage experience? No. Is it a negative overlay? No. It’s simply a common sense thing to do so that you are safe and you come out ok and with some sense of control over your environment and your safety. It’s the one percent that need a good solid kick in the groin. In saying that, I take nothing away for the many, yes the 99% of Spanish and Portuguese people who are kind, friendly and hospitable. So, no need for alarm or panic but let’s not dismiss or play down the seriousness either. It’s real. It’s possible. And It’s manageable providing we take some precautions and look out for each other.
In a way it is like walking alone in any big city. There are a few pick pockets/thugs/whatever scattered among us so it’s wise to have a whistle handy, keep another person in view when possible, etc. using the whistle or yelling as loud as you can may be enough to unsettle the person so you can get away, or they hurry off.
Happily in my Caminos I only once a man who looked a bit dicey and nothing unpleasant happened.
 

Helen Avoca

Slow walker.
Past OR future Camino
Planning to finish to Chemin Le Puy in April 2022.
This comment has been bugging me for a while.

I agree that we, as women, don't need a lot of the advice that is often being offered when we read about such incidences. I myself intend to move myself away from the situation as quickly and quietly as I can; I have no intentions of pointing and laughing, or manipulating my poles and approaching the person, or wrestling my camera or some kind of spray out of my backpack when I don't keep this stuff in my hands all the time. Not sure about the use of an emergency whistle when I don't feel that I am in very clear and imminent danger ... but good to know and to practice beforehand and know where it is if it is incorporated in one's backpack.

But, and I think that I can say this at least for my generation, we need to hear the advice to report, report, report; we need to hear it again and again. We need to unlearn that men masturbating in the public space, in our shared public space, and with the explicit intention to be seen and interact at least visually if not more, is something that happens everywhere or that happens elsewhere supposedly even more often than on a Camino, something that we must put behind us quickly, something that is not a big deal. It needs to be reported to the police, no matter what happens with the report. When an incidence happens we need to hear it and be reminded that it must be reported. I believe that this is a major factor for change. Make it public. Report it. It is not trivial and it must not be covered with silence.

In this sense: Thank you, @Fred2a, for your initial post.
Yes, good call. For you and those who feel you want or need to do that, do it. It is your journey and empowering.
For me? That will be my call.
I have had days where I intend to call out all gendered aggression. It’s exhausting and I give up early.
I don’t feel responsible for managing a flashers behaviour, I may not want it define my day.
Please don’t judge me for not policing some bloke’s behaviour. I’m not God’s police. I’m just a peregrina.
 
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2002, Toulouse/Aragon 2005, Cami S Jaume/Aragon 2007/9, Mont Saint Michel/Norte/Vadiniense 2011, Norte/Primitivo 2013, Norte/Primitivo 2014. Norte 2015, Cami S Jaume/Castellano-Aragonese 2016
What if the Guardia Civil and the GNR asked female officers to walk the Camino, in plain clothes of course? I'm sure there'd be many volunteers.
This does happen on the Frances and del Norte, although the Guardia is supplemented in places by local police.

Others have mentioned reporting to the police. Although sometimes this is not effective (an example is quoted above), nothing can happen without reporting, and I would submit that nothing will. In those cases where the offensive behaviour is not against Spanish or Portuguese law (flashing is not in many circumstances), the Guardia is particularly concerned about the effect on the pilgrimage, and will assist local social and medical authorities in getting professional help for the individual.

As well as this, provide reports to your national pilgrim associations. They are able to convey concerns to the Portuguese and Spanish embassies, which are very anxious to address issues of travellers to Spain. especially as they work to rebuild their tourism industry. This gets passed on to police forces, and helps focus their attention.

Of course, none of this supplants the practical advice other forum members have given but I have had some experience dealing with the Spanish authorities, and reporting will make a difference.
 
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peregrina2000

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I am posting in an older post that describes the current status of the law in Spain dealing with public masturbation. I respect those who choose not to report, but think that public awareness and pressure are the only ways to effectuate change. So count me as one of those who encourages women to report these incidents. They are taken seriously.

Since there is local discretion, it seems logical that pressure and attention on local councils along the camino will result in some response. But without that pressure and attention, we can be sure nothing will change. The current legislation came about as the result of a lot of public outcry, so it stands to reason that further change will require more of the same.


The penal code (criminal law) only punishes flashing when it is done before minors or the handicapped. The new law from 2015, the Law of Citizen Security, is not a criminal law. It is what in Spain is referred to as an administrative law. Flashing/exhibitionism under that law is catagorized as a “minor infraction” and carries with it a fine of 100 to 600 euros. All people of any age or ability level are protected under that law. But noone can be arrested or detained by the police for a minor infraction. (If the perpetrator doesn’t carry ID with him when stopped, though, he can be brought into the station, but technically that is not because of the infraction but because of the lack of ID).

The administrative law prohibits “attempts against sexual freedom” or incidents that “cause damage to your sexuality.” It took me a while to understand how flashing me can harm my sexuality or my sexual freedom, but my friend explained it in these terms, though I am translating here: “We are all free to enjoy our own sexuality so long as we respect the sexuality of others. If someone masturbates in my presence against my will, he is infringing on my sexual freedom because he is obliging me to watch it. No one has the right to upset my own “sexual equilibrium” without my consent."

This new law accomplished a couple of changes in Spain. Before the law, each municipality had the option to pass its own administrative ordinance against flashing (or not). This new law applies throughout Spain. It also standardizes the fine levels – from 100 to 600 euros. Before this law, even in those cities with ordinances against flashing, the fines were laughable, she remembers some of 20-30 euros.

So here are my take-aways from all this tedious legal minutia. One, authorities now have the power to punish flashing on the Camino, though the penalties may not be as high as some would like. Two, the drumbeat of report, report, report is even more pertinent now, because as of 2015 there is a written law that can form the basis of real action.
 
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To Santiago and back (roads & paths; Tours; Francés; sea; roads & paths)
Others have mentioned reporting to the police. Although sometimes this is not effective (an example is quoted above), nothing can happen without reporting, and I would submit that nothing will. In those cases where the offensive behaviour is not against Spanish or Portuguese law (flashing is not in many circumstances), the Guardia is particularly concerned about the effect on the pilgrimage, and will assist local social and medical authorities in getting professional help for the individual.
Thank you for your contribution and description of what I think is an accurate description of situations/attitudes.

As I learnt about it by chance today, I thought I mention this for potential future reference: the Spanish Parliament is currently debating a proposal for a law that is known in Spain as the Sólo sí es sí law. This means that the final version of the law is not yet fixed and it is not in force. It is certainly not a topic for us to debate on this forum. The proposal seeks to address apparent shortcomings in the Spanish penal code concerning the definition of sexual assault such as rape. However, from what I read about it, it could also include acts such as masturbation in public in the presence of non-consenting adults which could open the possibility of other sanctions than the current option of an 'administrative fine'. It would certainly contribute to changing views. But, as I said, I mention it just for info and for potential future reference.
 

peregrina2000

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Staff member
Knowing that this is a topic of current interest to the people who make the laws that protect us is a great reason for us to keep on reporting and keep on shining light on the problem.


The proposal seeks to address apparent shortcomings in the Spanish penal code concerning the definition of sexual assault such as rape. However, from what I read about it, it could also include acts such as masturbation in public in the presence of non-consenting adults which could open the possibility of other sanctions than the current option of an 'administrative fine'.

I agree that we can’t debate it on the forum, but please keep us up to date if you learn more about how the law advances.
 
Thanks to all contributors for shining a light on a serious problem. Regrettably, traditional societies are only now coming to realise the great damage this behaviour can cause, and the risk that it may escalate unless checked at its Inception. My own, Ireland was slow in this regard but is now moving rapidly to tackle these crimes, and no doubt Spain will also.

This is an important for the Camino, since many lone walkers are on the Camino to regain their spiritual and and psychological well-being and are very vulnerable to this kind of trauma.

The Camino is unique in our world in giving this consolation, especially in the loving care which fellow pilgrims provide in great and little ways. As a result of this thread I'm going to be more aware of this as I walk and cycle, and while keeping a respectful distance I'll look out for solo female pilgrims on the trail and be vigilant to help if I can. We need to look out for each other, and that's one of the lessons the Camino teaches us as we trudge towards Santiago to be reborn.
 

nassim

New Member
Past OR future Camino
2021
One of the best things about the Camino is that it's safe, and open to all including the many intrepid women who in an age of anxiety and mistrust bravely choose to walk alone.

It's outrageous that sick and depraved individuals behave like this, and in my experience the police are zero-tolerant such behaviour. This is why these incidents should, in my view, always be reported. The police know whose these people are, and they will deal with them.

However, I've never heard of an attack on the Camino more serious than cat-calling and exhibitionism. The risk is that women may be deterred from walking the Camino out of fear, and even one such instance would be one too many.

Such people exist everywhere, unfortunately, and I think there are far, far fewer in rural Spain and Portugal than in Ireland, the UK and the USA.

Don't let these creeps stop you from walking. That way they win.
Without minimising the horror and wickedness of these actions, these cowards rarely attack ... and if I ever see such a thing myself, although as a Christian and a man I find it impossible not to pity someone who has fallen so low, and as a pacifist I abhor violence, I guarantee you they won't do it again.

Walk on, brave peregrina. Buen Camino.
Your whole post has been minimizing and then you conclude with "without minimizing...". Too many men who have absolutely no clue what they're talking about feel entitled to comment on these threads.
 
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SabineP

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some and then more. see my signature.
Thanks to all contributors for shining a light on a serious problem. Regrettably, traditional societies are only now coming to realise the great damage this behaviour can cause, and the risk that it may escalate unless checked at its Inception. My own, Ireland was slow in this regard but is now moving rapidly to tackle these crimes, and no doubt Spain will also.

This is an important for the Camino, since many lone walkers are on the Camino to regain their spiritual and and psychological well-being and are very vulnerable to this kind of trauma.

The Camino is unique in our world in giving this consolation, especially in the loving care which fellow pilgrims provide in great and little ways. As a result of this thread I'm going to be more aware of this as I walk and cycle, and while keeping a respectful distance I'll look out for solo female pilgrims on the trail and be vigilant to help if I can. We need to look out for each other, and that's one of the lessons the Camino teaches us as we trudge towards Santiago to be reborn.


Although I know you mean well but please do not generalise! In your post you insinuate that many " lone " walkers are on the Camino to regain their psychological well being and that they are vulnerable to this kind of trauma.
First of all I doubt that many people walk a Camino for this reason.
Secondly : everybody would feel vulnerable after such a traumatic experience! Men and women btw.

I do not need the vigilance of fellow male pilgrims , as friendly as it is ment.
We just need others to respect our physical and emotional borders .

And I certainly do not trudge towards Santigo to be reborn!
 
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One of the best things about the Camino is that it's safe, and open to all including the many intrepid women who in an age of anxiety and mistrust bravely choose to walk alone.

It's outrageous that sick and depraved individuals behave like this, and in my experience the police are zero-tolerant such behaviour. This is why these incidents should, in my view, always be reported. The police know whose these people are, and they will deal with them.

However, I've never heard of an attack on the Camino more serious than cat-calling and exhibitionism. The risk is that women may be deterred from walking the Camino out of fear, and even one such instance would be one too many.

Such people exist everywhere, unfortunately, and I think there are far, far fewer in rural Spain and Portugal than in Ireland, the UK and the USA.

Don't let these creeps stop you from walking. That way they win.
Without minimising the horror and wickedness of these actions, these cowards rarely attack ... and if I ever see such a thing myself, although as a Christian and a man I find it impossible not to pity someone who has fallen so low, and as a pacifist I abhor violence, I guarantee you they won't do it again.

Walk on, brave peregrina. Buen Camino.
Hey Gerald,
So you didn't hear about Denise Thiem? That wasn't just an attack. She was murdered.
And did you not hear about our forum member Sara Dhoomer being attacked on the Camino?

Though I agree the Camino is probably safer than walking down any street in the inner cities of the United States, I do understand the fear and dread when women are confronted by men waving their penis like a weapon.

Maybe back up a bit? I understand you are trying to be supportive, but it might feel otherwise to some females?
 
I'm sorry Nassim, but I don't understand your post.

I don't believe I've been minimising this problem. I've tried to make practical suggestions about how to deal with it both in terms of what I can do myself and what I think we all may be able to do.

You clearly agree with me that this is a very serious matter. So with respect, where are your suggestions for what to do about it?

Until you make some positive practical contribution to the discussion, as I and other contributors have tried to do, I'm afraid you may be the one who "(has) absolutely no clue what they're talking about feel entitled to comment on these threads."
 
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I'm sorry Nassim, but I don't understand your post.
@Gerard Griffin, I do understand her post. There is a general feeling, these days and among numerous women, that women in general do not need to change their behaviour. And that men in general do not need to change their behaviour either. What needs to change is the behaviour of a minority of men who masturbate in the public space, and who are doing so intentionally in public space shared with non-consenting women. And what society in general, including the law in force in a country, can do to achieve this. So many of the suggestions that are frequently made - I am going to hit him, I am going to watch over you women - are made with good intentions but they are besides this important point.
 
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I'm sorry to have unintentionally offended, and this will be my last posting on this subject.

Brief clarifying points.

Until I read this thread I didn't know about the attack or the murder. I suspect that others didn't either, and that's why the post has been so useful.

Many pilgrims are walking for the spiritual reasons I have given. Others are walking for fun or fitness. But not all. The "reborn" allusion was to a Yeats poem. Apt for spiritual walkers I think.

Finally, I don't feel vulnerable to flashers. And I'll certainly not refrain from interfering if I see a fellow pilgrim being attacked, whether they feel the need for my vigilance or not.
 
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