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Luggage Transfer Correos

The Difference Between Men And Women

omar504

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016,2017,2018
No..not that....I've noticed several women have reported incidences of flashers and unwelcome attention,recently on the Portuguese. I've done this route a few times and can only recall the occasional strange looking bloke on the path but obviously I'm not target. Clearly this is distressing
This made me think how do women assess a situation/person to judge whether there is something dodgy going on? I recall different caminos in out of the way places in France and have often shared a room with a female and if anything I was aprehensive but I must be a harmless looking bloke! as they were totally unfazed and,like me,just wanted to sleep..but how do they know?! One incident surprised me and female friends I've told it to are amazed.....Once again in France I was lost (again) and standing on the side of the road looking at my guide book when a car stopped and woman driver asked if I was lost. I told her where I was headed and she offered me a lift. I hoped in and noticed her 3/4 year old child in the back. we took off and she said she had to stop in a shop..which she did and left me in the car with her child for about 10 minutes then she dropped me off. Even I was surprised as I wasn't even hitching,she offered a lift and had a child in the car...I must look very harmless! I do wonder what a female would have done if a car stopped,with a male driver,and was offered a lift.?....I'm guessing run a mile.
 

Gabe_Way

Member
Camino(s) past & future
I'm starting CF from SPDP on May 5th, 2019
(Walking)
No..not that....I've noticed several women have reported incidences of flashers and unwelcome attention,recently on the Portuguese. I've done this route a few times and can only recall the occasional strange looking bloke on the path but obviously I'm not target. Clearly this is distressing
This made me think how do women assess a situation/person to judge whether there is something dodgy going on? I recall different caminos in out of the way places in France and have often shared a room with a female and if anything I was aprehensive but I must be a harmless looking bloke! as they were totally unfazed and,like me,just wanted to sleep..but how do they know?! One incident surprised me and female friends I've told it to are amazed.....Once again in France I was lost (again) and standing on the side of the road looking at my guide book when a car stopped and woman driver asked if I was lost. I told her where I was headed and she offered me a lift. I hoped in and noticed her 3/4 year old child in the back. we took off and she said she had to stop in a shop..which she did and left me in the car with her child for about 10 minutes then she dropped me off. Even I was surprised as I wasn't even hitching,she offered a lift and had a child in the car...I must look very harmless! I do wonder what a female would have done if a car stopped,with a male driver,and was offered a lift.?....I'm guessing run a mile.
Ted Bundy looked very harmless, but... Well, we all know what he did. :confused:
 

omar504

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016,2017,2018
That was sort of my point...how can you tell?
I was tempted to say wasnt Ted Bundy in Marrried With Children?
 

Gabe_Way

Member
Camino(s) past & future
I'm starting CF from SPDP on May 5th, 2019
(Walking)
That was sort of my point...how can you tell?
I was tempted to say wasnt Ted Bundy in Marrried With Children?
Exactly! :) that was my point too. We can't judge a book from its cover. Very often people who look harmless are the ones committing the worst crimes. That lady is surely a wonderful person, but she has been naive in letting a stranger in with her toddler in the backseat of her car. I wish we could trust everyone, and I'm sure, if not the majority of people, a good portion, are good and reliable. But this world has taught us that it's better to be safe than sorry.

p.s. I think the guy dated a woman in the last phase of his life.
 
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Jan_D

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Aragones (2011)
Frances (2012)
Norte (2013, 2014)
Hospitalera (2014)
Portugues (2017)
The woman who offered you a lift sounds very trusting! Although I suppose she was doing you a favour, and believed you wouldn't repay her kindness with anything other than gratitude. I think the fact that you weren't asking for help also played a role - I am sure she would have been a little more wary if you'd been on the side of the road with your thumb out.

I think that, as a woman, there's a subtle feeling of being "on guard" a lot of the time. If I'm walking home late at night, or in a remote place and there's a lone male lurking about, whether or not he looks "dodgy" my heart-rate will rise and I will find myself crossing to the other side of the street (or even running to get home more quickly). But maybe I'm just paranoid, and this isn't a gender thing.. ;)

So yeah, we try and trust our instincts, but, as others have said, a predatory sexual offender can be a wolf in sheep's clothing. There's also the element of surprise: I've been the victim (well, more like witness) of exposure, and each time what gets me is the sheer unexpectedness of it, like, "wow, I not see that coming!" I think victims of more serious assaults often face a lot of guilt, questioning their instincts, etc, which just isn't fair. I think it must be particularly shocking on the camino, where many peregrinas find themselves enjoying a sense of freedom and trust in the goodness of life again; the whole 'camino provides' idea. I think it must be a real shock to the system to have that shattered by someone looking to get a kick out of showing his genitals (or worse). But of course we are guests in these camino countries, where "life goes on", including the less palatable sides of life that unfortunately manage to creep into the camino bubble.

One more thing: speaking for myself at least, I have found myself in a couple of dodgy situations, especially when I was younger, because of a "need to please." My instincts would be saying "No!" but I didn't want to offend. Probably stereotyping to say this applies to women more than men - obviously anyone can be a people-pleaser - but this has been my experience, as well as many of my female friends.

Ok well that post was longer than expected, ha ha. Guess it's a complex topic 😆
 

omar504

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016,2017,2018
The woman who offered you a lift sounds very trusting! Although I suppose she was doing you a favour, and believed you wouldn't repay her kindness with anything other than gratitude. I think the fact that you weren't asking for help also played a role - I am sure she would have been a little more wary if you'd been on the side of the road with your thumb out.

I think that, as a woman, there's a subtle feeling of being "on guard" a lot of the time. If I'm walking home late at night, or in a remote place and there's a lone male lurking about, whether or not he looks "dodgy" my heart-rate will rise and I will find myself crossing to the other side of the street (or even running to get home more quickly). But maybe I'm just paranoid, and this isn't a gender thing.. ;)

So yeah, we try and trust our instincts, but, as others have said, a predatory sexual offender can be a wolf in sheep's clothing. There's also the element of surprise: I've been the victim (well, more like witness) of exposure, and each time what gets me is the sheer unexpectedness of it, like, "wow, I not see that coming!" I think victims of more serious assaults often face a lot of guilt, questioning their instincts, etc, which just isn't fair. I think it must be particularly shocking on the camino, where many peregrinas find themselves enjoying a sense of freedom and trust in the goodness of life again; the whole 'camino provides' idea. I think it must be a real shock to the system to have that shattered by someone looking to get a kick out of showing his genitals (or worse). But of course we are guests in these camino countries, where "life goes on", including the less palatable sides of life that unfortunately manage to creep into the camino bubble.

One more thing: speaking for myself at least, I have found myself in a couple of dodgy situations, especially when I was younger, because of a "need to please." My instincts would be saying "No!" but I didn't want to offend. Probably stereotyping to say this applies to women more than men - obviously anyone can be a people-pleaser - but this has been my experience, as well as many of my female friends.

Ok well that post was longer than expected, ha ha. Guess it's a complex topic 😆
Thanks for your reply...yes it is a complex topic. And,yes,even i was surprised but very gratified that i got a lift as i was WAY off where i was supposed to be
 

Antonius Vaessen

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2015-2016 VdlPlata - Sanabres
2016.Primitivo
2017 Salvador
2018 Norte (to Sobrado)
2019 Norte again
For me the price of distrusting people is far too high, to my feeling you lose far more than you gain when you are to much focused on what might go wrong. To me the woman in the car made a choice that deserves respect, in stead of being characterised as being naive. I would be very pleased to meet such a person when I would be in trouble. (Being a man I perhaps have an other perspective, but in the example the driver could have been a father too)
 

mspath

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
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t2andreo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 to 2018
My advice for women walking solo is to ALWAYS try to pick up "tag alongs" each morning or at a cafe stop. All you need to do is ask them if you can "tag along" with them. You do not have to become BFFs (best friends forever), or even walk next to each other.

All you do is introduce yourself and ask if you can walk along with them. What you are seeking to do is keep others within eyesight at all times, even if they are 100 meters in front or behind you. This way if you get into a problem, one shout should bring help.

In every instance of flashing or other inappropriate behavior the 'victim' is always a woman walking solo out of sight of other pilgrims. I handled a case like this last summer when I was working at the Pilgrim Office. I had to take a young lady to the Nacional Police station to file a complaint.

In any event, without even speculating why this is a problem, simply keeping other pilgrims in sight is the easy way to go. In the off-season, it is more of a problem as there are fewer pilgrims out there. But now, you should have no problem.

I suggest that solo females scout out likely tag alongs the evening they arrive. One can determine, in the dinner camaraderie if someone is to be relied on the following day. If you casually ask what time they are leaving he next morning, you can coordinate your departure.

I know that this will help someone avoid being apprehensive or at risk. The Camino IS very safe, but there are any number of societal reasons for some of this crass misbehavior. Avoidance and strength in numbers is the safe bet.

Be safe out there.
 

Colette Z

Happy Pilgrim
Camino(s) past & future
CF-Finisterra-Muxia 2017; SK Camino Kosiče-Levoča 2017; Norte Mar’18; Ingles Nov’18; VDLP Mar’19
No..not that....I've noticed several women have reported incidences of flashers and unwelcome attention,recently on the Portuguese. I've done this route a few times and can only recall the occasional strange looking bloke on the path but obviously I'm not target. Clearly this is distressing
This made me think how do women assess a situation/person to judge whether there is something dodgy going on? I recall different caminos in out of the way places in France and have often shared a room with a female and if anything I was aprehensive but I must be a harmless looking bloke! as they were totally unfazed and,like me,just wanted to sleep..but how do they know?! One incident surprised me and female friends I've told it to are amazed.....Once again in France I was lost (again) and standing on the side of the road looking at my guide book when a car stopped and woman driver asked if I was lost. I told her where I was headed and she offered me a lift. I hoped in and noticed her 3/4 year old child in the back. we took off and she said she had to stop in a shop..which she did and left me in the car with her child for about 10 minutes then she dropped me off. Even I was surprised as I wasn't even hitching,she offered a lift and had a child in the car...I must look very harmless! I do wonder what a female would have done if a car stopped,with a male driver,and was offered a lift.?....I'm guessing run a mile.
Personally it’s a GUT feeling. I walked the entire El Norte alone and passed lone or 2 guys working in fields or near houses on numerous occasions. Of course my assessment would start from a distance as soon as I spotted them.....on only 1 occasion in 40 odd days did I actually use my Alert Cop Ap for backup.....the guy was in the middle of nowhere (as was I), he was on a motorbike, just gave me a creepy feeling, there was nothing nearby for at least 5 km and I’d already done 30km so was exhausted and my quick look at the map showed he could catch up to me from many routes.....the AlertCops talked me to safety on speaker phone and knew my exact location. Very very unnerving.
 

Cary

Member
Camino(s) past & future
del Norte/Primitivo May 2019
As a woman I listen my gut feeling...If a situation doesn't feel right I heed that instinct. I am by nature a very kindhearted person but I have had to get over the idea that I need to be nice to everyone. I have learned that I don't "owe" anybody anything and I don't always have to be nice. If someone is staring at me I now have no trouble looking right back at them with the "WTF are you looking at" attitude. It's pretty effective. Last thing I want is to look meek and easily subdued. I can guarantee that if someone tries to take advantage of me that they are going to have a fight on their hands.
 

NorthernLight

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy to Santiago via the Frances 2012-2013. EPW2015
Aragonese & Frances 2016
Burgos to Muxia 2017
I've accepted a couple of lifts from men without concern. Context is important. A lift from a nice guy met at a bar is likely riskier than a lift from a random guy passing on the road in the rain.

Seriously, we women are at far greater risk of harm from men that we know, than we are from random strangers.
 

NorthernLight

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy to Santiago via the Frances 2012-2013. EPW2015
Aragonese & Frances 2016
Burgos to Muxia 2017
To add...
I'd be interested to know what the facts are on how frequently a guy waiting in the bushes to show his willie is actually also a rapist.
 

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF2012,Le Puy/CF 2015 Portugues 2017 Norte 2018, CF 2019
Read this reportage by Meaghan Beatley in
today's Guardian and weep for us all.
As the father of two wonderful young women this makes me so angry I don't know if I could be controlled if this had happened to one of my daughters. Men, including myself, have no idea the harassment or fear that women around the world must face.
 

FourSeasons

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF Sept/Oct 2013
CF April/May 2016
del Norte (July/August 2019)
As @Jan_D said, our hearts start racing to alert us, danger, danger.

Funny story from CF 2013, my first Camino. On a crisp September morning leaving Roncesvalles just past the little grocery store I saw an elderly Spaniard gentleman taking his morning stroll with his hands placed behind his back. I offered a smile and a good-morning. He walked over to me speaking his native language, smiled then held out his hand. I reached for his hand as a greeting, then he gripped my hand pulling me in for a KISS :eek:. I quickly turned my head, released my hand and said, no, no, no while shaking my finger at him, as if I was scolding a small child. Then I quickly walked away. This man was harmless and I found it quite endearing, he gave me a chuckle.

Fast forward to another day many miles down the way. I don't recall where it was but it was pretty much in the middle of nowhere going up the side of a hill. There were pilgrims ahead and behind but at this particular moment I was solo on the trail. As I trekked along a man came in view walking towards me from the opposite direction. My body immediately stood up straight and puffed up. My heart raced a little and my eye focused on him. As we got closer I made sure to look him straight in the eye, I didn't smile. He offered me a Buen Camino then reached out his hand. I immediately started laughing, pointing my finger at him, saying no, no, no, I'm not falling for that again. We shared a laugh. 😁 Then we quickly went our opposite ways.

One more tale. On this day I was pretty much alone on the way during this stretch, I recall it was a wide dirt road on a pretty good incline. A dark truck approached and I immediately moved to the side of the road opposite the drivers side. As he slowly drove by he offered me a ride. I looked him in the eye and firmly said, NO THANK YOU, then gave him a closed smile. We both went on our way. Was I a little nervous at this time, yes but I used my instincts and followed through.

Thanks for reading my stories, I hope they help us all to be aware of our surroundings, be ready to stand tall, be ready to run but most of all to listen to your inner voice, your God given instincts. It's a good and crazy world out there.

May His Peace Be With You
😁👣
 
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KinkyOne

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!

FourSeasons

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF Sept/Oct 2013
CF April/May 2016
del Norte (July/August 2019)

Walton

Member
Camino(s) past & future
2016 Sjpp to Sdc. 2018 Lisbon to Sdc to Finisterre. Next up hopefully VDP or Del Norte.
You cannot tell what is in the heart of a person by looks or dress alone.

I have trained with in Wing Chun Kung Fu with some very tough looking men and women that you wouldn't want to mess with - ever.

I have also trained with men and women, who look almost defenceless and helpless, who are just as capable of sending someone to hospital in less than six seconds.

The best way to keep everyone safe is to report and and every threatening / indecent exposure incident to the Police. No question.
 

debra

Member
Camino(s) past & future
VdlP 2010, Frances 2010
Via Francigena 2014 bicigrino
Way of St. Francis 2017 bicigrino
First, I am a woman, second, I grew up hitching rides as the high school bus was the public transit and if missed it was 20 miles to school. About 75% of my high school would hitch at least one ride to school.

I have never refused a ride, no matter who is offering the ride. On the via Francigena I had stopped a truck pull out before a tunnel to pull out my lights and was offered a ride thought the tunnel about 1km and took it, no problems.

When it is my time to die, god will arrange my arrival to the desired location.
 

Davey Boyd

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Seven Compostelas in Three years and counting......
Once I was on the Via Podiensis (Le Puy to St Jean) and got a little lost, I was on the right track, though on a variant route not much used and could not work out where to go. The route just seemed to of ended.

Along came a little old French lady, must of been 80 if a day bless her, and she saw I was a pilgrim and saw I was lost, but we could not speak each others language (and hers may of been Basque).

She just took hold of my hand and led me into some bushes, it actually freaked me out for a moment. In those bushes was the way, it was overgrown. She walked me to the end of the path, always holding my hand, until it met a road, and pointing said 'Compostelle'. She was actually going the other way when I met her, so she had to walk back again.

It made me very happy. But I had a thought. What if she was a man and I was a woman? I may have been terrified being led off like that by a man, into what looked like bushes. Also, was the fact that she trusted in me.

Things like this give a little idea (not much I agree) what ladies face when walking solo. Bless you all.

Really, as a man, I have no idea.

Davey
 

Sal Miller

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino frances
No..not that....I've noticed several women have reported incidences of flashers and unwelcome attention,recently on the Portuguese. I've done this route a few times and can only recall the occasional strange looking bloke on the path but obviously I'm not target. Clearly this is distressing
This made me think how do women assess a situation/person to judge whether there is something dodgy going on? I recall different caminos in out of the way places in France and have often shared a room with a female and if anything I was aprehensive but I must be a harmless looking bloke! as they were totally unfazed and,like me,just wanted to sleep..but how do they know?! One incident surprised me and female friends I've told it to are amazed.....Once again in France I was lost (again) and standing on the side of the road looking at my guide book when a car stopped and woman driver asked if I was lost. I told her where I was headed and she offered me a lift. I hoped in and noticed her 3/4 year old child in the back. we took off and she said she had to stop in a shop..which she did and left me in the car with her child for about 10 minutes then she dropped me off. Even I was surprised as I wasn't even hitching,she offered a lift and had a child in the car...I must look very harmless! I do wonder what a female would have done if a car stopped,with a male driver,and was offered a lift.?....I'm guessing run a mile.
 

Sal Miller

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino frances
My wife and I were walking last October on the Camino, coming through a town very early in the morning. I saw a guy coming toward us who I was sure was getting ready to expose himself. My wife never noticed anything. My only thought was "please do it", because I was totally ready to humiliate the guy and even get into a physical confrontation, if necessary. But, he buckled his belt and veered away from us.

In discussing the incident later with my wife and also other women on the Camino, I learned these things:

1. That lightweight hiking pole isn't what you want if you get into a confrontation with a jerk. Something with a hardwood knob on the top, and with some mass throughout is preferable. It's not your first line of defense, but it's there if you need it.

2. If you're in a situation where you feel vulnerable, start yelling like all get out. It won't matter what you're saying, because they likely don't speak your lingo anyhow. But it will attract attention, and that's the last thing an attacker wants.

3. Women must be aggressive in their own defense, and process the situation quickly. One woman I spoke with about this incident said that the only reason the perpetrator backed off was that I was a confrontational male. I believe that anyone who is inclined to expose himself is extremely vulnerable to humiliation, and that humiliation is the best defensive approach to such people. If that doesn't work, then the hardwood hiking stick and lots of yelling.
 

Delphinoula

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino PdC 2018 Finisterre Muxía 2018
C Franconia 2019
Camino desde Algeciras Sevillia (2019)
Hi Omar to your question. I am a watcher. I noticed if someone is out of a common context. There are risk factors to avoid. Sometimes males don't think that some action may be threatening. Just ask if its ok?
I think we are all of the same opinion about transcessors. Don't give then a forum!
 

Aurigny

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés, 2016; Português Central, 2017; Port. Interior, 2017; Primitivo, 2018; Port. Coastal, 2018.
To add...
I'd be interested to know what the facts are on how frequently a guy waiting in the bushes to show his willie is actually also a rapist.
About a third of recorded exhibitionists (flashers) or stealers of underwear will eventually go on to obtain a criminal record for contact sexual offences. This is why it's important to report all such cases to the authorities. They're not trivial or victimless crimes. The earlier this pattern of offending can be interrupted, the better the outcome, even for the perpetrators themselves.
 

Delphinoula

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino PdC 2018 Finisterre Muxía 2018
C Franconia 2019
Camino desde Algeciras Sevillia (2019)
By all means give no quater. Rape is not about sex its about power.
Do not empower them with giving them a platform.
Need Safty advice go to the professionals the police
Outrage fear disgust from us only feeds into their condition. Do not give them a voice. Papers write to sell news.
So sisters kick ass if you pardon my language.
 

FourSeasons

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF Sept/Oct 2013
CF April/May 2016
del Norte (July/August 2019)
My wife and I were walking last October on the Camino, coming through a town very early in the morning. I saw a guy coming toward us who I was sure was getting ready to expose himself. My wife never noticed anything. My only thought was "please do it", because I was totally ready to humiliate the guy and even get into a physical confrontation, if necessary. But, he buckled his belt and veered away from us.

In discussing the incident later with my wife and also other women on the Camino, I learned these things:

1. That lightweight hiking pole isn't what you want if you get into a confrontation with a jerk. Something with a hardwood knob on the top, and with some mass throughout is preferable. It's not your first line of defense, but it's there if you need it.

2. If you're in a situation where you feel vulnerable, start yelling like all get out. It won't matter what you're saying, because they likely don't speak your lingo anyhow. But it will attract attention, and that's the last thing an attacker wants.

3. Women must be aggressive in their own defense, and process the situation quickly. One woman I spoke with about this incident said that the only reason the perpetrator backed off was that I was a confrontational male. I believe that anyone who is inclined to expose himself is extremely vulnerable to humiliation, and that humiliation is the best defensive approach to such people. If that doesn't work, then the hardwood hiking stick and lots of yelling.
I am glad you were there to thwart off what could have turned into an unfortunate situation.

Good advice. I also know the point and laugh defense works quiet well. Humiliation at it's finest. o_O

:cool:👣
 

Caligal

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF April 4- May 12, 2018
CP April 2019
I took a womens self defense class the #1 rule- NEVER get in a strangers car! The only incident I ever had was walking up to the lighthouse in Finisterre, he pulled up next to me, nodding his head to seat next to him, i used the shake finger NO sign and away he went. Not a word spoken.
 

NorthernLight

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy to Santiago via the Frances 2012-2013. EPW2015
Aragonese & Frances 2016
Burgos to Muxia 2017
I took a womens self defense class the #1 rule- NEVER get in a strangers car! The only incident I ever had was walking up to the lighthouse in Finisterre, he pulled up next to me, nodding his head to seat next to him, i used the shake finger NO sign and away he went. Not a word spoken.
I personally would not call that 'an incident'. You were offered a ride, he accepted 'no' as an answer.

I would also suggest that the # 1 method for self defense should be never let an intimate partner into your life. But that's really not going to happen either.
 

NorthernLight

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy to Santiago via the Frances 2012-2013. EPW2015
Aragonese & Frances 2016
Burgos to Muxia 2017
It goes back to my earlier post that we are at far greater risk of harm from the men in our lives than we are from random strangers.

We get all sorts of warnings about how to protect ourselves from random strangers -take self defence classes, keep doors locked, check the car's backseat before getting in, carry keys a certain way, carry a whistle, etc etc etc - but very little attention goes to the much bigger risk.

Women and girls are far more likely to be sexually assaulted by fathers, uncles, babysitters, teachers, boyfriends and dates, than by the rare guy lurking to get us.

Sure, sh*t happens to us from strangers, but I'd estimate my chances with a guy whose car I flagged down were safer than with the guy who buys me a beer. The guy with the beer is probably okay, but still riskier.
 

NorthernLight

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy to Santiago via the Frances 2012-2013. EPW2015
Aragonese & Frances 2016
Burgos to Muxia 2017
It shouldn't let us stop enjoying healthy relationships with great men. Just saying....
 

Delphinoula

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino PdC 2018 Finisterre Muxía 2018
C Franconia 2019
Camino desde Algeciras Sevillia (2019)
What have I learned on the Camino?
Listen to myself take care of myself and enjoy life with or without a companion.
 

Evvie

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
September 2019
The woman who offered you a lift sounds very trusting! Although I suppose she was doing you a favour, and believed you wouldn't repay her kindness with anything other than gratitude. I think the fact that you weren't asking for help also played a role - I am sure she would have been a little more wary if you'd been on the side of the road with your thumb out.

I think that, as a woman, there's a subtle feeling of being "on guard" a lot of the time. If I'm walking home late at night, or in a remote place and there's a lone male lurking about, whether or not he looks "dodgy" my heart-rate will rise and I will find myself crossing to the other side of the street (or even running to get home more quickly). But maybe I'm just paranoid, and this isn't a gender thing.. ;)

So yeah, we try and trust our instincts, but, as others have said, a predatory sexual offender can be a wolf in sheep's clothing. There's also the element of surprise: I've been the victim (well, more like witness) of exposure, and each time what gets me is the sheer unexpectedness of it, like, "wow, I not see that coming!" I think victims of more serious assaults often face a lot of guilt, questioning their instincts, etc, which just isn't fair. I think it must be particularly shocking on the camino, where many peregrinas find themselves enjoying a sense of freedom and trust in the goodness of life again; the whole 'camino provides' idea. I think it must be a real shock to the system to have that shattered by someone looking to get a kick out of showing his genitals (or worse). But of course we are guests in these camino countries, where "life goes on", including the less palatable sides of life that unfortunately manage to creep into the camino bubble.

One more thing: speaking for myself at least, I have found myself in a couple of dodgy situations, especially when I was younger, because of a "need to please." My instincts would be saying "No!" but I didn't want to offend. Probably stereotyping to say this applies to women more than men - obviously anyone can be a people-pleaser - but this has been my experience, as well as many of my female friends.

Ok well that post was longer than expected, ha ha. Guess it's a complex topic 😆
It is a complex topic. My first Camino is this September and from everything I've read, peregrinos are a trusting, caring, and helpful lot. So I think my tendency will be to trust and yet as a woman I know that can be very dangerous. So yes, we are always on guard. I hope that by my age (63) my instinct for pervs is pretty good but in a trusting environment I can't predict that. Sad to say that many of us have to employ preventive measures in the unlikely event we will have to protect ourselves.
 

Moorwalker

Member
Camino(s) past & future
none yet
My advice for women walking solo is to ALWAYS try to pick up "tag alongs" each morning or at a cafe stop. All you need to do is ask them if you can "tag along" with them. You do not have to become BFFs (best friends forever), or even walk next to each other.

All you do is introduce yourself and ask if you can walk along with them. What you are seeking to do is keep others within eyesight at all times, even if they are 100 meters in front or behind you. This way if you get into a problem, one shout should bring help.

In every instance of flashing or other inappropriate behavior the 'victim' is always a woman walking solo out of sight of other pilgrims. I handled a case like this last summer when I was working at the Pilgrim Office. I had to take a young lady to the Nacional Police station to file a complaint.

In any event, without even speculating why this is a problem, simply keeping other pilgrims in sight is the easy way to go. In the off-season, it is more of a problem as there are fewer pilgrims out there. But now, you should have no problem.

I suggest that solo females scout out likely tag alongs the evening they arrive. One can determine, in the dinner camaraderie if someone is to be relied on the following day. If you casually ask what time they are leaving he next morning, you can coordinate your departure.

I know that this will help someone avoid being apprehensive or at risk. The Camino IS very safe, but there are any number of societal reasons for some of this crass misbehavior. Avoidance and strength in numbers is the safe bet.

Be safe out there.
It wouldn't even occur to me to do that sort of thing. I've travelled alone all over the world since I was 17 when I hitch-hiked around Europe and I've honestly never had any real problems. Yes there are occasionally bad people out there, but they are sufficiently uncommon that to me it doesn't justify living your entire life in fear and restricting your activities as a result.
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 to 2018
I do not disagree with you. In the final analysis, it comes down to your personal comfort factor. If you are a regular solo outdoors person of the female persuasion and confident of your capabilities and decisions, then go for it. I respect that choice.

OTOH, if this is a once in a lifetime activity, there are a few simple things one can do to increase a safety or confidence margin, EVEN IF there is no threat.

Every person and situation is different, and each adult must make an adult choice. My suggestions are based on experience and speaking with a lot of women who do the Camino solo.

I have also had to take women to the police station to report assault when they arrived at Santiago...the incidents occurred before their arrival. It is NOT something I relish doing, but they need an advocate.
 

NorthernLight

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy to Santiago via the Frances 2012-2013. EPW2015
Aragonese & Frances 2016
Burgos to Muxia 2017
I do not disagree with you. In the final analysis, it comes down to your personal comfort factor. If you are a regular solo outdoors person of the female persuasion and confident of your capabilities and decisions, then go for it. I respect that choice.

OTOH, if this is a once in a lifetime activity, there are a few simple things one can do to increase a safety or confidence margin, EVEN IF there is no threat.

Every person and situation is different, and each adult must make an adult choice. My suggestions are based on experience and speaking with a lot of women who do the Camino solo.

I have also had to take women to the police station to report assault when they arrived at Santiago...the incidents occurred before their arrival. It is NOT something I relish doing, but they need an advocate.
I would be interested to know some facts related to your experience assisting women who have been assaulted. Facts are useful in dealing with real risk. To start with, how often have you had to do this? Weekly? Daily? Were there any commonalities as to location or circumstances of the assaults?

Thank you for your service to our sisters.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, 2015
A professional psychologist such have a go at this but I say to ignore a flasher rather than humiliate him. I have no doubt that in most cases the humiliation will work but after the man has been humiliated enough times he may feel emmasculated enough to do something violent the next time. That time may not be with you but maybe someone walking a day behind you.

I think the safest approach would be to try to ignore him outwardly, watch yourself for safety and report the incident to the police. Even if they can't arrest him for a crime of exposure they can make his life miserable.
 

ornatewrasse

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
2019
When I was 21 years old, hitchhiking around Europe, I was very naive. It never occurred to me that anyone would want to harm me. However, one night in Amsterdam, I ended up being locked out of my hostel. A man offered me a place to stay for the night. I willingly accepted, happy to be out of the cold. As you might guess from reading this, the unthinkable happened and I was raped. After that incident my whole attitude changed and I have been far less trusting ever since. Nowadays, I carefully assess my surroundings when I am alone, especially at night. No need to be excessively fearful, just alert to the possibility that something could happen to you if you're not careful.
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 to 2018
I would be interested to know some facts related to your experience assisting women who have been assaulted. Facts are useful in dealing with real risk. To start with, how often have you had to do this? Weekly? Daily? Were there any commonalities as to location or circumstances of the assaults?

Thank you for your service to our sisters.
I prefer not to discuss these situations in any detail. However, I can tell you the frequency is very very rare. It might happen once in a month that I am there, or not at all.

Also, all of the cases so far involved some sort of flashing or exposure. So far, I have not been involved in or heard of a case that involved actual touching or physical contact. The assaults that I have knowledge of were verbal or visual.

Nuff said about this. The Camino remains VERY safe for all. But with more than 300,000 reporting pilgrims last year, there is a statistical likelihood of bad behavior somewhere. It should not be wholly surprising.
 

NorthernLight

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy to Santiago via the Frances 2012-2013. EPW2015
Aragonese & Frances 2016
Burgos to Muxia 2017
Thank you for sharing your strength, @ornatewrasse.

Thanks for the info, @t2andreo. I'm glad it is still a rare occurrence.
 

Anamiri

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances
I have watched this thread with interest for a while.
In my younger days I ran long distances, then as my knees protested, in my mid 30's I turned to walking.
I am a very fair skinned blonde prone to skin cancer, and have always worked full time. As a result of these factors, most of my running or walking training has been by necessity in the early morning hours in the dark, and occasionally in the evening also in the dark. Because I tend to train for long walks, I am often out walking for hours and therefore cover quite a distance.
People often ask me if I am scared and the answer is Yes, of course I am.
I have had two very close encounters that I was lucky to escape from with my life. Both perpetrators were men. One I believe was more of a chance encounter in a secluded spot, the man in the second incident had hunted in the area over several weeks, and 3 other women died before he was caught. I was extremely lucky.
For months after the second incident I was truly terrified every time I left the house; my heart would race and I would have to force myself outside.
Both incidents occurred in 'nice safe' desirable areas between the hours of 1pm and 3pm in the afternoon in broad daylight. I even had my German Shepherd dog with me the first time - that was not a deterrent.
I have also been yelled at, grabbed at through car windows, swerved at by vehicles, verbally harassed and threatened, flashed at - again all in the day time.
However I refuse to reduce my quality of life, and make myself a prisoner in my own home too afraid to go out, so I am particularly careful. I select my routes carefully, for lighting, my ability to have an escape route if necessary. I watch for anything out of the ordinary, and take evasive action immediately. Vans following me, cars slowing ahead of me, a solitary figure or figures outlined ahead etc. I usually also have one of my dogs. I always have a credit card with me in case I want to call a cab, and my phone.
The other thing that I do sadly, is to look as androgynous as possible, my hair up under a cap, baggy grey clothes. With my hair and figure hidden I am hardly ever harassed. It seems the less female I look the safer I am.
I have also discovered that offenders rarely take the energy to walk anywhere to offend. If its not accessible by car - they don't bother.
Ironically all incidents have happened in daylight - it appears offenders like to sleep in.

I have always felt safe on the Camino as I am truly only ever alone by choice. I can dress in normal clothes, shorts and show my hair- I am never afraid there, the only thing I fear is skin cancer..
 
Last edited:

Davey Boyd

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Seven Compostelas in Three years and counting......
I have watched this thread with interest for a while.
In my younger days I ran long distances, then as my knees protested, in my mid 30's I turned to walking.
I am a very fair skinned blonde prone to skin cancer, and have always worked full time. As a result of these factors, most of my running or walking training has been by necessity in the early morning hours in the dark, and occasionally in the evening also in the dark. Because I tend to train for long walks, I am often out walking for hours and therefore cover quite a distance.
People often ask me if I am scared and the answer is Yes, of course I am.
I have had two very close encounters that I was lucky to escape from with my life. Both perpetrators were men. One I believe was more of a chance encounter in a secluded spot, the man in the second incident had hunted in the area over several weeks, and 3 other women died before he was caught. I was extremely lucky.
For months after the second incident I was truly terrified every time I left the house; my heart would race and I would have to force myself outside.
Both incidents occurred in 'nice safe' desirable areas between the hours of 1pm and 3pm in the afternoon in broad daylight. I even had my German Shepherd dog with me the first time - that was not a deterrent.
I have been yelled at, grabbed at through car windows, swerved at by vehicles, verbally harassed and threatened, flashed at - again all in the day time.
However I refuse to reduce my quality of life, and make myself a prisoner in my own home too afraid to go out, so I am particularly careful. I select my routes carefully, for lighting, my ability to have an escape route if necessary. I watch for anything out of the ordinary, and take evasive action immediately. Vans following me, cars slowing ahead of me, a solitary figure or figures outlined ahead etc. I usually also have one of my dogs. I always have a credit card with me in case I want to call a cab, and my phone.
The other thing that I do sadly, is to look as androgynous as possible, my hair up under a cap, baggy grey clothes. With my hair and figure hidden I am hardly ever harassed. It seems the less female I look the safer I am.
I have also discovered that offenders rarely take the energy to walk anywhere to offend. If its not accessible by car - they don't bother.
Ironically all incidents have happened in daylight - it appears offenders like to sleep in.

I have always felt safe on the Camino as I am truly only ever alone by choice. I can dress in normal clothes, shorts and show my hair- I am never afraid there.
Thank you for sharing this with us Anamari. You say "offenders rarely take the energy to walk anywhere to offend. If its not accessible by car - they don't bother". I think this is true in many cases, and why even I as a man I can get nervous in cities (especially as I was homeless for a long time in my past). It is also one of the things I explain to people why sleeping out in a forest in the middle of nowhere is safe in comparison.

I'm so glad you were fine those days walking near home, and glad it does not deter your spirit.

Davey
 

Anamiri

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances
I'm sorry to hear you were homeless, that shouldn't happen to anyone either.
 

Walton

Member
Camino(s) past & future
2016 Sjpp to Sdc. 2018 Lisbon to Sdc to Finisterre. Next up hopefully VDP or Del Norte.
Sorry .... Long post warning .....

One point that seems to have been missed is that men can also feel unsafe and vulnerable when walking alone. Davey Boyd touched on it briefly in his post above - Glad you are no longer homeless Dave.

During childhood, I was frequently bullied and punched for no reason. I even once had a knife held to my throat by one of a gang of older youths. Why? I don't know. Maybe it was because I was very skinny and looked weak and was weak if truth be told. I grew up to be afraid ofpeople that I did not know.

When I was a teenager, I was king hit from behind while walking home from a dance on one occasion and also had a few issues with bullies at High School.

Thus for tens of years, whenever I went out anywhere, I was always afraid, even while running, because an idiot would yell out something obscene or beep the car horn for no reason, just because I was running on the footpath.

Fast forward to age 58 and to Shanghai in China. Waiting for a bus at a crowded bus stop, way out in the suburbs, probably the only westerner for miles, and I noticed someone trying to get on a bus. In China, everyone tries to get on together - none of this quaint British queing there. I noticed this someone, a man, trying to get on, and trying to get his hand into ladies handbags and then just as the doors closed, he would pretend he was on the wrong bus and exit.

Anyway, I watched this fellow try to get on a few stopping busses in this manner and then I saw he had his hand in the coat pocket of an old lady. A flash of anger in me came from nowhere and I stepped forward and grabbed the offending hand and pulled it away, so much so that other passengers noticed it, and the old lady nearly toppled off the bus step.

The bus left, and this evil man stood his ground staring at me and all I could think of doing was to yell western obscentities at him, hoping to get him to leave.

Eventually, after what seemed like an eternity, he left very slowly and crossed the road. It was then that I noticed Chinese bystanders holding their mobile phones, filming my performance and the evil guy.

Shortly after, I heard a wolf whistle from over the road at the opposite bus stop to mine, and from the crowd there, the evil guy and another male emerged from the crowd and hailed a passing taxi. There was two of them! Was the other man circling behind, during the confrontation, I'll never know.

So, tired of feeling afraid, and after taking advice from a teaching colleague of mine who had a Karate black belt which he earned later in life than most, I decided to learn a self defence and thus began Wing Chun Kung Fu training. (Highly recommended for older folk like myself). Ended up training for six years and enjoyed every minute.

I learned that size doesn't matter, skills do. I learned to be unafraid when sparring because I had developed skills that could hurt any attacker. I learned to be much more confident when out and about and I learned to never initiate physical stuff because the other opponent or opponents can get lucky. I also learned to continually assess the surrounding environment in a relaxed manner.

Looking back and reflecting, I wish I learned some kind of self defence, thirty or fourty years earlier.

So if you are like I was and hesitant to enjoy life fully because of past experience or fears, male or female, please consider either a women's self defence course or enrolling in some kind of martial art.

Women's self defence classes are excellent for women. If you can find one for both men and women, so much the better.

Do your research, assess your physical health and take into account your age before choosing. Visit a school when they are training and ask for permission to watch on to see if it is suitable for you. Does the school train men and women together. Mine did and also emphasised both the physical and mental aspects of Wing Chun Kung Fu as well as training carefully so as not to injure or hurt our fellow brothers and sisters.

If you do select a martial art of some kind, be aware that it may take twelve months of attending a couple of classes a week, before you begin to develop good skills. Please do not do an online course unless you don't have any other option. You need to have someone teaching and guiding you and you need a training partner to practice with.

There are a lot of people who are strong in mind or who have a non-fearful attitude to life that don't need to consider any of what I have written about.

But, if you like I, are one of those where your fear of others stops you to some degree of living your life as you would like, please do something about addressing those fears, for no-one else other than yourself!
 

lizlane

Small Town Girl, Small Town World
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2019
This is Denise Thiem's killer. I'm posting because he looks ordinary, even harmless. Not at all like a psychopath capable of beating a woman to death and cutting off her hands to save for later.
56357

He looks like any other regular guy you might meet on the Camino, someone you might share a beer or bottle of wine with at a cafe on the way. Nothing screams creep to me.

We women do have our knowing when something is not quite right. However, it's too easy to ignore warnings, dismiss our intuition as unwarranted fears. To the solo female pilgrims there are steps we can take.

First, I have an ear-splitting safety whistle I bought at REI. It's extremely loud in the event you are lost or injured. Should a flasher head my way, it's going straight into my mouth. Flashers don't like attention. A loud whistle and some pointing in their direction will cause them to retreat. Having the whistle is great but it has to be accessible. The beauty of the whistle is that it can warn from a distance.

Second, I will be buying a knife in SJPP. It will be more knife than I need to cut twine and open packages, kept on my person visible to others. If you're going to rape/abduct a woman do you chose the person with a visible weapon or the one that has only their poles? Do you keep moving towards the crazy redhead blowing her whistle and pointing?

"I send you out as lambs among wolves. Be as wise as a serpent and gentle as a dove".
 

Walton

Member
Camino(s) past & future
2016 Sjpp to Sdc. 2018 Lisbon to Sdc to Finisterre. Next up hopefully VDP or Del Norte.
Lizlane - The whistle is a good idea.

As for carrying a visible knife, that I'm not sure is a good idea for a couple of reasons.

If I see someone with a knife or any visible obvious weapon, I'm going to be very careful of that person and will probably avoid if I can.

If the Policia or Civil Guardia see someone with a visible knife, they probably won't avoid you and may cause you unexpected issues. I'm not sure about Spain, but if you carry a visible knife where I live, the police will definitely take interest in you and so may the courts.

I can remember a long time ago, having a coffee at a cafe with a police officer friend. Some youths walked past, and he suddenly said, "See you later", and left following the youths. Didn't make sense to me - the youths weren't doing anything wrong or acting stupidly or threateningly. Sometime later he explained, that one of the youths as they passed by had a knife concealed up his shirt sleeve. This youth was arrested.

Police are trained to notice things like knives, guns and the like - and in all probability, they will definitely take an interest in you if you have a visible knife.

The second important reason is, that if you do have a confrontation with a person, and if for some reason, you lose your knife, this weapon can be used against you. In Wing Chung Kung Fu, one learns never to carry a weapon. Our skills are our weapons and most skilled martial arts people look very, very ordinary indeed. You would never know.

Poles would make an excellent weapon, provided they are robust, completely visible, and provided you know how to use them to your advantage. That's the key. Ordinarily, hiking poles don't pose any threat or deterrent to me but in the hands of someone trained to use them, they would.

In Wing Chun Kung Fu, poles (which are a lot heavier and longer than hiking poles) are part of our training regime, but you don't get to train using them until you are quite skilled and after some years of training.

If you could, well before your Camino, talk to a self defence expert, who could show you how to best employ your poles as a defensive weapon, that would be ideal. And then you need to practice what you've been taught - important!

Intuition is an amazing thing. Women are reputedly are much better at noticing intuition than men. Tune in and listen to your intuition. Don't ignore it.

Awareness of your surroundings is also something that is well worth noticing.

For example, if your track leads from fields into a forest, and you are alone, why not have a break before entering the forest, hoping that some fellow pilgrims come along. If they do, ask if they would mind you joining them as they and you wander through the forest. If they don't you then have to decide to either continue on regardless or take an alternative action. Perhaps, then you could show your knife.

Showing it is one thing, using it against a hostile person is another, which brings a whole new set of issues and problems as you could well imagine.

If I can again refer to Wing Chun Kung Fu, we learn a lot about the concept of awareness.

To us it means to always be aware of our surroundings, in front, to the left and right and behind. It's not a tension or fear or anything like that, but a relaxed awareness of being in a known environment where there always a tiny element of the unknown, at all times.

It's like trying to train your subconcious mind to be in the drivers seat, sitting in your concious mind, driving your car through the windscreen of your eyes, hearing and other senses.

This awareness is easy to say, but rather difficult to put into practice to the extent that where you are aware of everything around you all time.

Another thing that should be discussed is your body language. What signals are you sending out to others?

Any good self defence class and instructor will discuss all of this and more.

Buen Camino

Graham
 

lizlane

Small Town Girl, Small Town World
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2019
Good point about the law. Perhaps I will rethink carrying the knife visible.

Most women don't carry themselves as prey but still become victims. One thing women can do to protect themself is to not go out drinking. Reve;ry and debauchery have been walking hand in hand since man squeezed the grape. The woman who was gang-raped in Panploma, she became separated from the group she went out with. So there should be a plan in place prior to going out for what to do if people do get separated. I think the victim's phone had died in that story so she couldn't reach her friends. So don't go out without a fully charged phone.
 

NorthernLight

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy to Santiago via the Frances 2012-2013. EPW2015
Aragonese & Frances 2016
Burgos to Muxia 2017
A excellent, informative book that IMHO every woman (and men too) should read: The Gift of Fear, by Gavin de Becker.
 

Moorwalker

Member
Camino(s) past & future
none yet
(snip)
Second, I will be buying a knife in SJPP. It will be more knife than I need to cut twine and open packages, kept on my person visible to others. If you're going to rape/abduct a woman do you chose the person with a visible weapon or the one that has only their poles? Do you keep moving towards the crazy redhead blowing her whistle and pointing?
Please don't unless you really have the skills to use it and are prepared to do so. Carrying a knife gets people into far more trouble than it avoids. Furthermore it is illegal to carry a knife in Spain unless it's a folding knife with a blade of less than 3" long.
 

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