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warning to women travelling alone

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Gil A

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2013 Camino Frances
2014 Camino Frances
2015 Camino Portugues
2017 Camino Portugues
Today we are in Agueda. One woman from Holland today, before Agueda found herself in front of a man who exposed himself and followed her for a while.
We also had news today from a pilgrim from Sweden who walked today from here to Albergaria Velha, suddely she found herself in front of a man masturbating.
Both incidents happened today.
Suggest that women pilgrims do not travel alone in these two sections.
Sorry for the bad news.
 

Bonnie3

New Member
Any idea how a woman alone could react to this kind of behaviour? Curious, because I plan to do part of the caminho portugues. I am not really afraid to do this alone, but I am also not looking forward to problems.
 

cher99840

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2013, 2017 Camino Frances SJPP-Santiago
2015 St. Olav's Way Oslo-Trondheim
2017 VdlP Seville-Merida
Any idea how a woman alone could react to this kind of behaviour? Curious, because I plan to do part of the caminho portugues. I am not really afraid to do this alone, but I am also not looking forward to problems.
If I run into it, I plan to ignore it. I refuse to be "shocked" or intimidated by someone's feeble attempt to upset my day.
 
W

whariwharangi

Guest
Any idea how a woman alone could react to this kind of behaviour? Curious, because I plan to do part of the caminho portugues. I am not really afraid to do this alone, but I am also not looking forward to problems.
I'd point my finger and laugh uproariously and yell "Hey everyone, look at that guy wagging his dick". I bet he disappears fast.

Some interesting statistics on weenie wagger behavior:
http://www.lawofficer.com/articles/2008/04/indecent-exposure-exhibitionis.html
 
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M

Mark Lee

Guest
Wouldn't it be nice if women could bring with them one of those compressed air paint ball guns while walking the Camino. That would be hilarious. The sight of one of those deviants being splattered with pink and purple dye balls.
 

amorfati1

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2014_Caminho Portuguese (Lisboa to Santiago_4 weeks in May)
Wouldn't it be nice if women could bring with them one of those compressed air paint ball guns while walking the Camino. That would be hilarious. The sight of one of those deviants being splattered with pink and purple dye balls.
Had a similar thought...and wondered about Darts.... Neither noisy nor messy, but hurt when aimed properly, no? And very light weight.
But good grief, what is so rather infuriating is that, with such an action, a woman is instantly objectified and not given a choice. It is a violation. A crude reminder of a vulnerability. And i'd rather not be reminded of this via this intruding "too much visual information".
Perhaps the next pub visit will include some serious dart aiming practise. Sigh.....
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
Some lines from whariwharangi's link jumped out for me:
"...negative feedback by the victim (such as laughter) may result in further hostility or violence by the suspect as feelings of inadequacy are escalated....Their actions are to elicit some kind of reaction in their victims; any reaction is better than being ignored."

Those who know can correct me if I'm wrong, but what that seems to say is it's best to completely ignore the display (and then report the incident to relevant authorities ASAP).
I have to openly admit that laughter and derision have a certain vindictive appeal...but apparently not so useful.
Mark's novel paintball idea, on the other hand...verrrry promising. :D Nothing like being a 'marked man'! o_O
Mind you, that assumes a certain amount of competence. Painted pilgrims, anyone? :eek:
 

Kristine Flood

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2010), Portuguese (2012), from Lourdes, France (2014). October 2015 Planning to walk the Salvador and Primativo routes starting from San Anton.
Over many years of nursing I have always found a complete absence of acknowledgement of the behaviour to be my best defence.
 

CaminoDebrita

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances SJPP to SdC Oct/Nov 2015
Frances Burgos toSdC March/April 2016
W. Highland Way August 2016
Camino Somewhere September 2017
I'd point my finger and laugh uproariously and yell "Hey everyone, look at that guy wagging his dick". I bet he disappears fast.

Some interesting statistics on weenie wagger behavior:
http://www.lawofficer.com/articles/2008/04/indecent-exposure-exhibitionis.html

From that article, the following "jumps out" (dare I say):

More Than a Nuisance - Are Exhibitionists Dangerous?There are three groups of exhibitionists. The first type of offender is generally inhibited, introverted, or socially adequate. He is frequently anxious, impulsive, obsessional, and sexually confused. The second group is that of individuals who are unaware of their actions due to mental retardation, an organic brain disorder, and/or extreme alcohol intoxication. These two groups are generally more dangerous to themselves than they are to others.

The third group of exhibitionists demonstrates significantly more psychopathology. The sexual culmination is more important than the shock value of exposing oneself, and always involves masturbation. This offender has a more assaultive character. He often has concurrent paraphilias which may include voyeurism, pedophilia, scatologia (compulsive use of obscene language), and frotteurism (touching and rubbing against a non-consenting person). A number of these individuals (approximately 10%) escalate into a hands-on sexual contact of victims as opposed to the typical hands-off exhibitionistic behavior. It is individuals in this third group who are more likely to progress onto more aggressive sexual offenses, including rape or the sexual assault of a minor.

Also, @whariwharangi--the author of this article discourages laughing at the perp, as it may cause that person to feel inadequate, and then anger / aggression could ensue. Just a thought. Laughing would make me feel better, though! And yes, to the paintball and dart suggestions. Hilarious solutions, if impractical, great for a mental image!
 

Gil A

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2013 Camino Frances
2014 Camino Frances
2015 Camino Portugues
2017 Camino Portugues
I want to give the details of the locations of yesterday flashers

From the lady from Holland:

Thats very good of you! It happened on the road before the cementary of
Avelãs de Caminho

hope you had a good walk, greetings from porto
 

Gil A

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2013 Camino Frances
2014 Camino Frances
2015 Camino Portugues
2017 Camino Portugues
From the pilgrim from Sweden
After Serem in the forest you cpme to a place with a fenced area with a building and a dog barking on your right. The msn wss to yhe left quite far away. The forest is newly platef wer he wss. Thsnk you for your concern.
 

Donna Sch

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
VdLP-Sanabres-Fisterra (Summer 2015); Levante-Invierno (Feb/Mar 2019);
England Camino routes ?2024
While having someone exposing themselves to you can be upsetting, the chances of them physically going after you is low. In my experience most men I have come across that are likely to do this kind of thing are either intoxicated, have pre-existing brain injuries or have a mental illness that can cause them to become overfamiliar with people. Most of these are usually harmless but sometimes they look a bit scary.

But if someone is giving you the creeps and you feel you are at physical risk there are things you can do.

I was at a training camp over the weekend for my sport and in the lunchbreak the visiting coach shared some self defence tips for the Mums who were there.

Be aware of what you are carrying that can be used as a weapon. Newspapers and magazines if rolled up tightly can be very effective and are unobtrusive on the street
Don't attempt to punch someone unless it is something you are already good at. You will just break your hand. Use the heel of your hand and aim for the throat or the nose. If you have that rolled up magazine or newspaper (a folded up hiking umbrella? Keys?), use that.
If you get grabbed from the back and are being groped etc, reach back and thrust your longest fingers up hard behind their ears. It hurts.
If someone is trying to choke you, grab their pinkies and bend them back/out hard.
A sudden shout in their face can startle them.
If you are grabbed, run your heels down their shins before stamping on their foot hard. Probably most effective with stilettos but hiking shoes wouldn't be kind either.
If you are totally grabbed and you can't wiggle out, drop your body so they have to drag a dead weight. It makes a huge difference to their workload and they are likely to drop you. (Mums, remember how your toddlers would do this at times and how hard it can be to move them?).

All of these things may buy you extra time so you can run. So commit, do them hard and if successful, high tail it out of there!
 

grayland

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Yes
I hope that these two instances were reported to the local Portugues police.
They can do nothing to control these types of behavior if they are not aware of it.
 

Donna Sch

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
VdLP-Sanabres-Fisterra (Summer 2015); Levante-Invierno (Feb/Mar 2019);
England Camino routes ?2024
A hard smack to the side of the head ie the ear can blow an eardrum due to the sudden pressure changes.

Your best weapon is your brain so no matter how old and decrepit you may be feeling on the day, there are always options. Attitude can be a lifesaver.
 

WldWil

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2015 SJPDP - Halfway
2016 Fromista - The other half
Are people reporting this as well. It seems like I reading about this more all the time and that it happens frequently in being ignored. It seems like it gets ignored to the point where no one tells an authority to reduce this type of behavior.
 

CaminoDebrita

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances SJPP to SdC Oct/Nov 2015
Frances Burgos toSdC March/April 2016
W. Highland Way August 2016
Camino Somewhere September 2017
Thank you for this comment: it is the first time that these reports make some kind of sense to me. Correct me if I am wrong, but places like Avelãs de Caminho are quite small and in rural areas, no? I don't think that "this happens all the time, anywhere". I grew up in a village of a similar size in a rural area and this does not happen there. Perhaps because the social fabric and control is stronger than elsewhere - it would certainly discourage some groups of exhibitionists. But I now remember that when I was a small kid there was a man with a mental handicap living with his parents in the village. I always kept my distance but remember that he was sometimes said to be "rummaging in his trousers". The difference between now and then is that people with such a handicap no longer live in the village where they would be free to walk around all day unsupervised because they are now cared for and educated in specialised centres. Maybe this is not yet the case to the same extent in Spain and Portugal and would explain some of these cases. I know this is pure speculation but to me at least it would make some sense.
lol, yes....I am 55 years old and have not led a sheltered existence, and have travelled extensively, and in 35 years of travel and life, have only experienced two weeny waggers, as they are now called on the esteemed forum. That's not a whole lot of flashing activity--about one every 17.5 years, it would seem. Let's see if Camino Frances can change my numbers!
 
Take a breath-in.
Facing this, you must report to the nearest local authorities as soon as possible, either PSP (Metro Police) or GNR (National Guard for the country side areas).
Just report, make it official to the local authorities. There is a legal procedure to follow in this kind of complain.
You might not have your problem solved on that day, but the authorities are noticed and they will take some prevention actions.
You must also report the incident to Via Lusitana (Santiago Portuguese Association) that has a 24H telephone pilgrim help number; (+351) 915 595 213 they will help you!
Including contacting the local authorities.
Bom Caminho
Mario
 
Hi Donna.
There is the "Associação de Amigos do Caminho de Fátima" the numbers are +(351) 913 131 300 and +(351) 938 634 180
This is a Fatima Pilgrims Association, although, if you need assistance they will help you! No doubt!
Also, VERY IMPORTANT!! keep the contacts of your last staying. If you need assistance, call to your last host, for sure they will help you.
I do! ;)
 

luckitravel

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
portugese Coastal may 2015
Any idea how a woman alone could react to this kind of behaviour? Curious, because I plan to do part of the caminho portugues. I am not really afraid to do this alone, but I am also not looking forward to problems.
Hi , I urge you not to walk coastal Portugese route alone . I started walking Porto to Santiago Tuesday may 5 th 2015 . On my 2 Nd day walking from Vila de Conde to Esposende I was followed for some time by a local on a bike , passing me up and down the road . Eventually as I followed camino arrows down a lane he took a different route . 20 mins later he jumped out of bushes tried to drag me to ground / rape me . I am strong / fit but it took every ounce of energy to fight him off . Don't walk alone , please !
 

grayland

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Yes
I am sorry to hear of your experience.
Were you able to report this to the local police? They really take it seriously but can't do anything if they are not notified.
 
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David

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Moissac to Santiago Spring 2005 was the first foray.
I sometimes wish there were a 'dislike' button. It would seem that the predators have found the water hole - therefore one should expect an increase, from flashing/lurking to more serious things so, yes, be aware and beware. Sorry. :(

This won't work in Spain unless you speak the language but a friend of mine encountered a flasher a while back. She stood and calmly looked and then said in a clear loud voice "oh, it is like a penis but much much smaller" and then walked away.

By the way, it isn't just women who are concerned by being followed. We (men) don't like it either, it raises the hackles on our necks - not a comfortable feeling at all.
 

CaminoDebrita

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances SJPP to SdC Oct/Nov 2015
Frances Burgos toSdC March/April 2016
W. Highland Way August 2016
Camino Somewhere September 2017
I sometimes wish there were a 'dislike' button. It would seem that the predators have found the water hole - therefore one should expect an increase, from flashing/lurking to more serious things so, yes, be aware and beware. Sorry. :(

This won't work in Spain unless you speak the language but a friend of mine encountered a flasher a while back. She stood and calmly looked and then said in a clear loud voice "oh, it is like a penis but much much smaller" and then walked away.

By the way, it isn't just women who are concerned by being followed. We (men) don't like it either, it raises the hackles on our necks - not a comfortable feeling at all.
If you feel that you are being followed, turn around and start a conversation, a loud conversation --yelling to the person you left just around the corner or taking a pee. Get that phone out. Whistle. Get big fast. Get an attitude.
 

Pacific NW pilgrim

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF (fall 2015 and fall 2017)
I have encountered flashers (including public masturbators) in cities and rural areas in the US, Canada, Mexico, and Greece. Given that, it would not surprise me to encounter one on the Camino. Try to see it from the perspective of "it's just a body; we all have them," and ignore the behavior and keep walking. This behavior (providing that is all that happens) needn't be upsetting if you don't choose to be shocked and upset by it. Having said that, this behavior is very different from someone following you or acting in a more aggressive way, which is of concern.
 

s. brown

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy 2015
Thank you both for your advice. I see that you are planning to walk the Camino Frances in the future. I live in a large city in Europe. I also live part of the time in a "really safe" rural area elsewhere in Europe. I have travelled a lot all over the world. I have walked about 1500 km so far on the chemin de St Jacques/Camino Francés. There was an incident once in France on a chemin de St Jacques (French name for "Camino") when I was already pretty far away from home and in a foreign country (and where I speak the language quite well, btw). I don't want to dwell on it, nothing happened to me in the end. But it made me feel sufficiently uneasy that I eventually gave up my project of walking all the way to the Pyrenees all by myself and it was years later that I found the confidence to pick it up again.

The point is that I hardly ever mention it, I don't want to frighten others who think of going on a St James' pilgrimage, in fact I think I only mentioned it to a few other women who had already walked (or cycled) to Santiago de Compostela or to whom I explained why I had stopped; some of them eventually joined me for part of the way later. Maybe others are equally mute and speak about such incidences only in a particular context and when others report their experience.

Another point: whether it happens elsewhere in the world, is not so relevant to me. For me, it is useful to know that it may happen on the Camino Francés where I am planning to go again some time in the future and it helps me to prepare for it and hopefully deal with it then and there should I find myself in such a situation. It helps me to learn that there are dedicated phone numbers for pilgrims or what the local police is called and how these incidents are dealt with there etc. I find that really useful to know and this kind of information comes up when female pilgrims report their experience and how they dealt with it.
Thanks for your post. I just tried sending you a private message but it seems the "start a conversation" option is not available on your profile. I am thinking of walking the Le Puy route and would really be interested in what happened to you in France. . . if you don't mind elaborating. I am not fear-mongering or trying to talk myself out of my walk, but it helps to know details and how you handled it, as well as what the women you confided in had to say. I will not be dismissive or invalidating of your experience if you are willing to offer details. You can send me a private message if you prefer. I would appreciate it.
 

JGraceLewis

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Know many Pilgrims who have finished and have encouraged me to take THE WAY.

VSB

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy (2003, 2004)
Camino Frances (2006, 2007)
Arles (2009, 2010)
London to Finisterra via Vezelay and Camino del Norte (2013)
It's happened to me twice on pilgrimage, once near Oviedo on the Primitivo and once in France (I can't remember where). On both occasions it was on the outskirts of a large town, in a wooded spot with easy car access. These men would be in their cars on the road, possibly waiting for a passing lone female walker, and would drive on up ahead of me then wait for me to catch up, then... surprise! I'm afraid I failed to suppress my reaction of pure outrage. On neither occasion did I report to police, partly because I don't have the language skills to convey what happened, but also because it's such a common occurence across the world and I've come to view it as more of a nuisance than anything else. Having said that, it does leave one feeling vulnerable - probably precisely the desired effect. I carry walking poles and would have no qualms about directing a well-aimed swipe if any approach was made, but it's never been necessary so far
 

CaminoDebrita

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances SJPP to SdC Oct/Nov 2015
Frances Burgos toSdC March/April 2016
W. Highland Way August 2016
Camino Somewhere September 2017
It's happened to me twice on pilgrimage, once near Oviedo on the Primitivo and once in France (I can't remember where). On both occasions it was on the outskirts of a large town, in a wooded spot with easy car access. These men would be in their cars on the road, possibly waiting for a passing lone female walker, and would drive on up ahead of me then wait for me to catch up, then... surprise! I'm afraid I failed to suppress my reaction of pure outrage. On neither occasion did I report to police, partly because I don't have the language skills to convey what happened, but also because it's such a common occurence across the world and I've come to view it as more of a nuisance than anything else. Having said that, it does leave one feeling vulnerable - probably precisely the desired effect. I carry walking poles and would have no qualms about directing a well-aimed swipe if any approach was made, but it's never been necessary so far
Two men are double the trouble in this situation.
 

VSB

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy (2003, 2004)
Camino Frances (2006, 2007)
Arles (2009, 2010)
London to Finisterra via Vezelay and Camino del Norte (2013)

WldWil

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2015 SJPDP - Halfway
2016 Fromista - The other half
I think it helps to become more common when it is not reported.

The fact that another gets flashed or masturbated in front of is the partial fault of the previous person not reporting it.

Take some responsibility and report this to the authorities. Joking about and witty comebacks are not going to reduce it. It will not stop or reduce until you do so. If it already happen, there is not much you can do, but have a plan in event the next time it does and how to report it. This should not be socially acceptable behavior.
 
Again, report the incident to the local police authorities! That is the only way to prevent further incidents.
Regarding the "Caminho Portugês", incidents on rural areas, the local police authority is GNR on urban areas is PSP.
Also you can call to Via Lusitania (Santiago Portuguese Association) that has a 24H telephone pilgrim help number; (+351) 915 595 213 they will help you!
Including reporting to the proper local authorities.
Most of this nasty guys are already known by the local Police due other previous illegal incidents, therefore, report, report and report!
This is police issue, period!
 

zzotte

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2012 Camino Frances, 2014 Lourdes to SDC, 2016 Camino del Norte
Just walk the other way ( back the way you come) let the authorities know call 112, and if you must continue walk back still but meet up with more people before proceeding

zzotte
 

Johnsee

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
XX
This post has been edited as it contains a link posted multiple times in the forum. Please do not duplicate posts or links unnecessarily
 
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CaminoDebrita

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances SJPP to SdC Oct/Nov 2015
Frances Burgos toSdC March/April 2016
W. Highland Way August 2016
Camino Somewhere September 2017
How overblown was my fear of being attacked or robbed on my journey? If there was much less violent crime in Spain than in the United States, how illogical was it that I wanted to carry a carbon-tipped weapon on the Camino, when I would have never considered carrying one walking around Maine? By getting rid of the padlock and the can of mace and the carbon-tipped pen flashlight, I had relieved my pack of weight. But as importantly, I had also dropped some psychological baggage—another one of those things that “just ain’t so” as Mark Twain would say. I decided there was perhaps more cognitive dissonance going on in my life than I knew.

So the next day when I got to Logrono, I found myself at the very swanky F & G Hotel Logrono where I got a pilgrim rate single room for 50 euros. I sat at the writing desk in my room and went online with my iPad to look up international crime and murder statistics. Here is what I found:

You are safer walking the Camino in Spain than any day you spend in the United States.

Rape per 100,000 is 3.4 in Spain and 27.3 in the United States.

The murder rate is 0.9 in Spain and 5 in the United States

Violent crime rate is 10.4 in Spain and 88.8 in the United States

And if you are walking the Camino, you spend absolutely no time in an automobile, which is the number one way to get hurt or killed. Your biggest risk on the Camino is a bad blister!

As I left Logrono the next day, I was about a quarter of the way into my journey as it was about 600 km now to Santiago de Compostela. I carried less baggage and I was walking lighter, beginning to glide.

Anxiety is all about projecting the self into the future. Fear is the part of you that is hopelessly trapped in the past.

Hey Terry!

Buen Camino. I think this thread has to do (primarily) with women being "flashed at" and masturbated in front of on the camino.

It's a pretty old thread, but no worries. This thread was also on the dockets when a pilgrim was murdered (2015).

Enjoy your walk--as a big guy, you have less chance of being flashed, hopefully! Glide on.
 

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