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Hazard Women walking alone - considering staying near the road before Astorga (after San Justo de la Vega)

Topics realted to Hazards on the camino de Santiago
Past OR future Camino
2011 (Sarria to Santiago) 2013 (St. Jean to Burgos); 2014 (Burgos to Santiago); Portuguese (2018)
I walked into Astorga this morning around 11:30 am. Between San Justo de la Vega and Astorga, the Camino route takes one to the right, away from the road. Just after taking this turn, there was a man, facing me, with his pants and underwear down around his ankles. He was standing just off the path. There was no one else near me at this time. I pretended not to see him and walked quickly past him.

One could stay on the path that is closer to the road. It is noisier, but I recommend taking the noisy route to any “solas” - women walking alone.

The location is before the pedestrian bridge over the train tracks. Closer to SJdlV than to Astorga.

I notified the police in Astorga.
 
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Peaceable Projects Inc. is a U.S.-based non-profit group that brings the vast resources of the wide world together with the ongoing needs of the people who live, work, and travel on the Camino de Santiago pilgrim trail network in Spain.
Original artwork based on your pilgrimage or other travel photos.

mspath

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
Mary Joy O'Meara,

Sorry to read of this but glad that you kept calm and informed the police as well as readers of the Forum.
Enjoy Astorga; there is much to see and some very good food.
Tomorrow as you move along in the mountain village of Santa Catalina de Somoza the San Blas bar is very friendly and good place for a drink or simple meal; when I walked I often stayed in their albergue dorm.
 
Last edited:

wayfarer

Moderator
Staff member
Past OR future Camino
2012
There is continuing concern about incidents affecting female pilgrims. We reiterate the advice given by a number of pilgrim associations and the Spanish authorities:

Before you set out, programme the emergency number 112 into your telephone.

Consider downloading this App issued by the Spanish government:

https://alertcops.ses.mir.es/mialertcops/info/info.xhtml

The app allows anyone in Spain to send an alert from a mobile device "smartphone'"straight to the police..

If you feel threatened or uncomfortable or if you are assaulted in any way TRY TO REMOVE yourself to a place of safety immediately

Call the police – the best number to use is 112 which covers all of Spain (and much of Europe) and which has operators who speak English.

And please, please, REPORT all incidents to the police. Too many of these unlawful aggressions are never reported, which means that the full extent of the problem is hidden from the authorities.
 
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Holly West

Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances
I walked into Astorga this morning around 11:30 am. Between San Justo de la Vega and Astorga, the Camino route takes one to the right, away from the road. Just after taking this turn, there was a man, facing me, with his pants and underwear down around his ankles. He was standing just off the path. There was no one else near me at this time. I pretended not to see him and walked quickly past him.

One could stay on the path that is closer to the road. It is noisier, but I recommend taking the noisy route to any “solas” - women walking alone.

The location is before the pedestrian bridge over the train tracks. Closer to SJdlV than to Astorga.

I notified the police in Astorga.
That is so unfortunate and am so glad you kept your head about you and walked on past with no problems. Ugh.
 

alexwalker

Forever Pilgrim
Past OR future Camino
(2009): Camino Frances
(2011): Sevilla-Salamanca, VdlP
(2012): Salamanca-SdC, VdlP
(2014): SJpdP-Astorga
(2015): Astorga-SdC
(2016) May Pamplona-Moratinos; Sept.:Burgos-SdC
(2016): August/Sept: Camino San Olav (Burgos-Covarubbias), Burgos-Sarria
(2017): May: Portuguese; Sept: Pamplona-SdC
The AlertCops app will, at the push of a button, send a message to the police stating what kind of emergency, your GPS position & more. Much better than calling 112.
 

miguel_gp

Veteran Member
@Mary Joy O'Meara, thank you for bringing this to the attention of the forum and for your calmness in dealing with the situation and reporting it. I'm sorry that you were subjected to this despicable act

From your description I am surmising that the incident happened at or near this location (map : https://goo.gl/maps/SJw2gXRacr6WSxoN6)
Could you please confirm for the benefit of those that may follow so that they can either take your advice and continue straight on when reaching this point or at least ensure that they have a Camino Buddy or Buddies with them if taking the official path?

Safe onward travels.

Astorga.JPG
 
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C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Past OR future Camino
Most years since 2012. Hoping now for 2022.
The AlertCops app will, at the push of a button, send a message to the police stating what kind of emergency, your GPS position & more. Much better than calling 112.
A couple of things to keep in mind First is that you will need data or internet service to use Alert Cops. Secondly, you probably will need to push a few more buttons than just one.

I suggest that if you are in immediate danger, dialing 112 is the quickest way to make voice contact with emergency responders.
 

alexwalker

Forever Pilgrim
Past OR future Camino
(2009): Camino Frances
(2011): Sevilla-Salamanca, VdlP
(2012): Salamanca-SdC, VdlP
(2014): SJpdP-Astorga
(2015): Astorga-SdC
(2016) May Pamplona-Moratinos; Sept.:Burgos-SdC
(2016): August/Sept: Camino San Olav (Burgos-Covarubbias), Burgos-Sarria
(2017): May: Portuguese; Sept: Pamplona-SdC
Last edited:
Past OR future Camino
Us:Camino Frances, 2015 Me:Catalan/Aragonese, 2019
A couple of things to keep in mind First is that you will need data or internet service to use Alert Cops. Secondly, you probably will need to push a few more buttons than just one.

I suggest that if you are in immediate danger, dialing 112 is the quickest way to make voice contact with emergency responders.
I wish there was a user manual for the AlertCops app. However, from what I have read, once you have registered your phone you can install a largest button on your home screen for emergencies. If that is pressed 5? times in 6? seconds then a message is sent with your location and you have 20? seconds for sending a voice message.

If you are concerned about your safety in Spain my recommendation is to have the AlertCops app installed, cellular data enabled and location services (GPS) running. For any situation where you want the police at your side immediately use that emergency button first, skip the message and then call 112 in addition. If your call to 112 does not go through then use the emergency button again and use the message sending facility. Chances are they will call you anyway whether you have given them a message or not (did I mention that a manual would be nice).

In an attack situation I think the emergency button may be your fastest way to get your exact location to the police. Also, some pilgrims whose country uses a number other than 112 may not remember 112 under stress. The emergency button on the lock screen will likely connect you correctly though.
 
Last edited:
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A collection of Camino Fridge Magnets

alexwalker

Forever Pilgrim
Past OR future Camino
(2009): Camino Frances
(2011): Sevilla-Salamanca, VdlP
(2012): Salamanca-SdC, VdlP
(2014): SJpdP-Astorga
(2015): Astorga-SdC
(2016) May Pamplona-Moratinos; Sept.:Burgos-SdC
(2016): August/Sept: Camino San Olav (Burgos-Covarubbias), Burgos-Sarria
(2017): May: Portuguese; Sept: Pamplona-SdC
I wish there was a user manual for the AlertCops app. However, from what I have read, once you have registered your phone you can install a largest button on your home screen for emergencies. If that is pressed 5? times in 6? seconds then a message is sent with your location and you have 20? seconds for sending a voice message.

If you are concerned about your safety in Spain my recommendation is to have the AlertCops app installed, cellular data enabled and location services (GPS) running. For any situation where you want the police at your side immediately use that emergency button first, skip the message and then call 112 in addition. If your call to 112 does not go through then use the emergency button again and use the message sending facility. Chances are they will call you anyway whether you have given them a message or not (did I mention that a manual would be nice).

In an attack situation I think the emergency button may be your fastest way to get your exact location to the police. Also, some pilgrims whose country uses a number other than 112 may not remember 112 under stress. The emergency button on the lock screen will likely connect you correctly though.
More details (In Spanish; use Google to translate):


@Rick of Rick and Peg : The app contains a user guide: Select "More" down right corner. It looks very good. I installed the app as an English speaking, so everything, buttons, user guide, etc. is in English on my iPhone. There is also a Test function, so that you can assure yourself it is working as expected while you are in a peaceful spot. When you use the app, you have also the possibility to send a 20 sec. alert message, as well as sending pictures, chat directly with the police, etc. They state that they speak English in the other end.

We should all study the user guide before entering Spain IMHO. This will in my view, be much faster and precise than trying to explain things thru 112 during an acute situation.

Edit: Sorry, @Rick of Rick and Peg !:oops:
 
Last edited:

Walton

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
2016 Sjpp to Sdc. 2018 Lisbon to Sdc to Finisterre. Next up hopefully VDP or Del Norte.
I notified the police in Astorga.

Thank you for notifying Police.

Police people have legal power to act and hopefully they will act swiftly.

I am sorry you witnessed this but please know that your reporting action will assist other women to be safer.
 

happymarkos

HappyMark
Past OR future Camino
2018
I walked into Astorga this morning around 11:30 am. Between San Justo de la Vega and Astorga, the Camino route takes one to the right, away from the road. Just after taking this turn, there was a man, facing me, with his pants and underwear down around his ankles. He was standing just off the path. There was no one else near me at this time. I pretended not to see him and walked quickly past him.

One could stay on the path that is closer to the road. It is noisier, but I recommend taking the noisy route to any “solas” - women walking alone.

The location is before the pedestrian bridge over the train tracks. Closer to SJdlV than to Astorga.

I notified the police in Astorga.
so glad you were able to keep focused and ignore him
Hopefully he is in prison by now
 
Peaceable Projects Inc.
Peaceable Projects Inc. is a U.S.-based non-profit group that brings the vast resources of the wide world together with the ongoing needs of the people who live, work, and travel on the Camino de Santiago pilgrim trail network in Spain.
2021 Camino Guides
Most all Camino authors have decided to use 2020 guides for 2021, with free PDF files with updates coming in the spring. Get yours today.

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Past OR future Camino
Most years since 2012. Hoping now for 2022.
Given the economic importance of the Camino,
This seems like a cynical assumption of the power and importance of tourist money. Of course, economics always enters the picture, as safety measures do cost money. However, I like to think that the Spanish government and police genuinely want to improve safety for the sake of the people, and that the tolerance of sexual harassment is declining.
 

camino.ninja

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances 5 6,16,17,18,19,20
Primiti+Salvador 19
Portug. 17,18,20
Catalan 17
Norte 17
Plata 18
There is continuing concern about incidents affecting female pilgrims. We reiterate the advice given by a number of pilgrim associations and the Spanish authorities:

Before you set out, programme the emergency number 112 into your telephone.

Consider downloading this App issued by the Spanish government:

https://alertcops.ses.mir.es/mialertcops/info/info.xhtml

The app allows anyone in Spain to send an alert from a mobile device "smartphone'"straight to the police..

If you feel threatened or uncomfortable or if you are assaulted in any way TRY TO REMOVE yourself to a place of safety immediately

Call the police – the best number to use is 112 which covers all of Spain (and much of Europe) and which has operators who speak English.

And please, please, REPORT all incidents to the police. Too many of these unlawful aggressions are never reported, which means that the full extent of the problem is hidden from the authorities.

Alertcops notifies the police about your exact location. That is very helpful.
 
Past OR future Camino
2011 (Sarria to Santiago) 2013 (St. Jean to Burgos); 2014 (Burgos to Santiago); Portuguese (2018)
What a creep!
I hope they catch this guy. I'm concerned that, if he gets away with such behavior, his daring might escalate. Good on you to call the police.
Update: yesterday, two women (who were unaware of this post) mentioned to me that the police were looking for this guy when they walked through this same area — shortly after I spoke to the police officer in Astorga. When I reported the incident, I wasn’t sure whether the police would do anything. So I was relieved to hear that they were acting on my report. Note, however, that I have no idea whether they found him.
 

Walton

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
2016 Sjpp to Sdc. 2018 Lisbon to Sdc to Finisterre. Next up hopefully VDP or Del Norte.
But pants around his ankles, and you carrying a pole, I would be very tempted to whack him where it hurts.

As someone who has participated in many years of Wing Chun Kung Fu, I would like to add the following.

I don't mean to offend you Carole as I'm sure you are saying what you would like to do!! rather than what you would actually do :) But can I say?

It doesn't matter how well-trained or experienced you are, attacking or whacking someone where it hurts carries a lot of risk.

Even the most experienced competent martial artist knows that the opponent can get lucky in a fight and that's why most martial artists will do anything to de-escalate or avoid confrontation including running away.

Certainly, if you are attacked then throw the rule book out and fight dirty, without mercy and whack him or her where it hurts, gouge eyes, punch nose, bite, stomp on toes, ankles ect, anything to enable you to get away quickly. Yeah - I know, not nice but if I'm walking innocently along and if someone attacks me, I'm not going to respond nicely or according to the 'rules'. My aim would be to get away as fast as possible and go to Police.

However if they have a weapon... See next sentence.

Better still, try to attend a self defence class before you Camino. You will learn a lot in a very short space of time not only about physical self defence but also about situational awareness, what to avoid etc, how to respond to various scenarios and so on. In larger centres there are usually womens and mens courses.

So, if you are planning a Camino, put a self defence course on your preparation list - not just for the Camino but for anywhere, car parks, shopping centres ect that you go to as part of daily life.

If you are interested you could call into your local cop shop and talk to them - they might be able to put you in touch with the right people who have information that could help you.

And if you witness some idiot exposing his willie, be like Mary and report the fool to police at the earliest opportunity or use the Alert Cops app. Well done Mary!

And finally, if you are fearful, don't be - do something about it, like I did at 59 years of age after a scary pickpocket experience in China, by joining a Wing Chun Club and then you too can enjoy the outside world with confidence.

Buen Camino!
 
Past OR future Camino
2011 (Sarria to Santiago) 2013 (St. Jean to Burgos); 2014 (Burgos to Santiago); Portuguese (2018)
@Mary Joy O'Meara, thank you for bringing this to the attention of the forum and for your calmness in dealing with the situation and reporting it. I'm sorry that you were subjected to this despicable act

From your description I am surmising that the incident happened at or near this location (map : https://goo.gl/maps/SJw2gXRacr6WSxoN6)
Could you please confirm for the benefit of those that may follow so that they can either take your advice and continue straight on when reaching this point or at least ensure that they have a Camino Buddy or Buddies with them if taking the official path?

Safe onward travels.

View attachment 112512
Yes. Once you leave the road, you walk about the distance of one city block and then the Camino turns to the left. Shortly after the turn, there is a small building of some sort. The man was standing just beyond the building so that I was not able to see him until I was right there.
 
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The most selling Camino Guide is shipping November 1st. Get your today and start planning.
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