“Of course it’s easier to travel as a woman”, he scoffed angrily.
This is how the man in my hostel room, a 60-something year old who has traveled extensively around the world, replied when I told him how quickly I had found a ride while hitchhiking.
But he didn’t know what happened in that car.
He didn’t know that the group of 4 boys told me I was “lucky” I had found “good guys” because they “weren’t going to hurt me”.
We were driving through the mountains with nothing but fields and trees around us.
The minutes spent in that car felt like hours.
The man in the hostel didn’t know the rest.
He wasn’t aware of the resemblant moments accumulated in the 3 years of my travels.
He didn’t know of the museum employee who kept asking why I don’t have a boyfriend and went to put his hand on my waist after we’d been talking for 2 minutes.
I walked right out of the exhibit, as he told me to “Have a good day”.
That man could have been my grandfather.
He didn’t know of the taxi driver who wouldn’t let me out of his cab, proclaiming the few words he knew in English; “give me a kiss”.
I couldn’t move my arm, I couldn’t open the door. He touched my breast, and I slapped him across the chest hard, running out and kicking his car door until he sped off.
I had fingerprint marks on my arm for days.
He didn’t know of the boys shouting explicit things in the streets at midnight.
I turned to them shouting “If you don’t have something better to say don’t talk at all”.
They responded; “What do you expect me to do, call you beautiful instead?”
My blood was boiling.
He didn’t know of the couchsurfing host that kept refilling my glass, nearly holding the cup to my mouth because he was aware that-
1) Everybody knows it is rude to refuse hospitality, &
2) I had no other place to go
The man that never showed me his spare bedroom or living room couch.
It wasn’t until nearly 3 months later that other people convinced me to report him.
The couchsurfing profile was removed.
So, the man in the hostel didn’t know what came before.
But the worst part?
He didn’t believe.
He didn’t believe that, perhaps, women go through some things in life that men do not experience. That men do not notice.
That men cause themselves.
Is it easier as a woman to get picked up when hitchhiking?
Is it easier as a woman to be in danger when traveling?
I say yes.
Subjectivity can prevent our ability to learn from others… and to empathize with them.
Take it easy on people. Trust them. Support them. Help them.
Safe travels to all,
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