After being followed home last night through my local part of Bristol by a man who kept apologising and insisting “he is a good guy” (somehow seems less sincere after you try to grab someone from behind who is minding their own business walking home), I was sent into my old trusty default state of panic. Cue a few hours of sleepless tossing and turning in bed. Cold sweat and thoughts of tuk-tuk drivers whisking me off to un-requested destinations, motorcycle muggers grabbing my bag as they drive on by and other horrendous happenings……. If this can happen in Bristol, what will happen to me in Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh City, Kuala Lumpar, Denpasar etc.
I woke up this morning with a much clearer head. Instead of thinking “if this happens here, what terrors await me?!”, I need to realise that this can happen anywhere, at any time and it’s just a case of having my wits about me and not walking about on my own in the middle of the night, listening to metal with both headphones in. I have to admit, this is not the first time. This occasion I was walking for about half an hour, reasonably early on one glass of wine. I have crossed the city before, incredibly inebriated at a much later hour and through the “rough part” of town. Not sensible, I realise that. However, nothing untoward happened to me in the “rough area” and I had a near miss practically on my doorstep, in my “safe haven”, two minutes from home.
Maybe it is a blessing in disguise that this happened, so that I can take this as a reminder to be safe on the road and not take any chances with that safety rather than a reason not to leave my hotel once I get to the other side, or worse, not to leave the UK at all.
It angers me that we need to think about this and that we need to consciously worry about our safety but unfortunately, it is the case. I read a great blog entry on the same subject a few weeks back and the writer’s closing sentiment really stayed with me:
“Travelling as a female is always going to have certain extra risk factors that male travellers simply don’t need to contend with or worry about but you know what, they’re the same risks and dangers women face everywhere simply by stepping out of their house. So, spare us the scaremongering. The question female travellers should be asking is not “which countries should I avoid to be safe”, but instead “why the fuck in 2015 am I still more likely than a man to be a victim of violence anywhere”.