Tag Archives: Travel

L.R

I had two experiences where I was touched against my will. One was when I was a child. This was done by another child. But I didnt want it. I could not say no. It was from the age of 4yrs old until I was 10. When I mentioned this to a professional, after remembering it for the first time, when I was 19 I was told ‘thats what kids do. This is normal’. But it wasnt. Because I did not want it and had never been taught what to do when I didnt want something. The second experience was when I was 19, just after I remembered the stuff from my childhood. I was on vacation and a guy asked me to take a picture of him in front of the ocean. Afterwards we spent the day in the city, ending up holding hands. I felt more and more uncomfortable. I told myself ‘he might be the right one.I am already 19 and havent been in a relationship, this might be my only chance. Don’t make such a fuzz’… It ended up in me convincing myself to do everything he wanted me to and just being able to stop him before the actual sex. I have been in therapy for 9 years (I’m 24 now) and havent been able to talk about this, because of the responses I have gotten when indicating the topic (Thats not so bad. Its normal. etc). I convinced myself it was normal, ended up in the psych ward several times. Last year I took the courage to start trauma therapy and finally found someone who acknowledges that ‘If it was a bad experience for you, it is valid and important to talk about it for us.’ Since then my life switched over and is better now. But it took almost 20 years since the first incident and 4 yrs since the last.

Tamzin

My boyfriend and I signed up to a workaway project in Peru. The website described the place as a permaculture-based community, but we found it was land and buildings belonging to one man aged around sixty, with volunteers working five hours a day in exchange for basic food and a dorm bed – a pretty normal workaway deal in terms of exchange, but not the Peruvian-focused community we were expecting. On our first day there another volunteer, man in his mid-forties from San Francisco, turned up after an all night ‘peyote ceremony’. Wearing classic ‘new-ager in Peru’ gear he spoke about having been ‘re-born’ in his experience. A little later, the conversation turned to his opinions on the ‘modesty’ of women. His opening line was ‘I think it’s great that women here dress more modestly than women back home.’ In my head, I thought – ‘Oh great, you’ve been re-born a chauvinist’ but I didn’t say it. I knew though, that I would not be able to sit through this conversation without saying anything, but was confused as to what he meant by ‘the women here.’ I asked: ‘ Do you mean women wearing traditional Andean dress?’ to which he replied no, he was talking about the ‘new age’ foreign women of whom there are many in a nearby town. For him, clearly, Peruvian women did not register as ‘the women here.’ I should’ve pointed out the racism and dehumanization inherent in his statement, but I didn’t (retrospect is a fine thing). What I did try to do was unpick why he thought he had a right to make statements about the modesty of women’s dress. He said ‘all the men I’ve ever spoken to prefer women dressing modestly’ and ‘I tell women in San Francisco, no man’s going to fall in love with you if you dress like that.’ I can’t remember exactly what I said in response, I just tried. He was so angry to be challenged, claiming his right ‘to have a preference’ and becoming quite malicious, saying I was ‘full of shit’ and that he understood ‘I had issues around this topic.’ There was one other young, female volunteer, a friend of his, who tried to tell me ‘he didn’t mean it in a bad way’ and then left the room. My boyfriend came in, and tried to mediate but I was shaking by that point and suggested we end the conversation as it was un-constructive. We decided later that day, based on this argument and the disappointment in the workaway placement, to leave. We went to see Michael, the boss man who owned the place, our reasons for leaving. He was very angry that we wanted to leave (he’d planned to have a ‘full labour force’ that week) and demanded to know the details of the details of the argument. When we explained, he seemed very unimpressed, and said something about the first amendment, and freedom of speech being the ‘right to offend’. I didn’t respond because I was confused about what his point was – I figured surely free speech goes both ways? Yes, a man has a right to express his sexist opinions, just as I have a right to question the validity of them. He didn’t want us to leave that day and we agreed to stay and work two extra days as a compromise. Michael said he would try to ‘resolve’ the conflict and ‘work out what had happened’. I pointed out that we’d told him what had happened – he didn’t have to agree with my opinion, but there had been a debate about gender and sexuality between two people with different opinions. He said he’d heard ‘my version’ and would speak to other people to get to the bottom of it. We didn’t want to be around the others that night, and went out to eat in the nearby town. The next morning, Michael called us back for a ‘quick chat’. His said: ‘Last night I did my due diligence, wanting to resolve the conflict that happened. And I found the source of the conflict.’ He paused dramatically, pointed at me and then said, ‘It’s you, and your angry agenda. And that’s it, I’m going to ask you to leave. Don’t argue with anyone else and leave.’ I was so happy to go, as I’d been regretting agreeing to stay the extra two days. I smiled at the term ‘angry agenda’, we packed and left. We are now in a hostel and working out what to do with our sudden freedom. I know it was a lucky escape (we were due to stay there one month!), but it’s left me re-running the whole situation in my mind. The hypocrisy of touting ‘freedom of speech’ in defense of a man’s chauvinistic judgments, and then telling me to leave his house because of my ‘angry agenda’ …? At first I found it funny because it’s so textbook. But it’s not funny, really – just surreal and all too real at the same time. Thank you so much for this platform – I feel better for venting!

N/A

I went to NYC to visit my cousin for three weeks. I was so excited. For clarification, I just turned 21 so I was allowed drink there. I figured the best way to see a city was to date the locals as my cousin was working a lot and I had to entertain myself. It was fun, and there was one guy I even had a second date with. I went back to his after the date to sleep with him, no shame. However, I was woken up after we’d fallen asleep to him being inside me. It hurt a lot. I asked him ‘what are you doing??’ and he didn’t answer. I tried moving him off me but he was stronger than me. I asked him to stop… he didn’t. I was scared, so after struggling for a while and getting no where I just let it happen. I remember him specifically asking me to ‘show him some affection’ angrily. So I did out of fear. And I suppose he took this as condoning his actions. I went back to my cousins in the morning, quiet and heavy. I haven’t told anyone. for fear of being judge as I had drank with him and consented previously to the first engagement of sex. But not the second.

Jen

I am a digital nomad, who also happens to be a single mother with two children. I really hate how it is always assumed that I have a husband, and I hate how shocked people are when I tell them “No, we are traveling alone.” It also saddens me that I can’t go everywhere I want to because I am afraid of sexual violence or being mugged. Taxi drivers in parts of the country I am in currently (Panama) have a history of taking you to an ATM and forcing you to withdraw all your money (and then sometimes worse things happen!). I have male friends who travel, and they can basically go wherever they want, whenever they want. I wish myself and my children were afforded the same luxury.

Summer

Talking to a ex-boyfriend who’s now a friend and we catch up via text often. I was telling him about my travels in Asia and how I was enjoying them but looking forward to going back to Australia because of a variety of reasons including I feel more discriminated for being a women in some Asian countries than at home. To which he replied “That’s weird that you have to worry about discrimination as a woman” To which I was so shocked and said whichever country you live in every woman could probably write a book about discrimination they have received and it occurs everywhere at work, in public, school, restaurant etc. Which was followed up with “Why so shocked? Maybe I’m just used to normal countries where women have it easier :P” Women have it easier!? I mean I am lucky to be from a country where women legally are treated as equals however they does not stop every day sexism in comments like this. They hurt me so much because people don’t realise how sexist and offensive it is. It’s a privileged male attitude which cannot understand what females go through every day. Just completely upsets me and tries my patience

Bevel

So my sister(aged 20) is planning to go on a short holiday to another country on her own. My mum is terrified and dosen’t want her to go alone(understandable). It’s just kind of sad that she can’t travel to another country on her own because she’s female and might get raped or kidnapped. #girlproblems

HJZ

In 8th grade we went on a trip to Costa Rica. Some of us kids were walking around later at night (guided by a teacher of course) and almost everywhere we went there was just random guys catcalling us and saying unwanted shit to us. We were 14! I think there was only me and my friend who were girls and like three boys. I remember a guy meowing at us. At the time we found it funny, I remember saying “wow how’d he know I’m a cat lover?” But now I think it’s just sad that that’s completely normal and ok there. Smh

HJZ

In 8th grade we went on a trip to Costa Rica. Some of us kids were walking around later at night (guided by a teacher of course) and almost everywhere we went there was just random guys catcalling us and saying unwanted shit to us. We were 14! I think there was only me and my friend who were girls and like three boys. I remember a guy meowing at us. At the time we found it funny, I remember saying “wow how’d he know I’m a cat lover?” But now I think it’s just sad that that’s completely normal and ok there. Smh