A pat on the bottom, a grope in the street; if you’re female and travelling alone, it doesn’t matter whether you walk ten paces to your local corner shop or voyage across the world, the likelihood is you’re going to receive some pretty frequent unwanted advances.
For some women, the thought of being marginalized because of their gender is infuriating, for others it’s the sheer audacity or rudeness of a stranger that drives them insane, but for me, it is the unremitting regularity of the problem that drives the nail in the coffin of my last scrap of willpower to protest.
The very nature of the beast is man’s delusion that their relentless pursuit is acceptable, and worse, appreciated, by the opposite sex.People will tell you to dress appropriately, not to make eye contact, and just to walk away, which are all great ways to suffer social oppression, but even the most staid behaviour is not going to help you a jot if you have some obnoxious cling on with desperate aftershave, grinding his bits on you in the queue for the post office.
And it’s not just the toothless curb crawlers that will try their hand, businessmen and other working professionals will test their luck, albeit far more discreetly, but nonetheless with the same unstoppable belief that women will be receptive to their vile proposals.
After two years of living in a city where situations of U.A. were unfortunately consistent, I became completely worn down by the effects of hanging my head wherever I went and accepting whatever repugnance came my way. I worked in a school set in the middle of a busy marketplace; I loved my job, the city and had a great circle of friends to socialise with, but despite following the guidance of women who told me to ignore the cat calls and indecent proposals, my morning walk to work made my life a misery.
The difficult fact of the matter is that no culture has got it right or wrong. I see unwanted advances as a type of bullying; no culture is exempt from this and no culture has yet eradicated the problem.
If the X Factor has taught us anything, it’s that sex sells and crazed delusional people are everywhere. If you want advice, I’d say wear what you want, act how you want, just never underestimate the power of your appeal and the depths of relentless sexual delusion in the world.
To read about others’ experiences living abroad click here