Why do we need travel safety training specifically for women?
Aren’t the dangers of travel the same for all sexes? Yes and no!
Women face additional challenges simply because they are women. Many are not conscious of the dangers and ignore safety measures under the ignorant veil of “that would never happen to me”.
Others fall prisoners of what we call the “Nice-Girl” trap, others are plainly just scared of even imagining themselves in such horrible situations. Because of these and many other reasons, many women face additional dangers when traveling and travel safety training is important.
As a foreigner, you are generally a popular target for criminals, as the perpetrators know that you will leave the country quickly, do not speak the language well or do not know the legal system.
This is the same for both sexes. An expensive watch is stripped from your wrist or your smartphone is stolen from the table just as quickly as the necklace is torn from your neck.
The ring is stripped from the finger by the polite suitcase carrier or the wallet is stolen by an armed robber.
Women are disadvantaged here, as statistically they wear more jewellery than men and usually carry handbags with them, which could be snatched by a passing motorcyclist.
Health and hygiene risks are an important factor of travel safety. Something that has to be addressed are the anatomical differences between men and women, which further contribute to different risks between men and women.
For example, special hygiene and health requirements during the period. The increased risk of urinary tract infections or fungal infections should also not go unmentioned.
Even the mention of bleeding or tampons with an insertion aid makes many men freeze not knowing what to do or how to help.
The image that comes to mind when thinking about travel safety, is how to be safe from sexual assaults. What most men are spared is the experience of a sexual assault. They do not have the experience of being groped, glanced at, physically or verbally sexually harassed.
Most women are well aware of these risks, which are not limited to travelling abroad. The fear of a woman in a dark underpass, in a parking garage or in front of a locked hotel at night in a foreign city is probably not something a man can fully understand.
I do not blame the men for that either. How could they know? You have never been a woman and news like “Jogging male student raped in the park at night” are also rather rare.
One man is no guarantee of safety
Therefore, a man travelling with you is no guarantee for safety. Many companies say that their employees do not travel alone. That means nothing. Because in these tense situations people are not sure what to do and often find themselves helpless and overwhelmed, as is known from accident sites.
This is also the case with assaults: “In the end I do something wrong or my help is not wanted, so I’d rather do nothing at all”. Or the colleague does not even notice that his colleague is being or feels harassed.
Because a situation that is threatening for her seems harmless to him. Especially when she tries to “not make a scene”.
Sometimes the colleagues themselves are also the perpetrators. Something that is then often trivialized: “Paul, oh, you know Paul. He’s just like that when he’s had a drink. One should not take everything so seriously”.
The nice-girl trap
In general, women find it difficult to deal with disputes, whether physical or verbal. Even when it is absolutely appropriate to put up a massive fight.
This goes so far that some women in the company don’t even say that they do martial arts in order to “not give the wrong impression” and be seen as “quarrelsome women’s libbers” or similar.
Moreover, they don’t want to be considered weak when they go to trainings. One could interpret this as “incompetence” and use it against them.
We call this the “nice-girl trap”. This upbringing that tells us women to be sweet, kind, well-behaved and obliging. Always.
Just not to have any needs of our own. Then you could be considered hypersensitive. Don’t raise your voice. Especially not scream or hit. It’s “unfeminine” and hysterical.
If a woman then has had sexual assault experiences in her past – by uncle, stepfather, neighbour or grandpa – she often doesn’t know what would be an adequate response.
An example that a woman told me last year
She was in France for an event and took a taxi back to the station. The driver – she was in the passenger seat – fondled her in a very abrupt way. What she did then, I asked her, “I politely told him to stop”.
To all male readers: Which of you would have “politely told him to stop”?!? Your response would probably be very different.
And then what? “Then he fiddled with himself.” She said it like she was talking about the weather. “Then I prayed that we would be at the station soon. Where was I supposed to go in the middle of a French motorway?” – she didn’t react, she didn’t report him and she paid him the full fee.
I do not blame her – such examples are not isolated cases. They reflect the love-girl trap. Often it is women who tell me these stories, asking what travel safety training for women is needed for. For exactly that!
The Warrior Mindset…
The “being nice-mindset” is very obstructive to a woman’s ability to react adequately in a dangerous situation. You need a warrior mindset.
The willingness to deal with dangers and for example just never to sit next to the driver regardless of whether he thinks it’s stupid. Safety has a lot to do with attitude.
What is completely normal for men who have military or police training is completely new territory for many women: analysing dangerous scenarios, reacting early enough, even getting loud sometimes.
Thinking about where a possible assailant might come from, where you should therefore stay away from or how to react best.
“When I deal with danger, I get scared” is the wrong approach. The opposite is the case!
Only what I know I can recognize. When it comes to a self-defence situation, often a lot has gone wrong beforehand. The much-mentioned “common sense” is a very bad reference-point.
The world is complex, and people do strange things. Especially people who are on drugs, have nothing left to lose or have a hormone surplus!
Offenders love easy victims
Offenders want as little work and risk as possible and love easy victims.
Women who are not able to run because of high heels who are restricted in their freedom of movement because of constricting clothing, who are distracted by headphones or by looking at their mobile phone.
Who feel so secure in hotels that they are permanently in a somnambulistic state of consciousness. Who do not expect that someone could gain access to their room and wait for them there. “Nothing ever happened to me” is just not good enough as a security measure.
Why don’t you play the game “What could the stranger next to me in the elevator or behind me in the corridor of the hotel possibly do, how do I react best?” Just for fun.
Guilt, Shame and Depression
Unfortunately, when something happens “that you never expected in your life”, many women are ashamed. They feel broken, dirty, disgusting and look for the guilt in themselves.
Or they get it from others – often women too! – with words like “you caused that yourself”. Was the look too provocative, the smile too provocative etc.?
Here must be said clearly: It’s never the victim’s fault. The blame lies solely with the perpetrator, who is not in control of himself and simply does not want to understand the “no”.
I know the example of a young woman who was almost raped by a hotel employee in the blind spot of a camera, was it not for hotel guests passing by. The young woman has not really recovered to this day.
UTE SCHNEIDER INTERNATIONAL
Why do we need travel safety training for women?
- Gain awareness of possible risks that “common sense” would not expect and to recognize dangers early on.
- Develop and train its early warning system by addressing the characteristics of an attack, so-called pre-incident indicators.
- Be able to talk about your own experiences in the protected space. From practice, for practice. Because that is what security lives from!
- In order to be able to better assess your own patterns of action.
- Deal with your own attitude towards violence.
- Know that there are different stages of consciousness and how to train them.
- Trust your own intuition and to leave dangerous situations early.
- Develop a Warrior Mindset and thus not fall into the nice-girl trap.
- Make it as difficult as possible for perpetrators.
- Play through real danger situations in a protected environment and thus make unconscious knowledge consciously and quickly accessible.
- Deal with things like guilt and shame and to bring a new attitude into this society.
As a business woman it is important to stay informed and ahead of any undesirable situation. Ute Schneider International specializes in coaching women in how to be safe when traveling; offering different options to facilitate coaching to your needs, from free 30 min “Skype” sessions, online shop and offering assistance through mail or phone. Click the link below to learn more.Ute Schneider International