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How To Protect Yourself from Sexual Assault or Harassment on Summer Holiday
Written by Adrian Worthington, published 07-14-23
Welcome to our comprehensive guide on how to best protect yourself from sexual assault or harassment while enjoying your summer holidays. It’s crucial to prioritise personal safety and take proactive measures to ensure a secure and enjoyable travel experience. In this guide, we will provide you with a detailed checklist of preventive measures, including what to pack and how to act when in a foreign country. By following these steps, you can empower yourself and minimise the risks associated with sexual assault and harassment.
Research and Plan
Before embarking on your summer holiday, conduct thorough research about your destination. Understand the local culture, customs, and any potential safety concerns specific to the area. Here are some essential steps to consider:
- Research the Destination: Learn about the local laws, customs, and cultural norms regarding women’s safety. Understanding the social dynamics will help you navigate the environment better. The Foreign Office offers comprehensive travel advice about your preferred destination
- Choose Accommodation Wisely: Opt for accommodations located in safe and well-lit areas. Read reviews from other female traveler’s to gain insights into their experiences and ensure your chosen accommodation meets your safety requirements.
- Share Itinerary: Inform a trusted friend or family member about your travel plans, including your accommodation details, itinerary, and contact information. This way, someone back home will know your whereabouts and can assist you in case of emergencies.
- Safety Apps and Resources: Install safety apps on your mobile phone that can provide emergency assistance, such as notifying authorities or sending distress signals. Familiarize yourself with the available resources, including helpline numbers and local support organizations that can offer assistance if needed.
Having the right items in your travel bag can significantly contribute to your safety and peace of mind. Consider including the following essentials:
- Self-Defence Items: Carry non-lethal self-defence tools like a personal alarm, spray attack deterrents, or a portable safety whistle. These items can help deter potential attackers and draw attention to your situation. Our Protector 7-in-1 alarm is designed with holidays in mind, with 7 essential functions, including light and dark sensor alarms, proximity alerts, and a Bluetooth alarm linked to your phone. These features safeguard both you and your valuable belongings. The infrared alarm detects intruders within a 10m range, while the light alarm keeps drawers and bags secure by triggering during transitions from dark to light. The vibration alarm responds to door or bag movements to stop intruder entering a room or stealing your bag and the Bluetooth alarm ensures kids or bags stay close to your phone.
- Portable Charger: Ensure your mobile phone remains charged at all times. A portable charger will come in handy, especially when exploring unfamiliar areas or in emergency situations.
- Copies of Important Documents: Make copies of your passport, travel insurance, and any other crucial documents. Keep these copies separate from the originals to have backups in case of loss or theft.
- Money and Valuables: Avoid carrying large amounts of cash and expensive jewelry. Use a secure money belt or a concealed travel pouch to store your money, credit cards, and valuables discreetly.
- First Aid Kit: Pack a basic first aid kit with essentials such as band-aids, antiseptic wipes, pain relievers, and any necessary prescription medications. This will help you address minor injuries or illnesses promptly.
Safety Tips When Abroad
When in a foreign country, it’s essential to adapt to the local environment and adopt specific safety measures. Here are some actionable tips to follow:
- Blend In: Dress modestly and observe the local dress code to respect cultural norms. This can help you avoid unwanted attention and potential harassment.
- Stay Vigilant: Be aware of your surroundings and trust your instincts. If a situation feels uncomfortable or unsafe, remove yourself from it immediately.
- Use Reliable Transportation: Opt for licensed taxis or rideshare services recommended by trusted sources. Avoid unmarked or unofficial transportation options, especially during late hours.
- Public Wi-Fi and Cybersecurity: Be cautious when using public Wi-Fi networks, as they can be vulnerable to hacking and data theft. Avoid accessing sensitive information or making online transactions on public networks.
- Secure Your Belongings: Keep your belongings close to you at all times, especially in crowded areas. Use locks on your luggage, and consider investing in a portable travel lock to secure hotel room doors.
Personal Safety Practices
In addition to external factors, personal safety practices play a crucial role in minimizing the risk of sexual assault or harassment. Follow these best practices:
- Trust Your Intuition: Listen to your gut feelings and act accordingly. If someone or a situation raises suspicions, distance yourself and seek help from authorities or trusted individuals nearby.
- Assertive Body Language: Maintain confident and assertive body language. Walk with purpose, make eye contact, and project self-assurance. This can deter potential perpetrators and signal that you are not an easy target.
- Buddy System: Whenever possible, travel with a companion or join organized group activities. There is safety in numbers, and having someone by your side can provide an extra layer of security.
- Know Emergency Numbers: Save the local emergency numbers in your phone and know how to contact the local police or emergency services. Familiarize yourself with the local language for basic communication.
- Cultural Sensitivity: Respect the local customs, traditions, and norms. Be mindful of your behavior and interactions with locals. Understanding and appreciating cultural differences can help you navigate unfamiliar situations with ease.
Reporting and Seeking Help
If, despite your best efforts, you find yourself in an unsafe or compromising situation, remember these steps:
- Report Incidents: Immediately report any incidents of sexual assault or harassment to the local authorities. Provide them with as much detail as possible to aid their investigation.
- Seek Medical Attention: If you have been physically harmed, seek medical assistance promptly. Even if you believe the injuries are minor, it’s crucial to get checked by a healthcare professional.
- Contact Your Embassy or Consulate: Reach out to your country’s embassy or consulate in the foreign country for guidance, support, and assistance during challenging situations.
- Seek Counseling and Support: If you experience emotional distress following an incident, consider seeking professional counseling or support from local organizations specializing in assisting survivors of sexual assault or harassment.
By adhering to the preventive measures outlined in this comprehensive guide, you can proactively reduce the risk of sexual assault or harassment, enabling you to fully enjoy your summer holiday. Remember, prioritising personal safety is crucial. Stay informed, plan ahead, and trust your instincts for a secure, empowering, and unforgettable travel experience. For additional assistance and to get into the holiday spirit, check out our step by step guide on the best way to pack your suitcase and our invaluable holiday packing checklist to ensure you don’t overlook any essentials for your vacation.