Here’s How Our Travel Stories Differ
I’ve travelled a bit in my life. Admittedly, although I’ve been living in China for a number of years now, I seldom travel anymore except to go to a specific, known destination to visit a specific, known person. I couldn’t figure out why until recently. Previously, I just thought that my priorities were changing. I mean, I’ve been exploring the advantages and disadvantages in my life, comparing what people tell me I am with what I know I am, and as I become more and more anti-capitalist and more and more minimalist, I find the idea of travel in this day and age repulsive. But that is only part of the story. What I finally realized is that all of the sexual assault in my life, especially that experienced while travelling, has finally caught up with me psychologically, and I have a form of PTSD that is common, but not widely recognized or accepted, in many women who have suffered continually at the hands and dicks of men.
Anyhow, if you have the chance to sit down with people who are willing to be honest about their travel experiences, you’ll notice a major difference between the stories men tell you and those that women tell you.
Unfortunately, I still have a male in my life who travels extensively without any grasp of his straight, white, able-bodied, British, male privilege, and I’m stuck listening to his stories. He is much, much less interested in my stories – never mind my less pleasant stories. Men seldom want to have the reality of their privilege laid out before them. I only keep this dude around because it’s hard to find an atheist to talk to and it’s hard to find an anti-capitalist anywhere. It’s China – a pseudo-religious/uber-traditional, money-hungry, consumerist culture. It’s a hard place to be as a foreign woman with my philosophy of life.
So I’ve taken any atheist I can get. If you listen to the travel exploits of any dude like my acquaintance, you’ll hear about drunken revelry, getting into heaps of ‘trouble’ (all a good laugh really, they say), not a single fear of anything in the mix, and if they’re really honest with you (which my friend has not been, but I’m sure the stories are there), about all the women (most likely enslaved girls) they’ve r̶a̶p̶e̶d̶ paid to fuck. Some dudes have told me about their prostitution adventures in very poor countries. And myself, I’ve personally witnessed foreign men picking up 14-year-olds in impoverished places. Ten cent blow jobs or anal rape, anyone? They’re just poor trash. They’re just whores. Just there to service wealthy, foreign penises. And hey, the dudes are contributing to the economy by employing them!!! Men love their prostitution/rape vacations, they do, they do. Oh, male privilege. The depths of depravity and sociopathy and narcissism can’t be calculated.
If you listen to the travel experiences of women who’ve journeyed alone, and they trust you enough to be honest with you, after you hear about the interesting things they’ve seen and done, you’ll hear about tales of being intimidated, followed, flashed, harassed, solicited, groped, attacked, beaten and/or raped by men. It is not a rare thing. I can’t think of a trip I’ve taken – regardless of whether it is the Third World or a developed nation – where some horrible and frightening sex-based incident hasn’t happened to me, including a gang rape while I was unconscious in the bed in the hostel where I was staying, and for which I got in trouble and kicked out because the men made too much noise. The men got to stay, of course. Of course!!! And the assaults over the years have come from white men, black men, Arabs, Asians, Latinos, Christians, Jews, Muslims, atheists. Their race and religion varied, but they had four things in common – they were men, they had privilege over me, they hated women, and they got away with everything and are free to do it all again to someone else. I was targeted because I was a woman, and sometimes, specifically because I was a white woman. [See the growing collection of posts on white female ‘privilege’ here.]
Keep in mind that women usually don’t tell men what has happened to them in their lives, because men will usually brush it off, derail them, blame them, and/or make jokes. That has been my experience. I remember trying to tell someone I was close to about being raped while travelling, and he cut me off angrily to tell me about these never-heard-of-before roving gangs of men in Europe who roam the countryside and alleyways raping male travellers. WTF??? Had he seen or experienced these purported gangs? No. Could he point to some source so I could find out more? No. But he accomplished his goal. He derailed me, and I shut down. He still to this day doesn’t know what happened to me. And I, ten years later, still have never heard of roving gangs of European men who rape and terrorize male travellers willy nilly… Yet, the real stories of my fellow female travellers pour in.
I feel honoured when women trust me enough to tell me about their fear and assault experiences while travelling. They’re brave souls in a way that men never have been and never will have to be, and they don’t deserve what is heaped upon them simply because they have breasts and vaginas and have the audacity simply to exist in public. Women’s stories have never been told, barely exist in the historical record, and are still trampled on today. We need to listen, learn, and put the responsibility for violence where it needs to be. This post isn’t evidence for why women should not travel, especially alone. That is, disgustingly, the position that most of the world takes. Rather, it is evidence for the fact that men in all countries need to take responsibility for their privileged, sociopathic behaviour.
Posted on August 21, 2015, in Conversations with Men, Human Rights, Male Privilege, Violence and tagged rape, sexual assault, stories, travel, women. Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on Here’s How Our Travel Stories Differ.