My first serious experience of sexual harassment as a solo female cycle tourist
Life on the road may be full of beautiful views and many wonderful people, but it’s important to be aware of what can sometimes become challenging factors as well.
As a female, I have experienced varying degrees of sexual harassment my whole life, and despite being an extremely patient person that is pretty tolerant and understanding, (particularly when it comes to understanding that things can sometimes be miscommunicated between nationalities,) I am NEVER afraid to express when someone crosses the line and I encourage other women to do so, too.
We have to speak up to be heard!
Never be uncomfortable to say that you’re uncomfortable.
This account was from my time cycling along the Ho Chi Minh Trail along a pretty remote sector in the mountains. There was no one around except for a man I saw urinating at the side of the road (which is quite normal to see due to the long distances between service stations/towns in this area).
As I approached him, he noticed me and began touching himself inappropriately. I was so shocked at the time, plus I was travelling at a pretty decent speed on a downhill, that I didn’t have time to say anything but just continued on and cycled off as quickly as possible, disgusted.
I then noticed the man drive slowly past me on his motorbike and if looks could kill, he would have dropped down dead because my eyes told him exactly what I thought of his behaviour. Seeing as he was on a motorbike, I didn’t have much time to respond, but another kilometre or so down the road, he had parked and hidden along the bushes with his trousers down waiting for me to cycle past again.
I went mental!
I was shouting and screaming every curse under the sun at the top of my lungs so that he could feel every bit of fury I had in response to his despicable behaviour. This was all whilst I was in motion and flashed past me very quickly.
He definitely didn’t have a clue what words I said, but he knew exactly what I was communicating with him and that I was NOT okay with what he had done.
It may be the case that he does the same thing again to another woman, it may not, but I can only hope that my response made him reconsider his actions because it was one of the most disgusting things I’ve ever experienced.
I am certain that this will not be the last incident of sexual harassment that I will experience on my journey, but I also know that I will NOT feel intimidated and I WILL stand up for myself. Always.
If any other women would like to share their stories or are looking for support or advice on with dealing with sexual harassment cases, whether that’s in relation to an isolated incident or an ongoing relationship, please get in touch, I’d love to support you.
Never feel alone. We, as females, are one; let’s stand together to fight sexual harassment.