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Thread: Women and safety

  1. #61
    Mini Goon Don Russell's Avatar
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    You don't sound strange to me Cara-Lyn... Now I can't make my mind up if that's a good thing or not!

  2. #62
    Ultra King MoS's Avatar
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    In response to Hugh?s thread title ? Do women walking alone feel at risk?? The overwhelming response from women on this forum seems to be - No we don?t.

    Hugh asserts that many women fear for their safety when alone. When it comes to walking in the hills then he is talking, on this forum, to many women who do walk alone and so its fairly obvious that they must feel reasonably safe, or they wouldn?t be out there doing it.

    I agree with what many people have said in that personal safety shouldn?t be a gender issue. However there will be women out there who may well be reading this and who are afraid to go walking alone. For whatever reason they may not have the confidence to do it or perhaps they have lost that confidence. It doesn?t mean that they are any better or worse than the rest of us. Their fear is real for them and it must have come from somewhere. I know many people who cannot understand why I would ?risk? walking alone. Their perception of the risks is different to mine. Not everyone is fortunate enough to feel totally comfortable in the outdoors. Sadly every time an incident where a woman is attacked, raped or worse, is reported in the media, those people with fears, will feel that their fears have been substantiated. I don?t think a walking handbook is an appropriate place to discuss this issue. But I do think it is an issue that needs to be discussed and it should be done in a way which respects people as individuals, even if we feel that their fears cannot be justified from our own experience and point of view.

    Should the issue of personal safety be included in a walking handbook? Yes I think so, I think it should be done positively, promoting the value of lone walking for those confident to do so. There have been practical suggestions like leaving information about route and expected time of arrival, all the books I have come across give this sort of advice without making gender an issue. I don?t think emotive language helps. I agree that by paying too much attention to the issue, the book could just be reinforcing existing misconceptions, as many others have pointed out, there are real dangers out there which do need to be pointed out to the inexperienced.

  3. #63
    ‹bermensch Cara-Lyn:  Stealth Sloth's Avatar
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    Yeah well Don, people with similar attitudes and experiences rarely find each other strange ;-)

    Elaine - totally agree. From the safety aspect, all that needs to be included is the "leave route details and ETA with someone" general stuff. No matter WHAT the cause of the delay or non-return, someone will then be alerted. Gender on the hill, or, in fact, anywhere away from cosseted civilisation and "society" is totally irrelevant.

  4. #64
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    always handy to leave addresses of where to get nails fixed should they break in jungle/hills. find it so hard to get appointment.

  5. #65
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    Hugh. Seems that i don't recognise the description of women that you're writing for/spoken to.
    there's a difference between hiking alone in mountains (which in this tiny country are relatively remote) and rambling/low level walking - where the chances of meeting random madness are higher for both men and women, because these areas are more accessible and closer to roads.

    seems to me that its rather insulting to decent men to be told we should all men should feel shame for the aggressors.
    personally, i think i have more in common with the women than the men you refer to.

    seems also that the proposals that your interviewees put forward are pretty subjective to the group you interviewed.
    for a start, i don't think that anyone (men in this case) should be constantly changing their behaviour to compensate for someone else's possible fears, and having pretend rummaging through rucsack moments based on presumptions and assumptions.
    this is ridiculous. its expecting all men to be apologetic and unreal all the time.

    everyone needs to be considerate and respectful of other people. that behaviour (as long as it's natural and real) is more reassuring than any compensatory strategy.
    i don't suppose the women who hike alone in mountains and hills would b there if they didn't feel comfortable about it.

    i agree though that there are huge numbers of men out there who are a pain in the arse and can make women's life a misery for all the reasons you described. i personally see them in the workplace, in the street, in traffic, in the pub etc.
    but i don't see them/notice this bullshit in the hills.
    i don't think men or women should presume that we are all wankers or be cautious of all men. maybe i've gone off on a rant or a tangent here - i haven't read many of the replies. what's needed is confidence on the part of lone females, not paranoia and apologetic/avoidance behaviour from decent people.

  6. #66
    Goon
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    -peter and the local nailbar is where??

  7. #67
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    i think you must be refering to my statement that i probably have more in common with these women than the scary men?. if so, then yeah that was a dumb statement in retrospect !.
    ah well, its done now.

  8. #68
    ‹bermensch Peewiglet's Avatar
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    Peter - I didn't think it was dumb: as I read it I was sure you were correct!

    Most people have very little in common with nutters, whether male or female

  9. #69
    Ultra King Ddyrchafedig Gyrrwr (Beic Modur)'s Avatar
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    Yep Peter, your post made perfect sence to me!!

  10. #70
    Ultra King Ddyrchafedig Gyrrwr (Beic Modur)'s Avatar
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    And I have just arrived back from a caving club meeting after a few beers!!!!



  11. #71
    Ultra King Ddyrchafedig Gyrrwr (Beic Modur)'s Avatar
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    Hence the spelling of "sense!"




  12. #72
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    Mmmm, I've climbed most of the 3000's in Wales on my own because my partner wouldn't come with me for one, but I also think I got more out of it for doing so.

    I prefer (sometimes) to be on my own. I'm quite a sociable person, and am happy to stop for a chat now and again, but I don't really enjoy the dynamics of group hug type walks.

    Living in Sarf London is far more scarier than being up a hill on my own. (I've nearly been mugged, twice, got out of both situations by being bolshy and agressive - attackers don't like their prey causing a scene)

    On the hill I've only ever once thought, fook, I'm here on my own (Y Garn) and not a person in sight apart from a man, walking towards me... He said, how do, passed on by and I felt stupid.

    I do however find the suggestion that men should rumage in their bag etc quite alarming. It's PC gone mental to the point whereby all men could be perceived as potential rapists/muggers/murderers.

    I'd be furious at Hugh's suggestion of what I should be doing on the hill if I were a man.

    Tony, I've just had a nice meal Sans booze. Trying to be good...

  13. #73
    Widdler SALLOS's Avatar
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    ?'Female walkers may worry about their physical safety in the countryside which should make we males ashamed of our sex.? ????
    Does this mean that black people should also feel ashamed because a lot of white people feel intimidated by them?

  14. #74
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    Lets rewrite the Article and see what we find? And also lets make the author black.

    'white walkers may worry about their physical safety in the countryside which should make we blacks ashamed of our colour. White men do not suffer the indignity of being groped on crowded Underground trains nor subjected to unwanted comments about their appearance (Obviously never lived in London) so it is difficult for us black males to appreciate the apprehension that some white men feel when encountering a black stranger in a lonely place. Although the chances of a white man being assaulted whilst walking in the countryside are negligible, mainly because Black Muggers are much more likely to seek a victim in an urban car park, nevertheless there have been a ?handful of cases in the last thirty years? and many more white men being made apprehensive by thoughtless rather than improper behaviour. Even though the risk is usually perceived rather than actual (remember a hand full of cases in 30 years and for this we villified!), White men who are nervous should consider walking either with a companion or a dog and also carrying a personal alarm or some other deterrent (like Uzi Submachine gun for total security).

    Black walkers can play their part by considerate behaviour because although you know that you are harmless and have no evil intent, A white man does not. Nowadays, most Black Men appreciate that greetings such as
    ?Wa gawan and Wats a good white bwoy like ya self adoing ull alown out ear den?? are boorish, offensive and intimidating, but may not realize that their own behaviour could also be misconstrued.

    The following advice to black men is based upon the author?s discussions with members of white men?s walking clubs:

    1 If you are walking in the same direction as a white man, you know that it is because you are both heading for the same destination. However, he might wonder whether you are trying to mug him, so you should leave a considerable distance between you. If walking faster, you should wait for a suitable, non-threatening opportunity to overtake.

    2 If a white man is behind you and walking faster, stop to take a photograph or rummage in your rucksack to allow her plenty of time to pass and get some distance ahead before you resume walking.

    3 When you meet a white man greet him pleasantly but neither engage him in conversation nor look back when you have passed him.

    4 Small courtesies that would be agreeable in a town ?like good morning or good afternoon? should be avoided to prevent the white man feeling any obligation towards you. If you meet near a gate, do not hold it open and wait for him, but walk through and call out ?Will you shut the gate, please?? Similarly, if you meet at a stile do not attempt to help him in any way what so ever.'

  15. #75
    Widdler SALLOS's Avatar
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    The problem in life my friends are that real security does not exist. We as people feel intimidated every day by perceived fears. The only real useful fact in the proper article was: ?there have been a ?handful of cases in the last thirty years? all the rest is BS. Another fact is that most rapes and violence against women is usually perpetrated by people they knew well and had never felt intimidated by. I, as a male do not feel ashamed. And I talk as a father of two daughters as well as a son. Women feel insecure if they find them self in a situation that they perceive is intimidating or dangerous, men are no different, and many a civilization has been wiped out for the same reason.
    I have a fear of heights for instance; I can either overcome it and climb, or stay away from the mountains.

  16. #76
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    Heading out for the hills today with nail fixed and problem solved. Caravan towing mirrors attached to pack, simple but hopefully effective.

  17. #77
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    Sorry, I thought the article was a wind-up.

    Could have been part of a "Mr Cholmondley-Warner" sketch.

    Quite odd, in fact. I much prefer Steve Gough's approach.

  18. #78
    Ultra King MoS's Avatar
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    I am wondering how Hugh might feel under the weight of all this strong feeling. His words have provoked a huge reaction, some light-hearted, some thoughtful and some angry.

    In the interest of balance and consideration for people?s feelings it may be useful to remember that.

    There is a real issue here for the women who Hugh has talked with. People on this forum are right to point out that those fears are not justified, but Hugh is motivated by their need for some kind of reassurance, encouragement and practical advice. He is updating a walking book and has seen it as an opportunity to do just that.

    Hugh has prepared a FIRST draft and its obvious that the majority here think he has got it wrong because -

    a) it should not be a gender issue in a book about walking. (that does not mean that we should ignore the feelings of women who for whatever reason, feel threatened by men. I don?t know where these women?s fears come from but to any woman who has experienced violence and abuse from a man, the fear IS a gender issue.)


    b) a group of people (men in this case) should not feel that they need to be lumped together and held responsible for another group?s fears (the women Hugh talked to in this case)

    But I do give Hugh credit for wanting to help those women who have discussed their fears with him, even if there is strong disagreement with his FIRST draft. By putting it forward and asking for constructive criticism isn?t he saying something like -not sure if I?ve got this right, what do you think? Hugh has every right to say I feel ashamed of my fellow man but doesn?t have the right to speak on behalf of all men.

    I respect everyone for expressing their feelings, including the women who have fears, the man who wants to address those fears, the women who do not share those fears and the men who have been offended by the suggestion that they are responsible.

    I hope people haven?t lost sight of the real issue of personal safety. I think it is tragic that there are some men and women who might be missing out on getting out there and enjoying the outdoors because of irrational fears. I hope Hugh finds the constructive comments he is after.

  19. #79
    ‹bermensch Cara-Lyn:  Stealth Sloth's Avatar
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    Another BIG problem is that fear breeds fear. If one of Hugh's female clients is speking to another, and they both started out with a mild concern about walking alone, by the end of the conversation they could easily have convinced each other that it's far too dangerous to do.
    It is impossible for confidence to develop when one's peers have similar fears.

    In fact, Annie and I both suggested Hugh come out on a meet. I take that back. It's it his clients who should come out with some of the OM girls, and then hopefully return with the attitude "well, if most British female walkers are OK with it, there can't be as big a problem as we think" and hopefully they would be more happy to go it alone. And of course also give their new found feedback to Hugh.

    I lied earlier, by the way. I said I never worried about being alone. In the hills, this is true. However, I live in city suburbs, and my local walk is along a canal towpath out into the country. Several attacks on joggers have been reported along the more urban stretches of hte canal. Once I'm a mile or 2 out of the city, I feel safe and fine, but I'm always a bit wary nearer the city, especially in dusk or dark. Again though, it's simply a matter of staying aware and alert, and once I'm right out in the country, I love being alone out there.

  20. #80
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    The problem with the "advice" is not that it's wrong - but that it is patronising in the extreme. Anyone who has any idea how to treat anybody wouldn't try to scare them by walking one pace behind them, or staring at them, or asking personal questions in the middle of nowhere when they've never met them before. Sociopaths are hardly likely to take advice from a book about walking.

    As for fumbling in rucksacks to allow faster walkers to pass - yes, I do that on the rare occasions I notice someone close up behind me - but 99% of people are too courteous to do that and the other 1% are in big groups. Anyone following me is usually nearly as lost as I am.

    Assisting "ladeeees" over stiles? God help us. I help my wife over obstacles sometimes but even then only when she tells me to. And there's nothing in this world that would stop me holding a gate open for anybody that was reaching it at the same time as me. Smiling and looking vaguely non-murderer like usually helps with that.

    People that don't have the courtesy and common sense to avoid frightening other people of either gender aren't going to take this advice, are they?

    In over 20 years on the hills (much of the time on my own) I have never once felt threatened, upset, or even vaguely uncomfortable in the company of other people. Maybe that's because I'm a man. I don't think so.

    I'm sure Hugh won't take the criticism personally - I don't think he'd have asked the question otherwise.

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