Rachel Sales is the editor of Pink Pangea, the community for women travellers.
If you're a woman travelling the world, chances are you’ve been the target of a few creepy comments, stares, kissing sounds, or outright marriage proposals.
No matter where you go, catcalls are a part of a woman’s reality – and sometimes it can feel like you get even more unwanted attention when it’s clear you're not a local.
Don’t let it get you down. Follow these tips and catcalls will fade into the background of your trip…
“Ciao bella!” “Que linda!”
Often men will tell you how beautiful they think you are: you may be flattered, or totally creeped out. Either way, don’t react or they’ll think you’re interested. Just keep your eyes facing forward and continue moving. It may take a while for them to get the hint, but eventually, they will probably go away.
2. Just say no
Unfortunately, even acting like the offenders don’t exist sometimes doesn’t stop the most persistent types. At these times, it’s best to be up front and let them know you’re not interested.
Try to learn the appropriate words in your destination’s language. Use a firm tone and be sure not to crack a smile - if you don’t look 100% serious, they won’t take you seriously. They may respond with a few crude words. Don’t let it get to you. They were rude to begin with.
If the situation isn’t getting better after you’ve made it clear you’re not interested, it probably won’t. Get out of that location as soon as possible whether that means exiting through the door or turning down another street. Don’t feel defeated – your safety always comes first.
4. Find refuge in a nearby location
Dipping into a store, church or another building along the way can provide a safe escape from the cat-caller and buy you time until he finds someone else to bother.
Take a few minutes to breathe and feel calm in the presence of others .It’s unlikely he’ll follow you where there are other people. When you feel ready, check to see if the guy is gone and get back to exploring!
5. Get help from local women
Surround yourself with the strong women in your destination. They are most likely experts at deflecting local male attention. Explain the situation as best as you can so that they understand what’s wrong. There’s a good chance they’ll be just as angry as you are.
Ask them to show you their method for deflecting cat-calls, and remember how they do it. Maybe you’ll be the one helping another woman in the future!
“ Chile :)