What's worse, street harassment in your daily routine or street harassment while you're on the road for work or play?
The Times business travel columnist has discovered iHollaback and its new international affiliates. It's all good: "To me, the most impressive thing about the fight-back phenomenon is the youthful determination to organize and take concerted action about a problem that female travelers have long faced on the road, often alone and without recourse," he marvels. (This, combined with David Carr's mainstreaming of the point that Charlie Sheen was fine as a woman-abuser but not as a boss-insulter, shows that The Times' gentleman columnists are on a roll of gender awareness.)
It's true that female travelers face harassment on the road — as do many of the women who live in these other cities or places, as these travelers do at home. It has another flavor while traveling, that lack of certainty about where you can turn the corner to be safe, and if there's a language or cultural barrier, you're ever more conspicuous and potentially vulnerable.
When I polled out staff, several had stories that ranged from terrifying (men in Cairo surrounding MoGlo, chanting and grabbing at her clothes) to funny (Dodai's brother had a hex put on him in Portugal). Dodai also saw a man in Paris throw a yogurt smoothie on a girl who was ignoring his catcalls. I was once harshly reprimanded by an Argentine police officer who said I had humiliated him in front of his pals by rolling my eyes at his catcalls the day before (I remembered nothing of this). But I was also rescued by a Turkish cafe waiter from a young man who followed me for blocks ominously murmuring in French. (The waiter insisted I sit for a free cup of coffee to calm my nerves, then informed me the harasser was Arab, not Turkish.) Anyone else?
By the way, everyone I asked agreed they'd experienced more and worse in New York, where we've all had our share of horror stories. There's no place like home.