Sit Yourself Down

I follow this chap on social media who documents his aid work missions with a charity I’m connected to.  I have no doubt he does epic work.  He’s blocked me twice in the past though because I’ve tried to debate with him on some pretty rubbish views he has.  I’m also pretty sure he’s a bit of a narccicist so I follow him more now out of morbid curiosity.


On a side note, I shouldn’t get irritated by tweets of aid missions but I do.  I am all for educating the world on what you’re witnessing but what I am avidly against are refugee photo shoots, emaciated people showing a beholden gratitude to the Westeners who have come to help them.  As a medical professional, we would never take photos of our patients in this country as we treat them.  I do believe the same courtesy should be extended to patients being treated on aid missions.  There was a great article written about volunteering overseas which essentially summed everything up with one question “if there wasn’t a camera, would you still do it?”


Anyway, back to my main point.  I know I should stop following him, I know.  But he’s only just unblocked me and I’m curious as to why.  I wonder if it’s because he wanted me to see his tweet below:


The condescending tone in the last sentence makes me wince as well as the ignorance over rape.  Had he been talking about rape being used as some sort of weapon in the camps he worked in then maybe I would try to understand his point and forgive his scare tweeting.  As it stands, he wasn’t.  In which case, it’s worth noting, woman aren’t raped because they travel alone.  Ninety percent of women know their rapists prior to the assault occurring.  So basically it’s more likely to happen on familiar territory.


Whilst most of his tweets, even aid mission tweets, irritate me – this one in particular got under my skin.  I am for the most part a solo traveller like I’m sure many women and many Muslim women.  It does however conform to the view held by conservatives – that women should not be travelling alone without a sagely male presence otherwise *BAD* things will happen to you.  What makes me wince further are the comments underneath……by women!  “This is why we should never travel without a man”.  No, No, No!!


As a solo female traveller, my biggest advice is to use your gut.  If it doesn’t feel right then it’s probably not.  If your gut is useless then use your logic.  And if your logic is useless then just stick to a guide book and don’t venture off the beaten path.  There are places which I wouldn’t explore without a buddy but for the most part, the world and its people are a beautiful place so let’s get out there.





6 Replies to “Sit Yourself Down”

  1. Tiff Griffin says: Reply

    I could have a field on inappropriate volunteer behaviour and attitudes in development work.As for the person’s message yeh I disagree for many reasons.Firstly it perpetuates a patriarchal myth that women are orchid like creatures in need of protection from men.By men of course. WTF.
    Secondly it shifts the debate away from where it needs to be, as you say it’s a wonderful world full mostly of good people.As was said by a commentator in India(I think) the focus should not be on teaching women how to not get abused, it should be on building a society where men do not wish to abuse women.This tweet puts the focus back on female behaviour, but in general it’s not female behaviour that in general needs to change.It’s male attitudes,beliefs and behaviour.
    And you are spot on about instincts, I’ve come to believe very very strongly that we have these instincts,these loud,strong inner voices.But socialisation, rationalisation call it what you will, tells us not to trust them.They are hard-wired into us and we should listen to them far more often.

    1. Do share some of the other things you’ve come across in the development field? From my own experiences, it always baffles me as to how quickly we let go of the rules we would abide by here in our volunteering or work capacity. And yes, change starts from the beginning. Teaching boys about respect and appropriate behaviours to get rid of mysogynistic behaviours as men.

      And yes, I agree with the whole orchids part of your comment. Although it’s not said outright, I do feel the implication is there, protect yourself from men by taking a man with you.

  2. Could us women also use a bit of logic please and not eat out the hands of misogynists?

  3. If you’re a doctor then please use your experiences wisely and not to fear monger!!! This is ridiculous – does he have any tips for wandering around the UK safely then, should we always have a buddy???

    1. I think it was a really poor example that he seems to have plucked from his work and used in this context. But yes the slightly frustrating thing is how many women are agreeing with him and thanking him for his advice. Ugh.

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