plantbased, runner, running, student, travel, Uncategorized, vegan

30 hours to Laos and sexual harassment whilst travelling

During our 30 hour bus journey to Laos I was unfortunate enough to become the object of a creep (aka our bus drivers) desire… 

We weren’t especially looking forward to spending 30 hours on a bus from Hanoi to Luoyang Prabang but knew that it was going to save us a lot of money (rather than flying) so bought snacks in Hanoi and settled in for the long haul. 
After leaving Hanoi at 5pm, being shuttled from bus to bus to finally board our sleeper bus at 7pm we were already pretty agitated so when we were given the two back seats we were really happy. The beds were a bit more cosy than we’re used to on sleeper buses but seeing as leah and I would be together we would be fine.
I don’t know how but within half an hour Leah and I were asleep on the bus and actually ended up sleeping for the majority of the journey. 
Around midnight the drivers switched so that one could get some sleep and he took the space in the back row with Leah and I. I thought nothing of it as personal space doesn’t seem to be a thing in Asia and fell back to sleep… Only to be woken up by the guy stroking my leg. 
In hindsight I should have probably realised straight away but I wasn’t sure if I was imagining it in my sleepy state or if he did it accidentally so I just moved his hand away and fell back to sleep again. 
Again I was awoken by him stroking my leg. This time I realised that he was being pervey so moved his hand away more forcefully. Yet again his hand popped out of the covers to reach for me but this time he kept trying to stroke my arm. 
I’m really annoyed that I didn’t make more of a scene but honestly I was pretty freaked out by the whole situation. Nothing like this has ever happened to me before and this was happening on the pitch black mountain roads of Laos at 3am by one of the drivers. I was scared that if I made a scene they’d kick leah and I off of the bus. 
I didn’t even wake Leah up I was that freaked out and instead stayed awake basically laying on top of Leah out of the drivers reach. 
The boarder crossing 
Once off the bus making our way across the boarder from Vietnam to Laos I told Leah what happened last night and she was pretty pissed that I didn’t wake her but understood why. 
We filled in our Vietnamese exit form and completed the Laos tourist visa, paid our $35 each and waited to meet the bus on the Laos side. 
During this time leah had been chased by a pack of dogs when she tried to find the bathroom… Laos did not get off to a great start. 
Back on the bus 
Once back on the bus I caught up on some of the sleep that I missed out on last night and looked at the views. 
The Laos countryside is actually beautiful! 
We also got to see some of the smaller villages in Laos whilst the drivers dropped off cargo on route. The bus was full of clothes, toys, rice etc. all being delivered before we got to Luoyang Prabang. 
Confronting the perve 
Unfortunately we were on the bus for two evenings and once the sunset on the second day the Pervey driver was back next to me. 
I hoped that he would’ve got the message last night but he didn’t. Almost as soon as the bus lights turned off he was back reaching for my arm. Again I pushed him away but his hand kept coming back. I literally crushed his fingers against a bar with my elbow at one point but he kept reaching for me. At this point I was actually lost for what to do. I didn’t want to make a scene so luckily Leah did it for me. She shouted down the bus ‘she’s asked you to stop touching her, can you please stop’. Everyone turned around the bus and the driver rolled away! 
It was such a simple thing to do, to alert people of the situation that was happening but I just didn’t know how to do it. I’m annoyed that I let it go on for along as it did, and allowed the guy to make me feel so uncomfortable for the majority of the journey. 
It’s so much easier sticking up for a friend than it is yourself in a situation like that, I know if it was happening to Leah I would’ve been fuming and would have said something but because it was happening to me I was trying to reason it away. I was trying to think up so many excuses for his behaviour just to avoid the reality that there are some sick and twisted individuals out there in the world. 
I know this blog post might seem a bit shocking for people that know me because I’m such an advocate for women’s rights, that I should’ve been more forceful in the situation but the reality is that I wasn’t. Although I hope there never is a next time, if there is, I hope I have the confidence to really make a scene… Or push the guy off the bus… Whatever one works! 

 

Remember girls it’s not our fault we were harassed its the sick people doing the harassing! 

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1 thought on “30 hours to Laos and sexual harassment whilst travelling”

  1. I’m so sorry for what happened. I was harassed before while hitchhiking and had no choice to get out of the car in the middle of the highway. At one point, I can’t understand why people have to do such thing. I understand that men have needs and desire but how they approach it I find so disgusting. Hope it won’t happen again though. Safe travels, girls!

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