As a solo, female RVer, I am much safer than women who travel with romantic partners.
#VanLife is in the news this week, for all the wrong reasons — a beautiful, vibrant 22-year-old woman is dead, murdered by her fiance. Body cam footage of a recent police encounter shows a terrified, distraught female and a calm, charismatic male discussing their domestic issues with police.
When the footage was released, half the internet thought that Gabby had "serious mental issues," and that Brian was her poor, patient, caring partner.
And now, she is dead.
I am also a female RVer — though I drive a large fifth wheel, not a van (I hate vans with a fiery passion), and I am solo — so, of course, people have been asking "what I think" or "how I feel" about Gabby's murder.
As a solo female RVer, I feel statistically much safer than women who travel with male partners.
As I've said so many times, women are trained to live in fear. They're trained to think if they go jogging alone or walk home from a party alone, a strange man will pop out of an alley and attack them.
The reality of the situation is that if someone is going to hurt a woman, it's not going to be a random stranger. It's going to be someone she knows and trusts. A friend. An acquaintance. A boss or co-worker. A classmate or a teacher or an uncle.
Yes, random attacks by strangers do occasionally happen — and when it does, it's sensationalized all over the news.
Perhaps this is why women are irrationally afraid of strangers, and irrationally unafraid of their male partners.
I mean, not that a song is a comprehensive overview of a serious social problem, but in my Halloween song, More Afraid of Men, only one of the villains in the song — the catcaller — is unknown to the woman. All the rest are friends, family, and colleagues.
Indeed, the CDC analyzed the murders of women in 18 states between 2003-2014, finding a total of 10,018 deaths. Of those, 55% were intimate partner violence-related. Strangers perpetrated only 16% of female homicides — fewer than acquaintances and slightly more than parents.
In other words, domestic violence is a major cause of death for women.
And people worry about my safety.
I've been full-time RVing for about a year. Before that, I was full-time tent camping for about four months. In that time, the scariest thing that's happened was the wendigo back in Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest.
Sure, there was one night when I seriously considered pumping my shotgun to scare off a dude who was pounding on my door and windows in the middle of the night. (I don't answer my door to unannounced strangers in strange cities or forests in the middle of the night. Unless I've ordered a pizza, there is just no good outcome for me in that situation.)
There have also been four times when I opened my door in the morning, and a man was waiting outside for me. One of these men seemed mentally ill, but he might have been some kind of scammer or robber. I don't know. When someone doesn't seem stable, I don't talk to them.
The others, honestly, just seemed clueless. They sincerely didn't seem to realize that a woman might find it creepy for a man to show up at her RV, where she is camping off-the-grid and alone in the woods, early in the morning or late at night, without an invitation, and wait for her.
This is not my attempt to excuse their creepy behavior. It is not excused. They should not have done it.
But I also think the reason they did it was because they were socially stupid, not because they were trying to hurt or intimidate me. A lot of creepy guys are like that — that's why I've written so many posts trying to help them identify and cease creepy behaviors (see also: Just because you're on the spectrum, doesn't mean you have the RIGHT to be creepy; What Men Don't Understand When They Complain, "It's Only Creepy If The Guy Isn't Hot."; "Creepy" Isn't About Attractiveness. It's About Reciprocity; and That Overused Comic About "Double Standards" Actually Means the OPPOSITE Of What Dudes Think It Does.)
In these cases, I can solve the problem simply by being assertive. If you can't be assertive, you can't play. You can't travel. You can't have independence or move freely in the world. It's a valuable skill that almost everyone could benefit from practicing. And it's going to come in a LOT more handy than that pepper spray you keep on your keychain.
"I don't have time to hang out with you today."
"I'm going mountain biking now."
"You need to go now."
"You are making me uncomfortable."
I'm not the "rude" one in these situations. They are.
So, no. The Gabby Petito murder hasn't made me feel less safe as a female RVer. In a weird way, it actually makes me feel safer, because it's reminded me of just how much more likely my murder would be if I were traveling with a male partner, instead of on my own.
9/23/2021 11:19:11 am
Re: "it's reminded me of just how much more likely my murder would be if I were traveling with a male partner, instead of on my own. "
10/29/2021 09:28:03 am
Obviously most boyfriends/husbands don't murder their wives. But most women who are murdered are murdered by boyfriends/husbands. I'm sure most of the couples who are traveling together are not in danger of killing each other. But statistically, I'm not in danger of being murdered by a stranger.
9/25/2021 05:55:21 am
The title would be more accurate if it said "As a solo, female RVer, who isn't picking up a chain of "intimate partners" on my travels, I am much safer than women who travel with romantic partners." Just because you aren't with one guy doesn't mean you are man-free.
9/25/2021 07:42:56 am
I think both are accurate. Also accurate: As a solo, female traveler, I'm approximately as likely to be murdered by strangers as I would be by my parents if I brought them on this trip with me.
Zane M Kenney
9/25/2021 03:46:21 pm
"One" is more likely. Unless your parents are a bit volatile.
10/30/2021 12:18:44 am
“Lifeless eyes, black eyes, like a doll’s eyes” - RIP Quint. Here’s a stat: “90% of shark attacks happen in shallow water” Why? “Because that’s where the people are, it’s called the beach” - Bill Burr. You’re obviously more likely to get murdered by an intimate partner. Why? Maybe because you don’t have your guard up at home. Stats reduce complex human interaction to data. BTW, great point you made about a van vs a fifth wheel. Having personal space is critical. The ability to retreat to neutral corners or not have to look at each other is key. Cato’s gas is deadly. Whenever he farts for a split second I think about making him sleep outside. I could only imagine how much it would suck in a van. Oh and yes I’m still up at 3am. I spent the last 4 hours brainstorming ways to fabb up a puffin costume. Breakfast manana?
10/30/2021 11:51:39 am
We can agree to disagree on this. Murder isn't something that happens randomly. Understanding who murders, and who is murdered, and when and why, is the key to prevention and wise intervention.
11/2/2021 02:00:57 am
Ever wonder why your IG posts receive such little adulation? You post epic pics in legendary locations and get on average 14 “likes”. My guess is, people “follow” you because they’re waiting for you to become a statistic. Why continue to put yourself in risky situations? What if the guy that mounted you brought a friend? What if they had guns? How many rape attempts does the average woman survive? My thought is, you’re a little girl crying out for help. You lack structure and discipline. You’re so desperately seeking validation. When someone tells you about yourself, you run scared. The guy you glanced over at while you were in the balance thing at the wright museum. Who did he represent? Dad? An ex? A professor? A guy in traffic? Why did you need his validation? Or were you waiting for him to tell you to get off the exhibit and comport yourself like a lady? Look back at the video and you’ll see where your big lonely, puppy dog eyes were. Looking right at him…You might have met people like me, but you will never meet another me. My offer still stands. But you need to drop the tough chick routine and “humble” yourself…
11/2/2021 06:50:46 am
I find this dialogue between you and “Anthony”, using the parlance of our times, to be sus.
11/3/2021 05:20:10 pm
Hello, again, Anonym (/other stalker, apparently -- usually he incels come en masse for one or two days and leave, but it seems you've lingered and continued reading my posts and checking regularly for new comments).
10/30/2021 02:26:11 am
I do get your point that a randomly chosen woman in the US is statistically more likely to be killed by a romantic partner than by a total stranger. About 3 times as likely.
11/2/2021 09:29:33 am
I do agree with all of this. I obviously oversimplified to make a point: it's so rare for women to be murdered by strangers, it's just not even really a rational fear. I hate the businesses that have sprung up around encouraging women to live in fear of stranger danger, when, if we're being rational, a much better thing to tell women to do is be assertive and set boundaries -- even if the person being inappropriate is their boss, friend, or boyfriend.
Leave a Reply.
About the Author
Eva is a content specialist with a passion for play, travel... and a little bit of girl power. Read more >
Want to support The Happy Talent? CLICK HERE!
Or Find me on Patreon!
What's Popular on The Happy Talent:
Trending in Dating and Relationships:
What's Popular in Science:
Playfulness and Leisure Skills:
Popular in Psychology and Social Skills: