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Assessing the Risks for Women Travelers Beyond the Headlines

Excerpt from New York Times

May 24, 2014 2:00 pm

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Violence against women can take place as close as down the street from their homes — and actually in their homes. That shouldn’t stop women from exploring the world and traveling, a human right, although assessing risks and taking precautions are very prudent steps.

— Dennis Schaal

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Jason Getz  / Atlanta Journal-Constitution/MCT

A passenger carries her rolling luggage near the security checkpoint at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in Atlanta, Georgia, April 23, 2013. Jason Getz / Atlanta Journal-Constitution/MCT


But what is the reality of violence against women now in the places we want to go — and should we be avoiding whole cities because of this risk, as some women are doing?….

Still, the truth is that other countries are even more dangerous for women than India. Without firm statistics on violence against female tourists, the closest yardstick is violence against local women — which experts say far outnumbers the better-known tourist attacks.

“The fact is that the rate of rape in Mexico is higher than in India,” said Carlos Javier Echarri Cánovas, a professor of demography at El Colegio de México who studies violence against women. There were 15,000 rape complaints in Mexico in 2010 and about the same in 2011, according to government statistics. Mr. Echarri explained that while 18,359 rape cases were registered in India in the first quarter of 2012, according to the National Crime Records Bureau, Mexico has one-tenth the population of India.

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