Relocating to another country offers a wealth of new and exciting opportunities for women, but there's no denying that there are also concerns especially over health and safety associated when moving abroad.
It is still proven to be the case that women are more susceptible to being the victims of crime than their male counterparts and being in an unfamiliar part of the world can heighten the concerns that women will have about their well-being and security.
Regardless of where you are looking to relocate to, being aware of the possible problems and safety issues that you could be faced with can go a long way in ensuring that they do not occur.
Here are some of our tips offering help to expat women who are facing concerns over their safety overseas.
General Safety Tips
Regardless of what part of the world you are moving to, the following tips will be helpful and offer some food for thought with regards to things women should consider to keep themselves safe:
Take note of the local women’s dress code and imitate it in order to remain respectful. If you ever find yourself unsure of what to wear, erring on the side of caution and opting for a more conservative style is suggested.
Wear a wedding ring if possible but also avoid wearing excessive, flashy jewellery at the same time.
Try to avoid walking alone at night and do not hitchhike or get into unlicensed taxis
Do not use recreational drugs or consume excess alcohol. Similarly, do not leave your drinks unattended.
Do not give out any personal information (including your name, address etc.).
Make a point to refuse unwanted advances firmly and repeatedly. Mention your partner, even if they are fictional.
Know where you are going at all times and always carry a map or a business card with the details to your hotel/ accommodation etc.
Remind yourself that local gender and dating rules may apply. It is not uncommon for foreign women of any background to be seen as ‘easy’ or ‘exotic’ regardless of the way they present themselves or act.
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Safety Considerations for Strangers and Acquaintances
While so many of the tips that women are offered by embassies and foreign offices (such as the list presented above) tend to suggest that women need to be aware of strangers, this is not the case in other situations.
While in some areas it can be unsafe to walk home alone at night, there are other parts of the world where women are more likely to suffer from things such as violent crime and sexual assault etc. at the hands of a co-worker, a date or a neighbour (those people who are deemed trustworthy). This can make women less likely to report the crime to avoid embarrassment or drama but should be something to look out for and be mindful of when relocating.
Regardless of where you are looking to relocate to, it is certainly worthwhile finding out more about the sorts of resources and support available for victims of crime or women in general. There is a tendency for women to fear not being taken seriously and face problems when it comes to being ashamed of reporting what happened to them. This is vastly due to the fact that some local expat communities are very tightly knit.
While some local authorities may not be as willing to provide health care and counselling for medical examinations and interviews, it is highly recommended that all women should seek medical care if sexually assaulted. Reporting a sexual crime should also come as a priority but it may be worthwhile speaking to your embassy first as they can recommend help in the form of lawyers and interpreters etc.
Here at Santa Fe, we recognise how stressful it can be to settle into a new country, whether you are moving away with your partner or on your own. We are here to make the relocation process as seamless and stress-free as possible, so get in touch with us today
if you would like any additional support.