Someone tried to rape me

Today in Patara, I started walking to the beach where there are also sand dunes and ancient ruins. I walked through the village, asked how to get there and they kept saying to follow the road up. I kept walking, walking, walking. Came across a tortoise (the beach is their breeding ground). Further up, came across a construction site with a lot of men working. Checked with them about the beach, they said keep going up to the left.

Soon, I came across an unpaved road through a lightly forested area; heard water so figured that was the right way. Heard footsteps behind me, saw a fairly well-dressed middle aged man walking at his own speed on the opposite side of the street. I acknowledged his presence, we said merhaba (hello) to each other. He stopped at the entrance of the sand dunes to take a picture with his phone, I took some as well. Then he tried to speak to me in Turkish and I kept motioning that I didn’t understand.

I didn’t stop him from walking near me down the sand dunes but then he walked up and put his arm around me. I brushed it off. That happened a couple more times and then he wouldn’t let me brush it off. I could tell something was about to happen. He grabbed me with his other hand, tried to kiss me, I pushed his face away. He pushed me down on the ground and kept trying to hold my arms down while groping and kissing my chest. At one point, he managed to stick his hand down my panties. I stuck my thumb in his eye, he grabbed that arm, I grabbed his windpipe with my other hand, he grabbed that arm, then I stuck my other thumb in his eye again (thank you National Geographic Channel). Fuck him. FUCK HIM. I guess he gave up at that point because he got off of me and when I got up, he started saying “it’s ok, sorry” in broken English. He even tried to brush the sand off of me and gave me his hand to help me up the sand dune. I tried to slap his face, he ducked, so I slapped his arm. When I looked at him then, I knew I was capable of murder. Torture, even. He started walking off and I got out my iPhone to take his pic. The only reason I didn’t go after him was because I realized I lucked out in that he didn’t hurt me more than I hurt him. Just as he was crossing the second dune, an older German couple appeared and I ran up to them and started crying.

They were so sweet, they comforted me and offered to walk me back to my hotel. I didn’t want to ruin their plans so I just asked to join them. We made our way through the dunes onto the beach, then through the ruins (which are beautiful, by the way, especially with the wildflowers growing in now).

They walked me back to my hotel, where I sat with a young-ish New Zealand couple on a RTW and the older son of a Scottish family a couple years younger than me. It helped a lot. The hotel owner’s wife called her husband, told him everything and he told me he would take me to the police station. Then, the wife yelled over to the neighbouring hotel and within a few minutes, several old Turkish women with their colorful headscarves rushed over to see his photo. This village is so small that everyone knows everyone; they didn’t recognize the man (yes, it was a bad pic).

Kazim arrived and we drove to the next villagr to the jandarma station. Jandarma, he managed to explain between outbursts of anger on my behalf, is part military, part police. It was totally intimidating when we got there because we were led to a room with five large, uniformed men who each had a pistol AND whatever you call the military-issued M-16/AK-47 types. I started shaking; Kazim never left my side. They had to find a soldier that could speak better English, and in walked the cutest Turkish guy ever! He was younger too (my age, I found out later). Him not being another big, older man, and being my age, cute, and really warm and nice, was exactly what I needed. I know that probably sounds weird but hey, I stopped trembling.

He asked me what happened and when I started talking, I started crying and shaking again. After I calmed down, he said that we would all drive to where it happened, and see what was there. On our way, I finished telling him what happened and we also stopped by the construction site to see if the attacker was there. Since it was five hours later, a lot of the men had left already. We went back to the station where we put together an official report, though I knew from the beginning they probably wouldn’t catch the guy. They also gave me and Kazim pastries to eat. The cute soldier said he felt very protective of me (aww!), that Turkish guys are not like that, that they all felt so horrible for me. I believed him; I could tell the officers were upset. Came back to the hotel where I was met by open arms from Kazim’s family and the few guests at the pension.

Tomorrow (actually it’ll be today by the time I get to wifi to publish this), the jandarma will come to Patara again to check with the businesses here plus the construction site I had walked by (and I think probably where the attacker was) and send my report to all the other villages this station covers. I definitely am not turned off Patara itself; if anything, this experience has elevated my opinion of the Patara people. But I’m feeling pretty alone now, in my room. Can’t sleep.

Maybe I was stupid for walking alone to the empty sand dunes? But I’ve been in situations by myself that I thought were more risky. Am I too comfortable traveling? I’m not spending too much time wondering about these things. Bottom line is, I’m street-smart but that can’t always protect me. This is one of the risks I take traveling as a solo female. This situation was not my fault, it was a wrong-place-wrong-time scenario. End of story. Also, the jandarma equivalent of 911 is to dial 156.

Sorry for the super long post. Needed some therapeutic venting. I’ve decided to post the picture I took of the man who tried to rape me. Can you feel the isolation and desperation I felt?

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13 Comments

Filed under Turkey

13 responses to “Someone tried to rape me

  1. Jeezus Daisy, so sorry to hear this. I know you sent some updates from Facebook, but…damn! When you said attacked, I assumed you meant a mugging or something…fuck!

    I’m sorry, I just…ugh. Fuck. Ok, let me stop with the profanity here. Yeah, I just don’t know what to say. Seems like anything I do say would be stupid and useless at this point.

    I’m just grateful you are ok, and so sad this happened to you.

    With hugs and well wishes,

    Chris

    ps-sorry for the long ass comment! 🙂

  2. Ugh, I have no idea why I put that ps in there. I guess I was just so disturbed by what you posted I needed to put something in there to lighten the mood. Ok, I won’t post again on this so I don’t say something else ridiculous.

  3. Liz

    Jesus fucking Christ. I was literally shaking when I read that. I’m so sorry that happened to you.

    But know what? You rock on so many levels. Not only did you follow your gut and fight back, but you weren’t embarrassed or ashamed to report and talk about it publicly. This was something that happened to you, not something you can provoke. I’m glad you realize that.

    I’m also so happy to hear that the people there rallied around you and have done their best to comfort you. Know that you did everything correctly. I mean, down to the letter. Being a woman alone is not an invitation for rape. The only reason a woman is in more ‘danger’ when she is alone is because of these individual predators. They exist in spite of every precaution one can take.

    And I so understand what you mean when you say ‘capable of murder’. I had a guy try to assault me too (he tried to pin me down at a party, other men saw and pulled him off). And I remember wanting to tear out his jugular. In a very serious and very real way. I knew I could do it. If they would have held him down, I would have killed him. Happily. Self preservation is a powerful thing. And you know how to use yours. I’m really in awe of it. Because I think a lot of people would just freeze and freak out.

    Hugs and Hugs and more Hugs sent your way! And don’t feel badly if you need some company. We’re not humans made of stone. That’s a fucking scary experience, so don’t feel upset if you react to it properly (i.e. feeling scared and alone). But thank fucking god for those nice people around you.
    And cute jarndarma. Woo!

  4. Thank goodness you’re ok! When I learned you were traveling alone to Turkey, I wasn’t worried because I know that you’re an experienced solo traveler. But when I found out, via Facebook, of this incident, I was worried beyond belief! I am so glad there were so many people there to help you and who treated you so kindly. Heck, I’m very protective of you, and I wish I were there to give you a hug and so you wouldn’t feel so alone.

  5. Anne

    Daisy, just keep focusing on the fact you did well and came out of it well. Focusing on the fear will get you lost in it. I am so proud of you – you did really well and managed yourself like a trooper.

    Don’t let the one guy ruin your experience or your view on people or your travels.

    I had got attacked in California in front of a bunch of witnesses. The guy had no sexual intent, but did it to “put me in my place”. That experience really rattled me and it took me a while to shake it off. It’s really tough.

    You are a strong and capable woman with people who care about you.

    Hugs and brass knuckles!!

  6. Vanessa

    I am so sorry to hear what happened. You were magnificent in how you handled it! I’m so glad you came out of it okay and that more did not happen.

    Try and enjoy the rest of your trip!

    Big hugs!

  7. Daisy

    Awww thank you everyone for all your kind (& vindicating) words! I felt ok today, hung out with the Scottish fam the whole day. I think I’ll be ok for the rest of the trip. 🙂

  8. Brittany

    OMG!! I am so sorry. Thank goodness for kind and caring people that helped you out. Way to kick his ass though.

  9. Bill D

    “Can you feel the isolation and desperation I felt?”
    No, I could feel the rage though. That in the moment, you made a decision and followed through. You reacted on a visceral level and conveyed that through your writing. Like Chris, I thought it might have been something other than what actually happened. Like Liz, I applaud you for following through on reporting it. I find it incredible that by saying sorry, and offering you his hand he thought things were okay. That is seriously messed up and to me scary. With any luck, this will put the authorities on notice and wake that scumbag up and put some fear in him. You wrote “I think I’ll be ok for the rest of the trip.” I know you will be. You are a strong and vibrant person, keep smiling as much as you can. The thought of a smiling Daisy Ko always brightens my day.
    Do it for me. 🙂

  10. Jason

    Everyone else has said it better than I could have. But I just wanted to say you’re in my thoughts, and I am proud of you.

  11. Mark

    glad you’re okay and not letting the incident taint the rest of your trip. more power to ya girl. rolling over and playing dead is not the way to get through life, as you well know. next time you plan on travelling in this part of the world let me know a bit more in advance and you’ll have a travelling companion… no worries. enjoy the time you have left and have a safe trip home…

  12. Teresa

    Daisy, I’m so glad you can update & blog about your whereabouts. That really puts my mind at ease, and I mean it! Stay strong girl, you know you are.

  13. marisa

    I’m proud of you for fending him off, and I’m proud of you for writing about the experience. It takes a lot to do that.

    You know, all of travel can’t be good experiences. Just think of all the good times you’ve had, and the rare bad times. They’re bound to happen (probability). Take the positive away from the incident — you met some great people who cared for you. Also, the majority of people are good — just one bad apple.

    I had a taxi cab driver try to assault me in Bolivia. I was ready to jump out of the moving cab and ditch my backpack if he didn’t stop. Luckily, he stopped. But I, too, went to my hotel room, cried, and felt so alone. I didn’t let it ruin my trip, though.

    We’re all thinking of you 🙂

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