Travel Health

How Not to Get Beaten Up Abroad

There are various reasons that someone might take it into their mind to break the traveller’s nose:

– You might have a different skin colour, facial characteristics or accent that brings out the racist in your assailant.

– Your attacker might be drunk and bored/angry/jealous and as any battered wife around the world could tell you, alcohol has a way of bringing out the worst in people.

– You’re simply an easy target. With no local friends, family or connections there are few repercussions to breaking a bottle over your head.

– You might even have done something dumb like laugh at something sacred to the locals. Try breaking into hysterics in a London pub when the death of Princess Diana comes up in conversation.

– You might just be the victim of excessive testosterone. Whereas comedians frequently play on the unpredictable hormones of women, it’s not as though old people around the world are scared to go out at night because of roaming gangs of women with PMT.

In countries where thugs are more interested in seeing your blood than your wallet, your best bet is to try and avoid the situation in the first place. Otherwise before you know it you’ll hear the fateful words of ‘Oi, what you looking at?’ and no matter how much you apologise for spilling his pint/looking at his girlfriend/existing in the first place, you’ll be wishing you knew karate.


How to Avoid Violence

As most senseless violence occurs around alcohol, it’s a good idea to avoid main high streets when bars and clubs are turning out their unsatisfied clientele. Unlike countries where you run the risk of getting mugged, quiet, shadowy streets are where you’re most likely to pass unnoticed.

– Try to avoid prolonged eye contact. Even drunk thugs usually need to think up a pretext before they let their animal instincts rule and the best way is not to give them an opportunity. If they say something provocative, just smile, agree that yes, you really do have a big nose and make a fast exit.

– Try not to show your fear. Many thugs are cowards and just make a lot of noise to see who they can intimidate. If it looks like you’re a soft touch then they’ll know they can try to re-mould that big nose without much resistance.


Self Defence

Of course you can always fight back. If you haven’t thrown a punch since school, however, it’s worth while bearing in mind the following:

– Violence hurts. It’s really easy to break a rib, smash a fist, break a tooth or get otherwise maimed even if you win the fight.

– If you have no choice but to defend yourself, go crazy. Grab the first item to hand that can be used as a weapon and go for the attacker’s eyes or groin.

– The smartest move is usually to run away as fast as you can. Get to where there’s a sympathetic crowd, a police presence or a door you can lock behind you.

– While some travelers carry cans of mace or hidden knives, carrying a weapon can get you into real trouble with the law and might make you take someone on when it would be far smarter to just run a mile.