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Women Travellers

Women traveling alone or in groups should not expect to encounter any particular problems in the USA. The community website www.journeywoman.com facilitates women exchanging travel tips, and has links to other helpful resources. The booklet Her Own Way, published by the Canadian government, is filled with general travel advice, useful for any woman; click to travel.gc.ca/travelling/publications/her-own-way to download the PDF or read it online.

Some women carry a whistle, mace or cayenne-pepper spray in case of assault. If you purchase a spray, contact a police station to find out about local regulations. Laws regarding sprays vary from state to state, and federal law prohibits them being carried on planes.

If you're assaulted, consider calling a rape crisis hotline before calling the police, unless you are in immediate danger, in which case you should call 911. But be aware that not all police have as much sensitivity training or experience assisting sexual-assault survivors, whereas staff at rape crisis centers will tirelessly advocate on your behalf and act as a link to other community services, including hospitals and the police. Telephone books have listings of local rape-crisis centers, or contact the 24-hour National Sexual Assault Hotline on 800-656-4673. Alternatively, go straight to a hospital emergency room.

National advocacy groups that may be useful:

National Organization for Women (www.now.org) A grassroots movement fighting for women's rights.

Planned Parenthood (www.plannedparenthood.org) Offers referrals to women's health clinics throughout the country.