Women Studying Abroad

Safety risks for women ranging from verbal harassment to sexual assault are present everywhere, including abroad. Treatment of women and women’s lived experiences vary considerably around the world – you may encounter unwanted comments, verbal assaults, and limits to your freedom or, by contrast, you may experience dignity and respect unknown to you in the US.

  • Acknowledge that you are outside your comfort and familiarity zone.
  • Dress conservatively, as appropriate; know how local women handle taunting and verbal harassment; do not be afraid to offend if you are uncomfortable in any way.
  • Be vigilant. Know that without the informal protection systems that exist for host-country women, you are at greater risk for unwanted attention and harassment.
  • Know that excessive alcohol impairs your facilities and increases your vulnerability.
  • Use caution, good judgement, and follow the safety and security advice provided by your program or university.

If you experience sexual harassment or sexual assault while abroad:

  • Turn first to the support and resources provided by your program or host university. They have an existing support system, know the local context, and can act quickly to help you.
  • Bates Sexual Respect and Title IX website is also your resource – on campus and abroad. Please contact Gwen Lexow, the Bates Title IX Officer, through this website for additional support, if the resources available locally are not meeting your needs, or for any other reason.
  • Bates Security is open 24/7 and is trained to respond to emergencies and can forward your calls to college staff and faculty: +1-207-786-6254. Dean Gallant is also available to assist you: +1-207-786-6223.

In addition:

  • Colorado State University has a good web site with various resources for women studying and traveling abroad.
  • RAINN provides access to an inventory of international abuse and domestic violence agencies.