At a Hotel on Business? Be on Alert, Too
By MICHAEL T. LUONGO - International Herald Tribune
Published: July 27, 2011 - l, International Herald TribuneThe
The discussions about hotel safety recently have centered on what happened in a suite at the Sofitel in New York between Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the former head of the International Monetary Fund, and a hotel maid.
Paxton Quigley, a women’s safety consultant in New York and author of “Not an Easy Target” (Fireside, 1995), said most women business travelers were “just beginning to learn how unsafe they can be, especially in airports and planes, hotels, walking on streets in cities that they don’t know and in convention settings.” Conventions, she said, leave women particularly vulnerable because “they’re wearing name badges and are telling people where they are staying.”
Jeannette Duwe said she was staying at a hotel in Reno, Nev., while traveling for the grocery store chain Albertsons when she was attacked in 2002. She was working late on news releases in the business center when a man pried the door open and began bothering her. “I asked him to leave a couple times,” she said, adding that she “made the mistake of turning my back to him, which is when he hit the lights and attacked me.”
Eight weeks pregnant at the time, she said she worried that no one could hear her scream, but, “Something spooked him after a couple minutes and he ran off.” She immediately called the front desk for help.
Travelers can take several steps to protect themselves, said Marybeth Bond, a women’s travel expert in San Francisco who runs www.gutsytraveler.com and has written several National Geographic women’s travel books. Women need to “trust their instincts,” she said, if a situation seems awry. When hotel employees make deliveries, she said, travelers should either leave the door fully open or say, “I’ll take it from here — you don’t need to come into the room.” Ms. Bond carries a rubber doorstopper to jam under her hotel door and says she makes sure any adjoining hotel room doors are locked.
Full piece here.