Assaulted on Vacation: "I Didn't Want to be Rude"
Updated: Aug 14, 2022
“I thought I was safe, I didn’t realize I was a target.”
That from a 23-year-old woman who was sexually assaulted at an upscale, all-inclusive resort in Mexico on April 27.
The family, from New Hampshire, included mom and dad and five children. They thought that since they would be staying at an all-inclusive resort they would be safe and let down their guard.
Two of the sisters were planning on going to the resort’s dolphin area and the 23-year-old stopped in a souvenir shop without her sister.
The sister who went on to the dolphin attraction said, “I felt nervous about leaving her, but thought twice about it because it looked bright, cheery, and inviting.”
The victim says after she left the store, a salesman approached her with a bird in his hand with the line that he wanted to show it to her.
“He then told me I hadn’t checked out his shop yet, and took me by the arm to see his jewelry store which was 1 or 2 shops away,” she said.
The man introduced her to two salesmen which were his father and his uncle. They offered her a shot of tequila.
“I didn’t want to be rude so I watched him pour one and I took it alone. He was very pushy about sales which seemed normal from my short time in Mexico, so I didn’t think much of it. They always kept me busy with questions, compliments, and rings to try on,” she said.
“I thought I was safe, I didn’t realize I was a target. I just wanted to enjoy my vacation, and that’s what I was doing. Until I was invited into the resort’s jewelry shop. I just thought they were being friendly, I had my guard down, I couldn’t get out of there fast enough after the assault. I just wanted my mom, I didn’t know what to think or do, I was just shocked. I was supposed to be safe.” she said.
The family reported the crime at the local police station. They were there the entire day. The family reports that the hotel did not engage with them on the crime and they have never heard back from the resort.
“And that store is still operating they weren’t shut down despite the fact the two men have a system down to lure in women to sexually assault them,” said one of the sisters.
Their lawyer is looking to bring a class action against some inclusive resorts that cover up attacks on tourists.
She alleges that after the assault, one of the men hugged her and asked her if she wanted to be his girlfriend, and said “What happens in Mexico stays in Mexico.”
She Was Interviewed as a Target
Yes, as a female you are a target.
And, predators will be probing you to find out if you are a target for financial gain or a good victim for personal gain. They are looking for your vulnerability and the opportunity to attack.
We cover this interview process in depth in the Controlling our Distance chapter from the upcoming book, Never Defenseless: Empowered Women's Self-Defense.
You can see from even what little we know about this assault, we can see how the men skillfully pulled her into their space, acting "nice", kept her "busy with questions, compliments, and rings to try on.”
From the book:
If someone pays you a compliment completely out of the blue — be suspicious!
If someone makes an appeal to your vanity by asking if you are a model, actress, dancer — be suspicious!
If someone asks you are a series of questions and continues to press — be on guard!
If someone continually presses you to carry your bags, help you up the stairs, or anything which forces a connection — be on guard!
If the guy will not take no for an answer to anything — step back and keep your distance!
You are being interviewed.
Don’t worry about what they think. One of our instructors reminds us that his ego is not worth your safety.
That bears repeating — his ego is not worth your safety.
The chapter then shows how you can manage your distance in an escalating fashion when you feel like you are being overwhelmed.
If you find yourself in a similar situation:
Realize you are in a private space and you need to Go to People.
Social distance is not good self-defense distance. We need to control the space around us.
The Likely Fallout of This Assault
We’ve seen a string of murders and mysterious deaths of tourists in Mexico and Caribbean before.
Remember Natalee Holloway in Aruba?
The general trend in this part of the world seems to be that justice is rarely served.
When we travel internationally, we have to remember that we are not in Kansas anymore. Cultures are different. Legal systems are different. Government administrations are different. Police investigation capabilities are different.
Predators want what you have. And predators know that it will be difficult for you to prosecute crimes because you probably won't have the time or the money to come back during the process. And we know the process in other countries can grind very slowly.
We are even seeing this trend in the U.S.A. Certain prosecutors are declining to charge criminals or even hold them for any meaningful time. We also see a move to preemptively let criminals out of jail or prison in certain states.
Self-Defense Bottom Line
Despite the physical environment and all the trappings of an upscale vacation, human behavior is still human behavior and predators are watching us.
Predators are looking for opportunity and vulnerability.
They will test and interview you to see if you are good target to be attacked.
Don't let our nice, polite backgrounds distract us from recognizing we are being interviewed.
Yes, we can still be nice and polite, but aware and manage our space.
Remember that even if we are aware of what's happening we need to have the physical knowledge and training to stop an attack.