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Tales of a Female Hitchhiker

By Suzanne MacNevin.

Edmund Kemper and Ned Kelley are two of the many sex offenders in the world. Statistics say that one out of every five men sexually molest a woman at some point in time. These are just the men who admit to it. The real statistic is likely much higher. These two are special because they sexually attacked female hitchhikers.

In the Kemper case he was initially intending to rape and kill them, but in many bungled cases he didn't even get to the raping part and ended up strangling the college aged girls. This case was in 1972.

Ned Kelley sexually assaulted his girlfriend's 9 year old son, but in a separate case he also picked up 2 female hitchhikers. One escaped and he attempted to rape the other but he couldn't get it up... so he let her go and was later charged. It was 1978.

Now we all hear about these stories, or ones similar to them. In today's internet age we more often hear about internet stalkers and people meeting their internet 'lover' only to get raped by them.

The fact is that 95% of all sexual assaults are committed by someone you already know, and its usually a family friend or even a relative. More than 60% of those cases are men who have a thing for young girls and boys too.

When it gets right down to it, you are 100 times more likely to get raped by someone you already know (like a friend or co-worker) than by a complete stranger.

During the 1950s and 1960s hitchhiking had become increasingly popular. The military boys would hitchhike in their uniforms during the 50s, and later the hippies hitchhiked quite a bit too. Everyone knew it was slightly dangerous, but there was a feeling of trust back then.

Remember, the driver picking up the hitchhiker is also taking a chance. He/she does not want to get raped/killed either.

During the 70s however there were several incidents where the military boys couldn't keep their dicks in their pants however, and since then there was a severe drop in the number of men in uniform who hitchhike. And since the hippie movement was dying out, the late 70s and the 80s became an era of skepticism where hitchhiking was concerned. Security and safety were considered to be more valued.

But what about the history of female hitchhikers? A history that dates back mostly to rural society and to this day country-girls still hitchhike without fear (or minimal fear) because they will be picked up by their friends and neighbours anyway. Hitchhiking in rural communities are significantly safer.

Because much of Canada is rural areas, that or pacifist cities, it is the safest place in North America to hitchhike.

And what about Europe?

Hitchhiking in Europe, especially for females has become incredibly popular. To go backpacking across Europe with a friend is one of the greatest experiences for young people these days. The rate of bad instances is incredibly low and if you travel with a friend you are as safe as you can be. Europeans never developed a paranoia concerning safety like the Yankees did. Plus there's the added feature that Europeans are very thankful to Canadians because of Canada's incredibly contribution during WWI and WWII. Belgium especially is a great place for Canadian (and British and Australian) hitchhikers. Alas, for Yankees, the Europeans have a certain disgust for American capitalism and their cowardice during WWI and WWII, and thus its best sometimes not to mention it if you're from the States.

The drivers always want to talk. The key reason to pick up a hitchhiker is to have someone to talk to. And furthermore 95% of them were former hitchhikers themselves, and so what happens in my experience is that the drivers end up telling you all their old hitchhiking stories. It is strange going from car to car to truck to van and hearing stories from numerous hitchhikers all in one day. It is almost like belonging to a club.

But back to female hitchhikers... Well, for starters I simply must say that it takes a certain level of confidence to be a female hitchhiker. If you are not a feminist, you should consider yourself to be. Remember feminism is not male-hating, its about equality and being confident in yourself. Feminism is good for your self-esteem. And to dare to go against the social norms and be a female hitchhiker is a courageous feminist act.

And once you realize just how easy it is, you'll realize it doesn't take as much courage as you thought it did. And you'll realize it is nowhere as dangerous as you thought it would be.

I would have to say for myself that I have had only a couple cases where I was scared, and it was not fear of being raped:

  • I got picked up outside of Detroit Michigan by two Mexican punks driving a hatchback. The rear door on the passenger side had been smashed in from a collision that they had been in. I had to get in through the driver's side. When I got into the backseat, I found myself sitting beside a large garbage bag that smelled like a whole lot of weed. They had a radar detector on the front dash and were listening to Mexican rap music (certainly one of the kewlest things I have ever heard, because they had a banjo in it). My reason for fear is because they speeded up to 150+ miles per hour (not kilometres, MILES!) and kept one eye on the radar at all times... I was seriously worried about getting caught speeding by a cop with a huge bag of weed sitting next to me... That or a severe car accident.

  • I was picked up south of Owen Sound in Ontario by a guy a yellow car. We talked and he pulled into a town on the way to stop at a beer store. He came out with two cases of Corona and proceeding to drink as he drove. He offered me one. I took it but again the fear of being in a car accident.

    And yeah, thats the only two times I ever ran into trouble. Unless you count the three times I had run ins with the cops... Apparently you are not allowed to hitchhike on the freeway in Columbus Ohio, and when I was Michigan I asked a cop for directions and he tried to arrest me for being a "suspicious character", and lastly when I was crossing the Niagara Falls US-Canada border at 1 am in the morning, they had to search my belongings to make sure I wasn't smuggling anything.

    Thats about it.

    Suzanne MacNevin
    5 Year Veteran Hitchhiker

    More Tales of a Female Hitchhiker

    I was once picked up by a 90 year old former tank sergeant/mechanic from WWII and who had hitchhiked home after getting back to Canada in 1945. I was picked up twice by the same old farmer and his loyal wagging dog (who licked my face). I was picked up by a lawyer who had hitchhiked to law school when he was younger.

    I was picked up a young woman with her two children, a baby and a 3 year old boy. The boy was learning to count by counting the trucks that went by... One truck... two trucks... two trucks... two trucks... He had not yet understood the concept of three, but he definitely had plural downpat. He was a cutie.

    A truck driver hauling a ferrari back to the plant in Detroit picked me up once. I got into the seat beside and took a look back at the car only to sea that its entire driver's side had been pulverized and smashed in. There was almost no "driver's side" left. He told me the story about how some rich moron had speeded down a hill and smashed into the side of a truck, ricocheted off into the air and come down to land on its driver's side... Miraculously, the driver lived but the firemen had to use the jaws of life to pry him out. It did not explode.

    I got picked up by an old Irish lady who had a really funny laugh and told a lot of jokes, but the best part would be when she would slap her cheek lightly with one hand and say loudly: "WELL GOD BLESS MY FAT CHEEKS!"

    I have a lot more stories, but it would take a long time. Lets just leave it at that so you are curious to get some of your own stories.

    Suzanne MacNevin

    Charles Moffat - Autostopowicz (Hitchhiker) - 1999.

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