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Male buddy volunteer walkers on call to walk with women for safety 24X7

When I first moved from Asia to study at an American university, navigating a strange city and a large college campus, and with few friends was quite an overwhelming experience. The experience of young women moving into large urban areas seem similar. The university had a male buddy volunteer walker system that helped me feel less isolated, and enabled me to freely use the library and computer rooms till late at night. The male buddy system had a database of men, who were vetted, and who volunteered to walk female students home or anyplace on campus at night. I'd telephone the main hotline line number, and a male buddy would pick me up within 15 min. Male buddies had an ID to show they were registered. Men were encouraged to volunteer.

Photo of Khin Tye
8 23

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I felt less isolated and could be more free being out later in the night, knowing that I could call a 'male buddy walker' to walk me home. The positive side effect was having a companion and someone I could talk to and made friends with too.

The men were trained on safety issues, and security checked. They all carried IDs to show that they were part of the Male Buddy volunteer organisation.  They signed up knowing that that they could be called upon anytime within the stated hours, usually in the night and early morning.

I thought that male buddy walker systems can be set up in local neighbourhoods. This will also include men to volunteer and have an active role in women's safety too.  The system for despatching taxis can be used similarly for despatching male buddy walkers. A potential issue to consider is the woman's access to a mobile phone or telephone. 

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Photo of Joyce S. Lee

I love this idea. I don't think it necessarily must be limited to male escorts; it could also involve trained women. Women that volunteer can be trained in self-defense techniques, as well as in defense using what limited resources they may have. For instance, since they usually arrive by bicycle on American university campuses, women can be trained to leverage these as tools for protecting themselves and others.

Photo of Anne-Laure Fayard

Nice idea. I agree with Joyce that it would not need to be only men.
It reminded me the ambassadors' program: http://www.openideo.com/challenge/womens-safety/ideas/easily-identifiable-safe-spaces

Yesterday, I was talking with a student at NYU who was explaining me how some female students would wait for male students after evening courses to go and take the subway as a group. I've been trying to find out more about practices... I'll share if I can get some extra information.

Khin Tye, have you thought of what would be the training about?

Photo of Khin Tye

Hi Joyce and Anne-Paure, I agree with including anybody, including women as buddy escorts. However, the woman escort will still have to travel alone to get to the woman who called for an escort.
Including men as buddy escorts will also start a change in thinking for men too. For training, I guess it should be simple and not time consuming so that more people will volunteer. They are not serving as bodyguards, just as a buddy walker for security.

Photo of Anne-Laure Fayard

Thank Khin. I like the idea of using the buddy system not only as a way to increase safety, but also change ways of thinking. Good distinction between buddies and bodyguards.

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