Hiking warning for women and females

By Julia Jamila Werner ,

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A path to the top of Mount Vaea

A path to the top of Mount Vaea

Women and young females are being urged to ensure they always have someone to accompany them when they hike up Palisi or the Robert Louis Stevenson trail.

The warning comes after the latest incident where a middle-aged female was attacked while hiking up Palisi.

Police Spokesperson, Su’a Muliaga Tiumalu, told the Weekend Observer they don’t have a lot of details about the incident but they are investigating.

Contacted for a comment, the family of the woman who was attacked declined. 

A source told the Weekend Observer the woman, who is a prominent member of the business community, was lucky to have been heard by other hikers when she was attacked.

The source said the attacker came out of nowhere and tried to rape the woman. When he realised that he couldn’t, he punched the woman and fled into the bush.

Conflicting reports emerged yesterday about the state of the Police investigation. While a Police official confirmed that a man had been arrested in relation to the attack, Su’a said he was not sure and that he needed time to find out more details.  

In the meantime, a regular hiker up both mountains who wants to be identified as Peter said the attack should provide another warning for women and females not to trek up by themselves.

“It’s genuinely safe but I wouldn’t allow my daughter to go up there by herself,” Peter said. “There have been a few incidents up there now involving women who were either attacked or harassed and I think this should ring the alarm bells for everyone.”

One of the cases that has been reported about the Mt. Vaea trail involves a Norwegian woman who was attacked and robbed by a prisoner.

The hearing is continuing.

For Peter, he said parents should be warned that girls should not be left on their own on the trail.

“It’s such a pity because it is one of the best hikes on the island,” he said. “But we live in a world where there are many nasty things happening and more and more we are seeing girls attacked up there. 

“So I would recommend for girls and women to always ensure they have company.”

 Yesterday when the Weekend Observer visited Robert Louis trail, some women hikers were well aware about the danger of going alone.

Others said it’s sad that such things are happening but they will continue to hike alone.

“I haven't heard about the latest case yet but I definitely feel safe. That may be due to the fact, that my brother accompanied me to this hiking trip.” 

Lorraine Feesago, visiting her family in Samoa from the United States of America, said she could see why girls need to be accompanied.

“I hike a lot but I never go without a company. It's simply too isolated. There is no one who could hear you in case that something happens to you.”

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