04/15/2011 02:26 pm ET | Updated Jun 15, 2011

Female Foreign Correspondents Face Many Hazards

As a 28-year-old reporter about to cover Africa in 2002, I was sent to rural Virginia to attend hostile-environment training, where former British Royal Marines taught journalists such survival techniques as how to filter your own urine if you are dehydrated in a desert and how to drag a wounded 200-pound colleague through a field studded with land mines.

Interesting stuff, but luckily I never had to put those skills into use. Female correspondents deployed to countries such as Egypt, Pakistan or India might be better served by instruction in handling less extreme but more pervasive challenges: what to do if a stranger grabs your buttocks while you are reporting on the street, or if a male hotel worker enters your room while you are showering. How to deflect the chai wallah who insists on clicking photos of you to show his friends, or the flirtatious fixer who wants a good-night kiss.

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