Reporting while female

My closest calls came in Georgia with soldiers from Russia, a society whose veneer of rules and civility often covers a pattern of violence, often alcohol laced, toward women.

A military unit had allowed me to tag along after its seizure of the Georgian town of Gori. The men were drunk. I was working. It was dark with no electricity in a ransacked government office. One soldier became so aggressive with his advances that I found an empty room and barricaded it closed with a couch.

The following night, I walked into an empty hotel that was still closed from the fighting. A man who said he was a caretaker appeared. He stood close to me, watching as I unpacked my gear. He took a key and locked the lobby door from the inside. I asked him why, and he said he was protecting against looters.