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Hijinks Ensue

Pippa Bacca

I was in two minds as to whether to write about this story or not. Two Italian women decided to hitchhike to Israel making friends along the way and spreading an anti-war message. As performance artists they chose to do it wearing wedding dresses, calling the trip "Brides on Tour." The pair split up in Turkey, and one of them, Pippa Bacca, was raped and killed.

I can't express how saddened I am by this outcome. It's a dreadful shame and I feel for her friends and family. What really annoys me about this story though are the people commenting that she was naive, stupid, foolish, that she somehow 'had it coming' because she was hitching alone in conspicuous clothing, and that the outcome somehow proves that, a. people (and men in particular) are inherently evil, and b. hitchhiking is suicidally dangerous.

I've never hitchhiked. This has far more to do with a persistent worry that nobody would stop for me than that I might be picked up by a maniac. I have picked hitchers up several times and will happily do it again. I would do so more often if they weren't such a rare sight in this country, I suspect largely due to media sensationalism; the very rare incidents of violence against hitchers being far more newsworthy than stories of people successfully travelling the world, meeting new people and conserving resources. Obviously you need to exercise a bit of common sense before picking someone up or accepting a lift - take a look at the hitcher/driver, ask them where they are going, and say 'no' if something feels wrong. If you're sensible, I really don't think it's significantly more dangerous than other situations where you come into contact with strangers (eg. travelling on public transport).

Pippa Bacca's story is inspirational. Not because of how her life ended, but because she believed in the inherent humanity and kindness of people everywhere. I hope her message will live on and not be tarnished by those who feed on misery and take every opportunity to shout, "I told you so!"


I'd say a lone male hiker would generally face fewer dangers than a lone female hiker, which is of course in no way an acceptance of the archaic "She was asking for it" argument.
Do you know Larry Niven's "The Deadlier Weapon", about the, er, dangers of hitch-hiking?
I think so. That's the one where a hitcher tries to mug a driver, so the driver acts like he's suicidal and threatens to kill them both by crashing the car into a motorway bridge? Unfortunately the dangers of hitchhiking are a popular cliche in fiction, particularly horror stories.
That's the one. He ends by dropping him off on the central reservation.
Perhaps Bacca was stupid to travel alone, especially in todays society but that doesn't mean she had it coming to her! It was hardly her decision to be attacked, it was the murderers. You can't expect them to make the right choice when faced with someone screaming 'Murder me god-damn you!' though, can you? Don't be silly...murders are perfectly innocent, if put upon.

The murderous attitude of certain so-called members humankind is a very sorry state indeed. It's ridiculous that people group together to keep safe, but now that there are so many people, we prey the individualists, the separated and the minorities.
I picked up a couple of hitchhikers once because I was afraid that if I didn't someone else, without good intentions, would. I lectured them all the way home about the dangers of hitchhiking. I was 19 they were 12. I still think they were lucky I picked them up. It's also the one and only time I have ever picked up hitchhikers.

You're right though. It's only the very small number of horror stories that make it onto the news not the countless happy endings.
Oh wow, 12 year olds ~ good grief. Is it just me, or shouldn't people that young be hitch-hiking at all.
It was the 80s and things were different then. There just wasn't the same climate of fear.

And we were in a rural area. In a town as small as Crieff, the chances were high that someone who was related to them was going to pick them up anyway. :-)

But yeah, that was part of the lengthy lecture I gave them.


Pippa Bacca

As a relative of Pippa's who loved her and misses her I want to express my thanks to you for your kind words in support of her vision. When people post insensitive comments about such tragedies on the world wide web, doesn't it cross their minds that the loved ones of the person who has died will come across those comments? Pippa was neither stupid nor naive. She was a loving, wonderful young woman and a seasoned hitch hiker who unfortunately made a fatal error in judgement. She definitely was not "asking for it" and neither she nor her friends and family deserve this agony.

R.B. Toronto

Re: Pippa Bacca

Thank you for your comments. I wish I had known her.