is this?

Is this the kind of advice that’s getting doled out, nowadays?! This woman is essentially saying that if you want to travel in India, don’t do anything. Stay in your hotel room, and you might, just might, escape molestation. Actually, this is the kind of advice that is getting doled out. And was. And probably will be, for some time to come.

But some of it seems just plain ridiculous.*

6) If you have to hand over money or recieve (sic) change from anyone, it is better that you diplomatically suggest that they keep the change on the counter. If you do it casually no one will get offended.

Really? And you live on this planet? How interesting.

9) It goes without saying, but please do not travel to India as a tourist if you are a single woman.

Really? And what do single women in India do? Not live?

13) Any woman who sits in a restaurant alone or is in fact even walking alone is considered a fair target by road-side romeos.

So, now we’re defining ‘fair targets’ for molestation?

17) Do not for god’s sake travel to an Indian village unless you are in a large group or with family. I know that the author of Shantaram (Gregory Roberts) did it but he was a toughie. Law and order in villages is not as good as it is in the cities. Rape is far more common in the country-side.

Rape is far more common in the countryside? Umm?

Crossposted from Tomayto Tomahto.

*Disclaimer: No part of this blogpost may be construed, now or in perpetuity, as stating or endorsing the idea that some parts of the linked blogpost are more ridiculous than others. All suggestions regarding the ridiculousness or other demerits of the said linked blogpost are the personal opinion of Miss Tipsy Toes (aka Erimentha), and may not be considered or imputed to be the official opinion of this blog, or other bloggers or commenters hereon. It may also be noted that the said Miss Tipsy Toes (aka Erimentha)  is a fictional person and cannot be considered responsible for her opinions, which opinions are fluff, fluff being defined, for the purpose of this blogpost, as the state of mind Miss Tipsy Toes (aka Erimentha) is not in.


8 Responses

  1. Hey there. You are perfectly entitled to have your opinion but I am just trying to help you know.
    Mine is not an opinion – whatever I have said is the truth. Single women in India usually do all those things I have written! Talk to ANY Indian woman who has grown up here and she will tell you that this is the reality here. In fact I have been a little mild. In Delhi if you take public transport you are positively MAULED by men and a rickshaw driver could take you somewhere and rape you. These kind of articles come every day in the newspapers here. Editors and well known columnists write about this – so what I have said is not new – except for foreigners.
    I am not writing anything that Indian women who live in India do not know.
    My post is to help foreigners and your site could perhaps mislead them. I don’t know.
    I wish you could come here to India and see what it is like for yourself. A girl was molested in public and a group of 60 men watched it and did nothing.
    Is that ridiculous? Not at all. It happens here.
    Men try to touch you at every opportunity. Is that ridiculous. No, a reality for Indian women. Do not make fun of what we undergo here.

  2. I’m an Indian woman. I wish I could now say “case closed”, but I can’t.

    Let’s take things one at a time.

    You say I’m entitled to my opinion, and yet you disapprove my comment, so people can’t read my disagreement with your post. Hypocrisy.

    You say yours is not an opinion, but the *truth*. That rape is more common in the countryside? Reference please. That single women in India do all the things you’ve said? I’m a single woman in India. I do some of those things, and they don’t make any difference to my getting molested. I know, and yet I do them; the conditioning is too strong. I restrict myself, my freedom, in the hope that I will not be subjected to violence – it doesn’t work, but I can’t stop. Posts like yours, they add to this conditioning: that my behaviour can in some way influence the violence against me is just not true. I wish you’d tink about that, and then read your post. You’ll see why it disgusts me.

    I am an Indian woman living in India. I would like you to tell me which parts of my posts may mislead anyone reading them, foreigner or otherwise.

    I know about public apathy to violence, especially sexual or racial violence. It is not confined to India, I’m afraid. Open your ears to voices from the rest of the world, and take off those blinkers. What is ridiculous is not the fact of sexual violence; it is the idea that victims are responsible for it. Sexual violence is a sad reality; it is your post that is ridiculous.

  3. I travelled to a rural part of the Kullu valley about 18 months ago, for about a month, alone (I am a British woman). I was unharmed but did feel scared travelling and walking alone at night, as I had to after eating. And I was stared at a lot, which I found unnerving. I was staying with a local family I did not know. I see both sides of your arguments. Women face terrible things such as sexual assault all over the world, but the frequency in India is even more scary. However, women must feel empowered and not scared to continue with their lives.

    It is the situation which is ridiculous, not either of your posts. It is understandable to feel scared and to feel defiant.

    I was fine, my fear did not ruin my time, but rape statistics, and the accounts of individuals, show a massive problem. The image that western media gives of women is one that shows them as sexual objects, and this perpetuates the problem. Sexism and sexual assault is a global problem, and open debates like this are important in the battle to combat it.

    A very interesting argument! I wish you both well.

  4. Thank you, Euny!

    I agree that the problem is more complex that can be attested to by either of the posts, but if these 23 steps can actually help fight molestation, they make sense. The problem is that they cannot; the reason Nita thinks they can is the same reason molestation happens – the idea that women in public spaces, dressed in certain ways, are ‘deviant’ and deserve punishment.

  5. Please do not attribute this to me…that I think this way of women. It is completely wrong.
    Do not put words in my mouth or in my post which are not there.
    Never even once have I said that if a woman is dressed in a certain way she deserves punishment. From the day I put my post up I have clearly and categorically said that ‘it is a sad reflection on our society’ that people think so. This sentence has been there from the time the post has been up.
    I am now quite shocked at your deliberate twisting of my words.

  6. Oh, I was imputing from the point on showing skin. I’m not quoting because I’m too lazy to bother finding it now, but you know the one I mean.

    And I have always referred to an idea that underlies what you say, I’ve never said you actually say it. For you to say something like that would take real guts, because it would be a) untrue and b)what you call ‘politically incorrect’.

    So stop being ‘shocked’ at stuff I haven’t done, or I’ll actually start being rude.

  7. It seems to me like Nita’s preventative steps are treating the symptoms and not the cause. These steps will help you avoid molestation but they will not tackle the problem. They will help the individual that just wants an end to it, they cannot take it any more. But the person that follows these rules is still a victim, as they are restricted massively in their lifestyle because of their gender and the culture that targets them for molestation. That these steps are so extreme and must be taken to ensure one’s own safety is something that shows the extent of the problem. But they are not an answer, maybe just respite. Maybe describing these steps is an expression of the severity of the situation?

    Defiance is a noble, and sadly risky, route to tackling this. But it is society that needs to be addressed to change the problem, not the actions of women. That just lets the statistics fall and everyone think the problem is better. But those statistics ARE women not being molested any more…

    So, to follow these steps alone would be to accept victimhood, to accept that as a woman, it is YOUR actions that must change. To fight to change society at the same time is to ensure your own safety whilst saying that something must be done, it should not be in the hands of women to ensure they are not molested. It should be ingrained in the minds of everyone.

    Personally, I had a safe time in India as a single woman, but I did take steps to ensure my safety, although they were not as severe as Nita’s steps. I was also scared. I would do it again, but I would prefer to be with someone else.

  8. Euny,

    What you say is really interesting. I haven’t ever seen any statistics (or other evidence) that taking these widely accepted steps to ensure safety can, in fact, ensure safety. Do you think taking these ‘steps’ really reduces harassment? Even at an individual level?

    On the other hand, some of the steps: the idea that you’re safer with someone you know than with strangers, for instance, have been proved wrong in some specific contexts. For example, there is strong evidence that date rape is more common than stranger rape, though this evidence is based in the US and not in India, where empirical studies on these things are sadly lacking.

    That’s the reason why I think following these steps alone and not doing anything is not just accepting victimhood, it’s a promotion of certain untrue ideas and assumptions about sexual violence.

    I’m glad you had a safe time in India, and I hope you will continue to, when you visit again. I was scared too, sometimes, when I lived in the U.K., more than I am here. Maybe it is the familiarity with the place and customs that influences how scared we are? I’ll come back to my point of being ‘different’, therefore ‘deviant’ and having no ‘right’ to be in public places – all of which are reinforced in unfamiliar situations.

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