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  • Approved for CNN

  • Click to view meeravijayan's profile
    Posted August 20, 2013 by
    meeravijayan
    Location
    Bangalore
    Assignment
    Assignment
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Speaking up about sexual violence

    More from meeravijayan

    India: A different view

     

    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     meeravijayan told me, 'I was inspired to respond because I am an Indian girl who has faced similar experiences that Michaela Cross describes on her ireport. Sexual harassment is common in India. And this can be frightening and traumatic for anyone who travels here. The air of hopelessness for women here is frustrating and I wish that things change. However, I know that although I have faced sexual harassment, there is a side to India that one can truly enjoy and appreciate. And given the heavy air of cynicism about the Indian mindset (which truly is deeply chauvinist), I wanted to point out, on a positive note, that one can also have a beautiful experience here.' More on this story here.
    - hhanks, CNN iReport producer

    I wanted to post this in response to the video of ireporter Michaela Cross's account of what the situation is like in India. First of all, I wanted to express my deepest regret for what she faced. As a girl, who lives here in India, and who has faced several similar experiences I wanted to take this moment to tell you all - yes, this is a side of India that is a reality to most young women who reside here or for that matter travel here.

     

    In all honesty, I look at this problem in two different ways. One, as a foreigner, be it a man or a woman, I know that it's an extremely different cultural environment here in India. And sometimes, unless you are in a city, it is common to be stared at. It is definitely not uncommon for people to express an interest to how foreigners dress or behave in public. This can be incredibly uncomfortable, but often times, the tension can be easily broken by merely ignoring this unless you truly sense physical danger. Sometimes not understanding the complexities of Indian life can make you judge its people rather harshly.

     

    Second, I definitely would really advise female travelers to practice caution when making decisions such as travelling alone at night or being anywhere where you aren't quite sure about. It is a fact that it isn't safe. I have been stalked before and groped as well, and these experiences can be frightening and traumatic. But that said, this shouldn't stop you from living your life and exploring India. While India can largely be unsafe, you cannot stereotype a whole nation. Remember, people will always be alien to you if you wish to see them as alien to your life. Once you open up, it is often a very different experience. You will form stronger bonds, understand the situation better and have a positive experience while here. Yes, I find it infuriating that women have so much to fear but then women also have so much to look forward to. And we shouldn't forget that. I think I will leave it here saying - Yes, there are many things wrong about India, but then there is a lot of good too. And that's true of every country, isn't it?

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