- Posted August 24, 2013 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Speaking up about sexual violence
Sexual harassment in India: A perspective from an Indian Male
It was extremely sad to hear about RoseChasm's ireport about her experiences on a trip to India. While the events that unfolded are abominable, the report tends to create a general bias towards the whole 'Indian Male' community. I, as a member of this community, am proud of my country's culture and open attitude towards individuals from all corners of the world. As an 'Indian Male' who has traveled, studied and worked across 4 continents around the world, I would like to share my thoughts in this story.I am horrified by the frequent stories emenating from India about the instances of female abuse. These acts are deplorable, criminal and require a change in the male mindset to look at females as an object.
I was born and raised in Varanasi,one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world and the holiest city for hindus. Varanasi also holds a major significance for Buddhism, Jainism apart from hinduism and also has one of the largest and oldest universtiy in Asia. As a center for spiritual awareness and meditation, my city attracted a large number of foreing nationals who were drawn in by the culture, tradition and colors of the city.
As a young kid, I was always intrigued by the travelers from around the world who took a deep interest in our way of life and were so open to take our pictures. As I grew up, I personally witnessed on several occassions, vendors trying to charge higher prices to foreign nationals and common people fighting against them. I don't intend to say that such incidents (including harassment) didn't ever happen . However, I have ALWAYS witnessed the locals supporting the victim in such cases. I have NEVER heard or witnessed anyone, whether an Indian or a tourist, mobbed by hoard of lecherous people with no one to help. I have personally witnessed some of my female friends being verbally abused, groped and inappropriately touched in all corners of the world. I understand that India is still lagging behind in female empowerment, but the laws are in place to take handle these criminal acts. The system might not be perfect, however, the administration, the police and the citizens of my country stand with the tourists to make their stay safe.
RoseChasm also mentioned a hotel staff member trying to rape her colleague. I simply can not fathom what horrible state of mind she would have been at that instance, and hope that no one has to go through a similar situation. However I strongly believe that she should have tried to call the police if she felt endangered. I have seen tourists staying in cheap shady motels and I don't believe anyone would feel safe in these places. I have heard stories from my american friends about the horrors of staying in cheap motels in the US which are frequented by drug peddlers, criminals and prostitutes. If one could feel so unsafe in the US in such shady places, how can one assume to be safe in a similar place in any other part of the world.
These heinous crimes happen everywhere and should be cracked down by the local authorities. However it is dangerous to generalize instances like these which , more often than not, attain tremendous publicity. You don't believe that America is a country of cannibals when you hear about some guy high on bath salts chew the face of another person. You don't believe that all europeans are incestuous because of a person who kept his daughter in a dungeon and sexually assaulted her for over 18 years and had 4 children with her. You don't think that all americans are perverted when you hear about a guy kidnapping three teenage girls and assaulting them in captivity for over a decade.
In my first week in Europe, I had two guys throw a beer bottle at me in the night. In another instance a guy threw a sandwich at my window while I was travelling in a bus. That didn't make me believe that all europeans hated me. Infact, my colleagues were stricken with shock when I told them about these instances. While I was stidying in a graduate program in the US, one of my batchmate commented to my face that I should go back to my country rather than take the american jobs. That doesn't lead me to believe that all americans think the same way about the outsiders.
In sum, I urge all the readers to consider this issue in perspective, and not indulge in excessie generalization. I am and always will be a proud Indian and will raise my voice to support victim of any form of abuse irrespective of the nationality.
Wishing RoseChasm a speedy recovery and a happy life ahead!