- Posted August 25, 2013 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Speaking up about sexual violence
My Experience as a Female Indian Outsider in India
There was also another time when I went shopping for jeans with my mother and aunt at a big department store called Shoppers Stop. The fitting rooms at that time were unisex (surely they must have changed that by now because even in Europe fitting rooms are never unisex), and when I went in to try on my jeans, I got a bad vibe and very felt uncomfortable as a guy walked by and brushed his way through trying to slide open the curtain a bit to get a peek and then apologise by pretending it was an accident. I knew that there was no way I would have been safe if I were to be alone at the time.
Looking back as an adult now, I know I did nothing wrong. I dressed very appropiately and never smiled at strangers in the streets. But there is a general sense of unsafety the moment you set a foot out in the streets. Crowded places are remarkably even worse, they feel like they can get away with murder. Men in India are taught to repress lust, and those pent-up emotions lead them to violent acts and harassment. And it doesn't help that the country is misogynistic and shames the victims of abuse by saying they must have done something to bring that kind of situation upon them.
So when I read about cases like Michaela Cross', unfortunately it doesn't surprise me at all that she went through that dreadful experience. India is a country obsessed with fair skin and blue/greens eyes, therefore this makes girls like her an even bigger target. White girls are also seen as promiscuous girls, so in a lot of cases this makes them feel like they have a right to disrespect them. I have been telling my my non-Indian-looking female friends for years that if they travelled to India, they would need to take a lot of precaution and be accompanied for safety. It’s not pleasant, and I still don’t want to go back to India.