'One kiss?'

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#1 Jun 7th, 2007, 19:50
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  • gertie is offline
#1
Just venting here!

In two days I have had two incidents of what would generally be termed harrassment. Both occurred at City Centre shopping mall in Chennai - I go regularly because its near my workplace.

Yesterday, a guy grabbed my bum on the escalator and walked off laughing with his friend.

Today, I was standing outside the entrance waiting for a friend. A lone man came up to me and asked me politely if I knew where a certain shop was. I said I didn't. He hung about a bit and asked me where I was from. I was polite, but did not encourage anything further. He then came far too close and tried to grab my hand and kiss me, whilst telling me he would leave me alone if I gave him 'one kiss'. WTF?!!!

I must admit I lost the plot and started shouting at him like a mad woman. What did he expect my answer to be FFS? How many women, when asked to kiss a stranger in the street, would answer yes?! Lucky for me (and him), he scurried off when a security guard heard me yelling and came to investigate.

How do other women deal with this stuff? I think the two incidents in close succession have just pushed me over the edge. All I'm doing is taking a lunch break and I have to deal with this kind of bs.

Gertie
#2 Jun 7th, 2007, 21:04
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  • BangaloreBean is offline
#2

"street sexual harassment" is the term

Sadly Gertie, this is very common. Sexual/social frustration/repression is a real problem.

You will find that women relate to your problem more - generally speaking. My male friends simply don't think this happens!

You were right to stand up for yourself - if it happens again, just raise the biggest stink you can. In Chennai, men tend to berate the harasser immediately if you bring it - very loudly and clearly - to the attention of people nearby - generally speaking!
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#3 Jun 7th, 2007, 21:17
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  • navinkurian2002 is offline
#3
Get in touch with the people at the Blank noise project

In india you have to just tell them to shove off. And raise a noise thats the only way they get embarrassed and will never do it again.Shouting is very very effective.
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#4 Jun 7th, 2007, 21:43
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#4
well the problem is that Indian society has been conservative, and due to exposure to western movies and media in last few decades, people have actually started to see kisses and other sexual stuff on TV and other mediums.

So less educated people, they belive that all white skinned women are out for taking and would easily give sexual favors..

the best solution for this would be to raise a voice, and if you feel that you are in not very desolate area then maybe slap the person..

once you raiase the voice then the person is in for trouble..as most passers would like to have a go at him..
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#5 Jun 7th, 2007, 22:18
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#5
Hi Gertie - you are raising a very real and unsettling issue. It seems to me that there is a real belief that a white/western women will oblige when such requests/suggestions are made. I was accosted in Chennai by an auto driver who was qite astounded that i was not interested in his "offer". I oculdn't quite belive what he had said (it was really foul so i wont repeat here) and like a fool I said "pardon?" (kind of automatically) so he repeated it!! I was also quite astounded at the foul words which came out of my mouth which told him in no uncertain terms where to go. As my voice was raised he disappeared quickly and I was left at the roadside shaken and angry, and not quite believing that this had happened.

In general, i always make sure that i make a point of mentioning my husband very early in any general conversations.

Take care and do vent - here is a good place where you will get a fair and balanced response
#6 Jun 7th, 2007, 22:37
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  • Sama is offline
#6
Quote:
Originally Posted by BangaloreBean View Post You will find that women relate to your problem more - generally speaking. My male friends simply don't think this happens!
Ladies, I for one am glad that you have brought up this subject, and I agree with what Bangalore Bean says.

During my first trip to India I was propositioned by a clerk in a jewelery store in Chennai -- nothing I haven't heard before and nothing I could not handle, and I let him know in no uncertain terms that I thought he was a joke.....but I still felt like taking a shower afterward because I had to get the slime off me. I posted about it here and let's just say that most women "got it", but others.....

I have read the Blank Noise Project blog, and other blogs by Indian women who are addressing this issue. If you'd like a good source for blogs by Indian women on gender issues, go to Global Voices - India.

But I won't go into any of my snarky feminist rants, I have a blog for that....
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#7 Jun 7th, 2007, 23:07
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#7
Don't think it is just foreigners that attract this attention: Indian women are dealing with it every day.

But that is not to say, of course, that every woman experiences it every day.

Sorry to hear that you had a couple of bad days, Gertie. Maybe the Indiamike meetup on Friday 15th might help to restore your faith in Chennai?

Shopping Malls here seem to fulfill the purpose of clubs or pubs: boys and girls go to stare at each other. Apparently there are more boys than girls (I couldn't say; I only notice the girls ) and you know what a bunch of schoolboys (of whatever age) is like.

Certainly this is one of the less pleasant aspects of India.
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#8 Jun 7th, 2007, 23:18
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  • BangaloreBean is offline
#8

an affront to our senses...but who's listening?



When I am in the US/ Europe, the simple joy of *not* having to act protective 24/7 in public places is a pleasure that only other Indian women understand. The most lecherous Italian stud in a Roman piazza is a piece of cake to handle after the despos here. I find it's easy to make friends with the Lotharios there: a simple "Oh noooooo, you're nice but I'm not interested" turns them into friendly little puppies

Not the case here I'm afraid!

I've been grasped, fondled, had extermely rude comments made to my face ( this by a sick former neighbour who beat his wife at night; I am serious. We have heard her screams late at night; she left him and he married again soon after...)

But you know what? If you ask around, you'll find that about 75% of Indian women will admit at least one incident where they were harassed badly.

The Question Is: Who's listening?

---

What I have come to accept is that most-not-all men seem to think that this is a non-issue.

We need womens' thread. Mods! Although we know it will be inhabited mostly by ... men!!!




#9 Jun 7th, 2007, 23:49
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#9
The physical harassment of women that occurs is an issue in many places in the world although it may take different forms. But is this a new cultural phenomenon in India? Has it changed over the past few generations? Or is it just that women are increasingly free to object to it?

I do know that the american movie industry has changed in that time and continues to deepen and contribute to the problem with the overtly sexual movie formula it takes in almost all films targeting youth. It is becoming increasingly foul and is generally viewed as "harmless and funny" while it is neither.
drmr
#10 Jun 8th, 2007, 00:19
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#10
Quote:
Originally Posted by indiadreamer View Post The physical harassment of women that occurs is an issue in many places in the world although it may take different forms.
absolutely. it certainly is not an "indian thing" or an "indian guy thing". it's global, in varying degrees, and in "different forms", as you say.

and each woman deals with it in her own way. some by shutting down, some by not taking any shit from any man.

and yes, the media is to blame to a certain extent. what media images of women do men see on a daily basis? what role models do young women have nowadays? Brittney Spears? Paris Hilton?

I teach in a junior college to mostly young women 18-22 (some guys take my yoga classes) and one told me point blank "we have no role models" and that they are tired of the typical media images of women being a size 2 model with fake boobs or some dysfuntional 20 year old actress. They are tired of hearing women referred to in songs as 'hos and bitches, tired of suggestive music videos, and they feel helpless. I was shocked when one of them told me that in one of her classes she spoke about feminism, women standing up for themselves, etc. and she was ridiculed by both men and women for her views.

these are girls who are already feeling powerless in 21st century White Bread Suburbia. As a woman who came of age during the early feminist movement, late '60s-early '70s, it blows my mind.
#11 Jun 8th, 2007, 00:32
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#11

Disclaimer: These are personal opinions. No offences meant :)

Quote:
Originally Posted by indiadreamer View Post But is this a new cultural phenomenon in India? Has it changed over the past few generations? Or is it just that women are increasingly free to object to it?
Both. Both parties, oppressor and the victim are progressively becoming bold. Let me add, in certain settings where people are not perfect stranger, like school colleges, offices, call centers, atleast the verbal sexual advancements are being enjoyed by both sexes. Infact, they are seen as adding spice to lives of people in their o/w drab lives like in Call Centers. Only when it spills over to streets with starngers, it causes the problem.

Quote:
I do know that the american movie industry has changed in that time and continues to deepen and contribute to the problem with the overtly sexual movie formula it takes in almost all films targeting youth. It is becoming increasingly foul and is generally viewed as "harmless and funny" while it is neither.
Same thing is happening here. Movies, Television, Fashion has trivialized the whole issue. If it can happen in a movie in much more worse terms which entire family watches together and enjoys, where is the scope for it to be considered seriously?
Last edited by roopesh_kohad; Jun 8th, 2007 at 00:34.. Reason: typo corrected
#12 Jun 8th, 2007, 00:32
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#12
i am surprised , nobody is even suggeting to these ladeis that they shouud report to Police. A vulgar comment is treated as sexual harassment in Indian law. Even if you treat police as corrupt ,that corrupt policemen will extract enough money from the intruder to teach him a lseeon better than mere shouting.
#13 Jun 8th, 2007, 00:39
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#13
I think many women find dealing with the police in these circumstances the even greater hassle, if only in terms of time involved, let alone any possibly increased aggravation. And again, not just in India. Reaffirming that sense of powerlessness and you're on your own-ness again, etc., ad infinitum
#14 Jun 8th, 2007, 00:43
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Originally Posted by machadinha View Post I think many women find dealing with the police in these cirumstances the even greater hassle, if only in terms of time involved, let alone any possibly increased aggravation.

That is a misconception. In age of media glare , no policeman has guts to behave badly with a female foreigner in a big city . Most of complaints are from female foregners in big cities .
#15 Jun 8th, 2007, 00:49
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#15
Possibly, but I imagine I'd get very bored with having to run to the police every time the next idiot pinches my bum or harasses me for a kiss.
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