Harassment in India begins at the airport

There is no respect for women in India, especially if they Indian women who were born and raised in the U.S or another country. The excuse of these men is that us women born and raised in another country are exotic and must be sluts. As soon as you get to the airport in India, you will be slapped on the butt and groped. Men will automatically start with the gawking and grinning and surrounding you no matter where you go. Even the driver you have, will turn and stare at you when he thinks you are asleep instead of watching the road in front of him, I caught him doing this three times, I did not want a repeat of being groped, so I stayed awake until everyone else woke up.

The men there will keep oggling you and grinning at you and surround you and then look at how they take off when they see someone coming back that should not have told you to stay put in the first place and left you alone. They will oggle you nonstop, in the buses they will sit in front of you, keep their face turned towards you for the whole three hour ride. It is like they are violating you. Relatives will excuses for their so called oggling, and deny all the other things being done. Plus these men have a way of not getting caught and only making it obvious that they victim will be affected. It is hard to ignore this when there are seven or more men harassing you and then they take off when they see someone coming towards you.

These men will come up to you and keep oggling you like you are a piece of meat the whole time you are there. They will grope you, their hands will reach your breasts, they will slap you on the butt, get on the bus you get in even if they are not even getting off at any of the stops, try to break into the bathroom when you are on a train, rub up against you on streets, stalk you in the streets, shops, sit in groups in front of you in restaurants and oggle you for twenty minutes.

They laugh when you yell, get loud and if you ignore them, they will grope- actually they will grope you either way. They will stalk you, even at places of religious worship. I was there for two and a half months and my family did nto really care about what was happening. Their response was: you are just a kid, why would anyone do anything to you? We didn’t see anything. What do you think you are, some kind of a queen? They kept making me sit in random spots while they took off somewhere whether to buy a ticket or buy food.

I tried to get away from the men, they just followed. They will get in front of you and surround you at busstands, on the train, train stations and they will get in your face and keep gawking and grinning. They will know a woman from another country is there even if she is 5 miles away, it is like they all report to each other that a woman from another country is here. Look at they run when they see a person you were with coming in your direction. They will know the exact spot you are in, who is with you and when they have left. Disgusting.

I took this for two months and my brother recently tried to force me to go to India even though it is know what I went through and how they don’t spare you. I also don’t see a reason for one guy to grab the back of my shirt when I was on the bus when he thought I was asleep, he was grabbing the would be bra strap area. A person comes back from there horribly tramautized, constant nightmares, it is like a woman is not able to talk to or feel comfortable around men. It is especially worse when the family does not care because they don’t want their country to look bad. It feels horrible to suffer constant sexual harassment and have your own family dismiss your feelings or outright yell at you in front of the men even though you didn’t do anything. When I was there, my relatives with me didn’t care, when I tried to report a guy to them, this relative outright pushed my arm away from them and the guy just grinned and took off. I can’t tell you about the trauma.

The men most of the times make a run for it before anyone with you can come back to you and yes my family made me sit by myself and would take off to go get something, I was alone in a restaurant for twenty minutes or more and the men there came out of nowhere and started the harassment and then ran when they saw my family coming. They drive you crazy and make others think you are crazy.

These men don’t spare you. It is disgusting. And yes, I am always covered from head to toe- always. Yes, I was wearing the Indian garb. (I am also always covered from head to toe in the U.S)

– SS

Location: India

Share your street harassment story today and help raise awareness about the problem. Include your location and it will be added to the Street Harassment Map.


6 Responses to Harassment in India begins at the airport

  1. Condition Red says:

    SS, I am so sorry all this has happened to you. It makes it all the more difficult that your family does not seem to understand. If you have any friends who are young and female, they have probably experienced harassment from men at some point, so perhaps you can talk to them so you don’t feel so isolated in your experiences.

    Maybe you can show your relatives this blog and the Blank Noise project blog so they can see how common and hurtful this behavior is. There are also recent headlines in the news about young women in Bangladesh who have committed suicide after being harassed or “eve-teased” relentlessly. (I am NOT saying suicide is a good way to deal with this, obviously, but showing them these news items brings home the point that this IS a serious problem.) I hope this helps. Just remember, you are not alone.

  2. Golden Silence says:

    I agree. You need a female support group so you won’t have to go through this alone. You’ve got the support of us women online reading your story, but to have women in close proximity to you will be even better.

  3. Margaret says:

    Agreed. A dear friend of mine was molested on the streets in India as a young girl. It’s disgusting that this sort of behavior is not challenged more often. I’m so happy that there is work being done to combat it… Blank Noise is a great project.

  4. S S says:

    Thank you Condition Red, thank you for understanding and for the kind comments. Thank you everyone. My family doesn’t really seem to listen to any of this, I guess it is seen as embarassing to some in the Indian culture. One reason they don’t want to pay attention to this is because: they fell they are making their country look bad. My dad outright denies everything that happens there and says: it is just your imagination, nothing happens there. My other relative says it is normal, no it is not normal. There is no excuse for it. Another relative doesn’t want to really listen and at one point said to me, they just saw you as a kid that is why they kept staring (meaning out of adoration). The actual problem is about the sexual harassment, leering, groping and no they do not look at you with any type of respect. I guess I grew up in a family where they deny everything and only care about making their country look good and don’t really care about the constant sexual harassment.

    One of my relatives last year tried to force me to go to India (the one who says it is normal) He convinced my other relative to take me even though I have made it clear many times I don’t want to go and they even know why. This relative besides calling me selfish, immature, and a coward had the guts to on purposely keep saying: WHY (don’t you go, even though he knows) just to imply what I felt and went through didn’t and does not matter and was trying to make me feel ashamed. It is disgusting. My relatives would not really care about the blog, they would probably get annoyed by it.

    I sometimes feel that I if I talk to female friends about it, that they don’t really want to listen to something like this because it can be scary and I don’t want to bother them. Yes, it is horrible about what is also going on in Bangladesh (This behavior is very common in Indian and Muslim countries and is referred to as Eveteasing) It needs to stop, but no one wants to acknowledge it. It seems people see it as shameful or just don’t care. Yes these new items do show that this is a serious problem. My family has heard about what happens in India and Bangladesh, they do not want to acknowledge it. I once heard then say that the woman must have been treated that way because she must have either been too trusting (and I actually heard them blame the woman once.) Thank you for everything, it helped. Sorry for writing so much, thought I’d update a little. Thank you again. You are right, I am not alone, thank you.

    Golden Silence: thank you for the support and for writing to me. It means a lot to me. It seems when I have tired to discuss this with some counselors, they smirked or seemed to have tried to blame me or don’t want to listen because they think I am talking about or am judging a certain country or a group of people… That hurts also that some counselors don’t care about the actual situation or problem. They care more about their views. Thank you for reading and writing to me. That means a lot to me, thank you.

    Thank you Margaret. Thank you for reading my story, for writing to me and for the support. I am sorry that happened to your friend. It is disgusting that this happens and isn’t challenged more often. Yes, BlanK Noise is a great project and I hope soon people take part in this project all over India.

    PS: For the location: I meant this happened in India. I was born and raised in the U.S and live here. But it scares me that I run into men who have just come from these countries and display the same behavior when they see us Indian American women. God Bless everyone.

  5. LS says:

    SS, I am so sorry to hear about the trauma you experienced in India. I am saddened to know that women in India (and so many other countries across the world) are being treated in these horrible ways. This harassment is nothing short of sexual, physical, psychological, and emotional abuse. There are many books and resources available, at least in the U.S., to help people recover from abuse of all kinds. I think it makes sense to apply this literature to the healing of wounds caused by sexual harassment.

    I also believe that these men are paying or will pay a very high price spiritually for the harm they have done to women. Whether they believe it or not, they will reap what they sow. They are sowing the seeds of a miserable, disempowered, pathetic life, brining more pain into this world instead of loving energy. They choose to be enemies of women instead of friends.

    Whatever payoff they get from harassing women is transient and transitory. In the end, they are weak, fractured, souless men, that are despised by women, and that won’t change until they change. They’ll never enjoy the benefits that loving, respectful men enjoy unless they change. They don’t know what they are missing. God bless you too and I wish you the deepest healing.

  6. red rose says:

    Hi SS,I’m in USA after marriage and have gone thru same circumstances while I was in india..now I’m continuously getting offensive emails from fake mailid ..I changed my mailid but he searched for me some how on a social networking site n den started all over again. He writes junk about me to my friends on social networking site. I’m so worried that i have started hating india n its people what should i do?

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