India still dangerous for women

Dec 2nd, 2019, 06:47 AM
  #1  
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India still dangerous for women

Back in 2013 I posted a thread titled "Gang Rape in India. Again" (Gang rape in India. Again. ) that linked an article in the Guardian. Unfortunately I could post exactly the same thread today.

Here's the article: https://www.theguardian.com/world/20...rape-hyderabad

It includes a link to an article - https://www.theguardian.com/global-d...ntry-for-women - reporting a poll that ranks India the world's most dangerous country for women. (It the US's shame that it is ranked at #10.) Here are the poll results: The world's most dangerous countries for women 2018

I am female and I have traveled in India on my own (ten weeks in 2001 and six weeks in 2010). I certainly noticed misogyny, but I did not feel unsafe. However, I think the situation is getting worse for women on the streets and I may not do so again.
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Dec 2nd, 2019, 09:44 AM
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It's really sad, but I don't think it's getting more dangerous, just more crimes are reported.

I you were brave enough to travel India as a solo female and didn't feel unsafe it would be a pity to miss India out of fear. Use your common sense and you shall be fine. You're an old India hand after all.

If you're in doubt you can find a travel partner or go with a small group tour.
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Dec 2nd, 2019, 09:56 AM
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Regarding the survey there are only 2 surprises for me.

USA - I never hide that I'm not a fan of the USA, but there's just something very fishy in the survey that the US is in the top 10 with countries like Congo and Somalia. That's just ridiculous. I'm pretty sure that in most African, American and Middle Eastern contries women are much worse off than in the USA.

Syria - I don't know how can you make such a survey in a country at war. If the survey was indeed done recently, it is no surprise that a country at war is so dangerous to women, it's dangerous to anyone. I visited Syria before the war and women seemed to be feeling pretty safe and free and as peace is returning I'm sure it's getting better.
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Dec 2nd, 2019, 12:43 PM
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I, too, was in Syria before the war, and "safe and free" is not how I would have described the women. How free can you be when you have to swathe yourself from head to toe in black cloth every time you go out - in Middle Eastern heat, too. Plus a teenage boy tried to sexually harass me. (And I was old enough to be his grandmother. Actually great-grandmother given the likely age of marriage there.)

I didn't say I wouldn't go back to India - I still want to visit the north-north west - but I would want at least a car and driver if not a small group.
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Dec 2nd, 2019, 02:05 PM
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"How free can you be when you have to swathe yourself from head to toe in black cloth every time you go out - in Middle Eastern heat, too."

Are you sure that you have been to Syria and not Saudi Arabia or Afghanistan?

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Dec 2nd, 2019, 02:10 PM
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First thing I noticed driving in from Aleppo airport was all the women in full black. For the Aleppo medina see: https://kwilhelm.smugmug.com/Travel/...eppo/i-kBc3cWG
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Dec 2nd, 2019, 02:21 PM
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Perhaps you were driving through a conservative neighbourhood, but you must have a very selective memory if you remember that as the typical look of women in Syria.

The thing is the women in Syria can dress as they wish, there is no law specifying how to dress like in Iran or Saudi Arabia.
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Dec 2nd, 2019, 06:42 PM
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kja
 
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Thanks for posting, thursdaysd.

I suspect that what feels safe (and perhaps is) for a woman is different than what feels safe (and perhaps is) for a man, and must admit that I think it rather presumptious of a man to comment without the benefit of expertise or factual argument. JMO.

Last edited by kja; Dec 2nd, 2019 at 07:15 PM.
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Dec 2nd, 2019, 07:12 PM
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A shocking report yet again. I have just been watching the BBC World Service report on the issue. Despite the actions of the authorities to increase sentences, bring in new laws, it seems that very little has changed in terms of attitudes to and abuse of women which seems ingrained into Indian society. I can full appreciate why crowds of women to to the streets and tried to storm te police station where the perpetrators were being seemingly with the intention of lynching them. Calls for which were being echoed by at least one female Indian MP.

Regarding the comments regarding veracity of the report and its conclusions, Thompson Reuters are arguably the most highly regarded and certainly the largest, news gathering, information and data provider in the world. I have worked with them over many years in several different capacities and hold them in the highest regard. They have been very clear in the methodologies employed in compiling this poll which is based upon the opinions of:

"548 experts focused on women’s issues including aid and development professionals, academics, health workers, policymakers, non-government organisation workers, journalists, and social commentators”

Which is why it is possible to provide scores for places like Syria. No methodology is perfect but looking at the data, it seems that the USAs appearance is mainly because of its ratings for Sexual and Non Sexual Violence against women where it rates 3rd and 6th respectively. As it is an opinion based poll, maybe those opinions were influenced by the Weinstein/# meetoo affair or the actions of the USAs misogynist in chief. Even so, quite shocking to see the USA there.

I am currently in South Africa, a country which is also infamous for violence against women and on Saturday witnessed a rally against violence against women in Stellenbosch. I wonder where South Africa scored on the poll.

it is a very long time since I visited Syria or many of the other countries of the Middle East and North Africa, I do recall however non of them having particularly great or enlightened attitudes towards women whether they be dressed in black or any other colour.
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Dec 2nd, 2019, 09:15 PM
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Thanks for posting, thursdays. I was in India for the second time, two years ago, and the latest time I had a car and driver the whole time. I always felt safe, but then again, I didn't go out walking at night like I would have done otherwise. It's hard to change misogynist attitudes embedded in Indian culture. I often eat at a vegetarian Indian restaurant here in Southern California, where they have one restroom. Recenty, I was in the restroom for about three minutes, and an older man banged on the door, and scolded me that I was taking too long. I'm sure he was a lifelong woman hater.

We were in Syria in 2010. Much to our driver's chagrin, we took a ride from a young guy one night when we couldn't find a cab. He was a physician, and his wife was a dentist. He was babysitting their child while she studied for her boards. That sounds quite modern to me, so one can't judge women's stance in society simply by their dress.
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Dec 2nd, 2019, 09:52 PM
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That sounds quite modern to me, so one can't judge women's stance in society simply by their dress.
On the other hand, there was the woman I met in the Aleppo train station traveling to rejoin her husband. Full black, baby in arms, but a masters in English she wasn't using. And I imagine that there was a need for female medical personnel so that women didn't have to see men. (Note that the women in the small Christian community did not cover.)

I mentioned the issue of sweltering in full black robes to one of my (all male) taxi drivers. He dismissed the problem with the remark that it was only for three months or so.

But I was actually posting about India, not Syria.
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Dec 3rd, 2019, 01:56 AM
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"Recently, I was in the restroom for about three minutes, and an older man banged on the door, and scolded me that I was taking too long. I'm sure he was a lifelong woman hater."

I was in a similar situation in Brussels. It was very urgent and I was relieved quickly finding a nice public toilet, the problem was there were a couple of men waiting in front of the gents and the queue didn't seem to move, while there was no queue in front of the ladies(usually it's the other way round). I asked the careteker if I could use the ladies, because there's nobody there in the moment and it's urgent for me. He said no, but I didn't care and went in anyway.

Last edited by moderator8; Dec 3rd, 2019 at 07:35 AM. Reason: remove combative sentence
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Dec 3rd, 2019, 02:20 AM
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"I suspect that what feels safe (and perhaps is) for a woman is different than what feels safe (and perhaps is) for a man, and must admit that I think it rather presumptious of a man to comment without the benefit of expertise or factual argument."

1) It was the OP herself who said that she didn't feel unsafe on her previous trips. There is no reason to think that India is more dangerous for women than it was 10, 20 or 50 years ago. In fact the attitudes towards women are probably slowly changing for the better, it's just such an enormous country with a growing population that this change is hard to notice. The difference is that when such crimes happened in a village 20 years ago, the news rarely got out of the village, but these days thanks to social media it can become global news in less than 24 hours. The other factor is that women used not to talk about these crimes and were afraid to stand up for themselves and this is changing too.

2) I can't know how a woman feels, but I have empathy and I can try to imagine it. I refuse the feminist agenda seeking to divide men and women. I think we're not THAT different from each other. Believe it or not men also experience sexual harassment or violence, we are just even more reluctant to talk about it than women. Getting raped is at least as shameful for a man than for a woman. Fortunately we don't experience sexual harassment as frequently as women, but it takes only 1 situation when you're afraid of getting raped to experience a fear just like a woman would feel in such a situation.

3) I don't need personal experiences to know about the danger levels and issues women traveller face in one or the other country. I talked to women who were in the country, I read the warnings in guidebooks, I read the stories on travel forums, etc.
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Dec 3rd, 2019, 07:30 AM
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@BDKR - look up the meaning of "mansplaining".

As Indian women gain more independence and move around other than in family groups, I think that the incidence of violence is going up, not down.
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Dec 3rd, 2019, 07:34 AM
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"M. Venkaiah Naidu, India’s vice president, called on Monday for further changes to the country’s laws and judicial system.

Do not make the “mistake of attributing [it] to one state or one city,” he said. “It is a societal weakness, a societal disease. It is sort of a lacuna in our systems, both legal as well as police systems.”" [Emphasis added.]

From the WaPo: https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia-pacific/hyderabad-rape-shocks-india/2019/12/02/f911254a-14e9-11ea-80d6-d0ca7007273f_story.html
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Dec 3rd, 2019, 08:16 AM
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That Washington Post is very depressing. Changes in the law/ judicial system didn't work very well the last time and short of sacking most of the judiciary, I can’t see it having much effect the second time around. I can still recall the chilling interview with a senior judge who actually blamed the victim - probably still in his job!

As for some of the other comments made on this thread, well, words fail me!
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Dec 3rd, 2019, 08:30 AM
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BDKR - You misinterpreted my story about the Indian man banging on the restroom door. You weren't there, so you don't know what happened. My husband, older brother, or two sons would never, ever bang on a restroom door, and scold a lady. Never, ever.

This thread is about deep-rooted hatred for women embedded in a culture. It is so very thoughtful of thursdays to be keep posting articles about this terrible situation. Any disputes of this fact, or putting down other posters is counter-productive.
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Dec 3rd, 2019, 07:37 PM
  #18  
kja
 
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Apologizing in advance for an off-topic comment:

I think BDKR has a choice to make. It would seem that he has some extensive travel experience and has the potential to be a valuable resource to Fodorites. But he risks making himself irrelevant by insulting posters, posting unnecessarily controversial comments, or otherwise undermining his credibility and inspiring routine posters to add him to their "ignore" lists. I could be wrong, and even if I'm right, he obviously gets to choose how to proceed. I've often said, and meant, that I think one strength of Fodor's is that people are free to offer whatever advice or input they deem fit (so long as it is within the bounds allowed by forum rules). I just think its unfortunate when someone who might actually prove valuable makes himself an anathema instead, and I think he still has a chance to avoid that. JMO.

Again, my apologies for the aside, and thanks to thursdaysd, crellston, and CaliforniaLady for contributing to an otherwise thoughtful discussion of a difficult an important set of issues.

Last edited by kja; Dec 3rd, 2019 at 07:53 PM.
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Dec 5th, 2019, 05:50 AM
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*** Oh. My. God ***

https://www.theguardian.com/world/20...lleged-rapists
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Dec 5th, 2019, 07:44 AM
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That just beggars belief! Let’s see if BDKR attempts to make light of it as he did in his last, now deleted, extremely crass post which was presumably some bizarre and twisted attempt at humour.
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