Safety concerns for traveling in India?

Feb 15th, 2013, 09:58 AM
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Safety concerns for traveling in India?

Hi everyone,

We’ve been wondering...what are your thoughts and feelings on traveling to India now that a little time has passed since the terrible events that occurred at the end of the year ( )

Would you travel to India now – whether alone, with people, as a woman, or not? Would you feel safe traveling there?

India released a short film in November 2012 (before the incidents) that showcase the joys of a woman traveling alone in the country ( How long before you think it can get back to that?
Amy_D is offline  
Feb 15th, 2013, 10:03 AM
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sure... i find it just as safe as nyc, if not more so..

safe for singles and small groups
rhkkmk is offline  
Feb 15th, 2013, 10:21 AM
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My wife and I R going in Oct. for our 7th time. While this incident is horrible it could have happened anywhere. I am very concerned about it in that justice needs to be done and I am also concerned about public reaction if a verdict is perceived as being lenient.

This wont stop us from going however. My big concern about going is health (hopefully no Delhi belly) and not getting ripped off.
jacketwatch is online now  
Feb 15th, 2013, 10:22 AM
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Firstly, you're a tourist and won't be in intimate contact with most locals. Secondly, you won't be riding on local buses. So the difficulties encountered by local women, and men for that matter, do not apply. I've traveled alone in India on a number of occasions and the only difference now is we've heard about what Indian women have endured. But for a tourist nothing has changed and travel in India alone is safe by all standards.
MmePerdu is online now  
Feb 15th, 2013, 10:55 AM
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As a Western woman traveling in India, I think I'm remarkably safe whether traveling alone or with a friend or partner. It is local women who have been and continue to be the object of violence.
Kathie is offline  
Feb 15th, 2013, 04:07 PM
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India is no more dangerous than it has been at any other time. Riding the local buses has always been risky for Indian women, but some don't have other travel options.

There is no need to not travel to India. As always, common sense and awareness of one's surroundings is smart traveling.
Jaya is offline  
Feb 15th, 2013, 06:50 PM
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I felt very safe in India as a traveler several months before this happened, especially with drivers, guides and handlers. I also felt safe taking a long (6k) walk on my own in Delhi at sunset without my husband.

But I have changed my opinion about safety in India since the incident, the horrific gang rape of a young woman by a city bus driver and others, as she returned from the movies with her boyfriend.

I am fairly certain that this sort of event (gang rape by a public servant, victim and bf left for dead, bodies ignored by onlookers) has NEVER happened in this country - certainly not in NYC. And the most disturbing part is that there has been at least one more gang rape by ANOTHER bus driver since the death of the first victim:

If I had a daughter, I now would be concerned about her traveling to India. And, as much as I fell in love with the people and the culture (a travel highlight after visiting 60+ countries), this unconscionable level of violence and sexism has made me less anxious to return.
crosscheck is offline  
Feb 15th, 2013, 06:55 PM
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Sorry...I meant "victims ignored by onlookers." As long as I have your attention, Amy, we really need an edit feature!
crosscheck is offline  
Feb 15th, 2013, 07:36 PM
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I (female) was in India on my own for ten weeks in 2001 (right after 9-11) and for six weeks in 2010. I was aware at the time both of the misogynistic attitudes of many Indian men, and of the high level of violence against women - dowry deaths, abortion of females, mistreatment of widows - but the brutality of the Delhi rape was an unpleasant surprise. However, I would have no hesitation in revisiting India on my own. But, I am older (not that that necessarily makes a difference to rapists), I am not out late at night, and I don't use commuter transport.

BTW crosscheck, I'm afraid you're overly optimistic about the US. See, for starters:
thursdaysd is offline  
Feb 15th, 2013, 07:50 PM
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Crosscheck, I would guess that you have heard of the Kitty Genovese case, which did happen in NYC with plenty of witnesses. The rape was not by a public servant, but the crime in progress was ignored by onlookers and victim was left for dead.
Kathie is offline  
Feb 15th, 2013, 08:33 PM
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Come on, guys. Of course I am aware that there is violence the US (and I travel often to Mexico, which has its own issues), but there is nothing here on the level of the gang rapes in India, which until recently were shockingly condoned and not always reported.

thurs, those links were all very disturbing, but nobody died. And believe me - we would know if a gang rape of Delhi caliber happened in New York. One of the incidents (the dousing of water, tearing of clothes in Central Park) is 13 years old. And the four-yr old Brooklyn event was domestic violence, with the crowd watching because the perpetrator had a gun.

I do think India is safe for tourists, but I found the promo video featuring a single woman traveler insensitive in light of the current social climate. India has a dirty little secret that's not such a secret anymore, And if my kids were young women, I would not want them alone on buses like the traveler in the video.
crosscheck is offline  
Feb 15th, 2013, 08:45 PM
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Kathie, I grew up in NYC so of course I know about Kitty Genevese - Happened 49 years ago in 1964, immortalized by the Phil Ochs song, "Outside of a Small Circle of Friends."

The social conscious of the whole city changed that day, and that's partly why I said that we would know if an incident like the Delhi gang rape had happened there.
crosscheck is offline  
Feb 15th, 2013, 08:57 PM
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crosscheck - The US has plenty of "dirty little secrets" too. All you have to do is a 'net search on "gang rape US". And I read recently that one third of US military women have suffered some form of sexual assault.

I do agree that things are worse in India, but you said "NEVER" [your caps]. Not true.
thursdaysd is offline  
Feb 15th, 2013, 10:06 PM
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Yes, awful secrets, but I maintain that there has not been a murder/gang rape on that level here (NYC came up because a poster saying he felt less safe in New York than Delhi). We would know about it - there would have been outrage and protests and a tipping point like in India.

I respect you and Kathie tremendously, but a comparison w/ the US is off topic. Amy's question was not about which is safer. She was asking whether we would go to India alone and happily ride buses like the woman in the promo. Many others on the web are discussing the same Q because a S. Korean woman was just raped by a hotel manager at a tiger reserve.


As I said, I felt extremely safe when I was there in September. But many of my 22-year old son's friends are now traveling to Asia, and sadly, I would now advise a woman that age against going to India alone.
crosscheck is offline  
Feb 15th, 2013, 11:26 PM
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Misogyny is embedded into Indian society and always has been. Women are not treated with anything approaching equality and indeed in many cases are viewed as little more than chattels. As long as these attitudes are allowed to prevail women, whether local or tourists will always be at a higher risk than most western countries. Forced marriage, the mutilation of women for reason of infidelity, perceived or actual, an the killing of female babies at birth are still widespread in the sub continent and will remain so until issues of endemic corruption in the political and judicial system are addressed. Will this happen anytime soon? I seriously doubt it?

There are risks in travel anywhere, sensible precautions can minimise but not eliminate those risks. The recent events in India have highlighted the risks to women and the world has become more aware of the issues, but this type of attack has been going on for a very long time so I doubt that the actual risk level is any higher now than it ever has been in the past. he Indian authorities will doubtless hope that it will go way and maybe the worlds media will report it less, which is a real shame. Maybe if fewer people travel to India as a result and are vocal about it, then this will " encourage " the authorities to take some real and sustained action.
crellston is offline  
Feb 16th, 2013, 05:31 AM
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crellston - I doubt a drop off in western tourism would have much effect. The one good thing to come out of this is the outrage being expressed in India, by Indians, which is much more likely to have an effect, if it is sustained.
thursdaysd is offline  
Feb 16th, 2013, 05:48 AM
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I'm currently vacationing in India (delhi/ragasthan) with my husband. I'm 31 (but i look a bit younger though and am short and thin) and honestly, given the way men look at me here, I'm not sure I'd come alone. If I did, I would definitely adopt Indian dress. I have a lot of requests for photos by men and the stares are a bit uncomfortable. I think the men are harmless, but started wearing sunglasses because I wanted to avoid accidental eye contact. I'm not saying India is unsafe, just as a single female, you should understand you might get more attention than you are used to.

Just my two cents...
tansmets is offline  
Feb 16th, 2013, 08:07 AM
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There seems to be no prohibition in India against staring so everyone that's a bit different is stared at, not just young women. I'm not young by any definition and am stared at too. After a while I got used to it and ceased to notice. It's cultural and not threatening, simple open curiosity. You, or anyone, are simply the entertainment of the moment in a possibly otherwise humdrum life.
MmePerdu is online now  
Feb 16th, 2013, 08:08 AM
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India is safe for tourists and for women traveling alone. Just like in US or in other parts of the world, one has to be cautious at all times.
The country is going through tremendous changes.With higher education, jobs outside the home, more and more women are out and about.
The men have yet to learn how to be respectful and treat women nicely. The outrage after the recent incident shows that the Indian society at large is determined to change the present treatment of women.It will take time as any change will happen at a snail's pace!
So, travel in India with caution. It is indeed an "Incredible India" and everyone should take the opportunity to visit at least once and see the enchantment. Just be extra careful.
ileen is offline  
Feb 16th, 2013, 08:47 AM
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There is a difference between being stared at as a foreigner and leered at as a woman. I also just came back from India and agree with tansmets and crosscheck. As a 59 year old woman who looks younger, I was aware of groups of men who were staring in a way that made me feel uncomfortable, so I, too would be very circumspect about a female traveling alone. I do agree with tansmets that adopting traditional dress would make it much easier. I think it's absolutely doable to travel alone, but being aware and conscious of one's own behavior and affect is important.
progol is offline  

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