From 1996-1999, I went to India three times to work in the Bandhavgarh and Kanha National Parks to help save the Bengal tiger from extinction (the third serving as the background of my book [OMNI-SCIENCE and the Human Destiny]).
Let me first say that there are many things I love about India, but were I a woman rather than a man, I would love it a little less.
The female volunteers I brought with me, all Caucasian, would not go to the nearby towns on their own without a male escort, and they felt the same about all the towns and cities we had travelled through across the country.
Once, while crossing a busy intersection in New Delhi, I heard a woman’s voice calling, “Excuse me!”
I looked behind me, and saw a Caucasian woman, about 30, in T-shirt and jeans, who had passed me from the opposite direction, looking directly at me. “You are not Indian by any chance, are you?” she said earnestly.
“No, I’m a Chinese Canadian,” I said.
“Thank goodness! Would you mind walking me back to my hotel please?”
“How far?” I asked, somewhat wary.
“About two kilometres.”
That would take me back ten blocks in the wrong direction. “Why?”
“I’m sorry to inconvenience you, but I’ve been sexually harassed like you won’t believe.”
“And you’re from?”
I checked my watch. I had the time. So I agreed.
In the first block, I noticed how the men loitering along the street unabashedly staring at us. This was not exactly new to me, since I had received the same disconcerting attention everywhere I went on account of my long hair and foreign appearance. But this time, the stares were directed mostly at my companion, often tinted with sneers.
This piqued my curiosity. “Hey, I have an idea. How don’t you walk ahead of me by, say, 10 metres. I want to see what will happen. Don’t you worry. If thing get out of hand, I will intervene.”
She was game for that. Sure enough in the next block, she was verbally harassed, along sexual lines, no less than three times, and in the middle of the block that followed, two men physically approached her. I did have to intervene.
And this was in the historical background of wives being required to voluntarily lie down next to their deceased husbands to be burnt alive on his funeral pyre, and the still prevalent (though recently made illegal) wife-burnings on account of insufficient dowry – to the unofficial figure of about 10,000 per year throughout the country.
These, in my humble opinion, are present social ailments stemming from the cultural maladies of the past.
And having spent enough time in various cultures (China, Canada, America, Africa, India and Japan), I see this as a universal situation not specific to any one country.
Ancient traditions could be revered, but should also be abhorred.
Now, the article.
“NEW DELHI (AP) — The hours-long gang-rape and near-fatal beating of a 23-year-old student on a bus in New Delhi triggered outrage and anger across the country Wednesday as Indians demanded action from authorities who have long ignored persistent violence and harassment against women.
In the streets and in Parliament, calls rose for stringent and swift punishment against those attacking women, including a proposal to make rapists eligible for the death penalty. As the calls for action grew louder, two more gang-rapes were reported, including one in which the 10-year-old victim was killed…”
For the rest of the story, read:
Anthony Marr, Founder and President
Heal Our Planet Earth (HOPE)
Global Anti-Hunting Coalition (GAHC)