A Bit Of Respect Please!

Why Does It Seem That Indian Men Don’t Respect Western Women?

Now I know that is a sweeping generalisation; but for our time in India (having been there twice), there were very few that actually treated Elise with the respect that she deserved. I am all for understanding another country’s culture and traditions, but being down right rude and vulgar is not on in my books.

There was one incident which pushed me over the edge. Maybe I should of thought before my actions but the extent of the rudeness made be so angry.

India streets

Elise walking alone

I snapped. Enough was enough.

We had been travelling India for 2 months and I had become accustomed to the ways of the world in India. I had it all figured out and I new straight away when someone was pulling the wool over my eyes. We arrived in Pondicherry where we intended on visiting an alternative settlement called Auroville located some 10 kms out.

As always we searched the surrounding districts for accommodation that backpackers had recommended and settled for a guest house with some 100 rooms, which we were amazed at. This was a massive hotel and located right in the middle of the main street close to transportation and food. Two pluses in our eyes and the rooms where some what middle range on our comfort scale.

We went through the usual check in procedures and handed over our passports for safe keeping and security for the room, along with full payment for one nights accommodation. I only ever pay for one night and there is a good reason to never pay up front for a number of nights in the one place… and you will find out why.

Earlier upon check in we were shown a room that seemed quite nice.  We were happy with the bed, bathroom and security bars on all windows. It even had a small satellite television which sometimes in a nice change for us. Bonus!

However, when we walked up the 4 flights of stairs, we walked directly past the room we had been shown earlier.  I questioned the worker as to where he was taking us and motioned down the hall to a different room. In broken English he told us that the room we had seen eariler was already booked.

Ok, no problem right? Wrong.

He opened the door to a new room and before we could even say thank you, he had shut the door and disappeared down the hallway. We looked around and saw that this room pretty grimy and we heard water running from the bathroom. Not just a few drops of water, the entire shower head was broken off and water was flowing freely!

Elise and I both attempted to turn off the taps and shut the water off, but after several minutes and confused looks, we were defeated by the shower. We lay on our bed and looked around at the differences of the room that we had been shown before and the room we were now in. I tried to imagine sleeping with the sound of falling water on tiles. If you are aware of the ancient asian water torture, this was the kind of night that we were in for.  We were sure to be kept awake for hours. We tried ear plugs as well but the sound was over whelming and it was Dolby Stereo Surround sound inside my head.

After being in the room for no more than 20 minutes or so we discussed what to do. Both being so tired we couldn’t be bothered looking for another hotel, but we had to change rooms. Besides, there were so many rooms here there had to be another one free!

I went downstairs and asked if our room could be checked for the leaky pipe or could we be moved to another room that was like the one we were shown on arrival. The two men discussed a few things in Hindi which I was now beginning to understand a little and then motioned to me that they were cleaning a room and we could move to that room in 5 minutes. Perfect! I ran back up the steps not realising how unfit I had become travelling for all this time and entered our room gasping for air. Elise was extremely happy to be moving into a fresh hopefully water dripping free room.

10 minutes passed and then 15 minutes and finally 20 minutes passed. I am extremely patient and traveling has taught me that in developing countries time is not an issue. People will get around to things when they are ready no matter how much you ask. Upon waiting half an hour I wandered back down to find out what was going on and if we could move across to the new room. One of the gentleman walked back upstairs with me and checked on the room and agreed to move our things across and opened the door of our new room. This guy seemed a little unusual and smiling a little to much for my liking. I just put it down to a few too many beers at lunch and he was a just merry.

He offered to help us with our bags and I insisted that we were OK to carry our own belogings. We then went back and forth carrying out our packs and swapping into a room that looked identical to the one we saw initially upon arrival. I looked around and I finally saw what I intended on paying for in the first place. Now I was happy and I jumped on the bed tried to see if the TV worked and if there were any channels in English.

Our door remained open and the man motioned Elise back in the old room like she had forgotten something. I guess she must have forgotten her shoes or something on the floor. But then I heard something about the shower head and that he was telling Elise that it was fine. This struck me as unusual that he needed to tell her, even though we had now checked into the new room. Then, there was no more voices coming from the room. I decided to get up after a minute or two and check out what was going on in our previous room next door. In the time I walked out into the hallway to go into the old room, Elise burst out in a huff and I could see the worried distressed look in her eyes.

Indian men

Indian men with their wives

I asked her immediately if everything was OK and what was going on.  She seemed to have frozen and couldn’t talk. I asked her repeatedly what was going on she eventually murmured that the guy had cornered her in the room, held her against the wall and was trying to kiss her. She started to shake and cry when I asked her again, to reaffirm I was hearing her right and as I did I saw in my peripheral vision that the man was now starting to walk back down the stairs. I yelled at the top of my lungs for him to come back at which he crawled his way back to me and with his idiotic grin said that nothing had occurred. I was furious. I told him to go down stairs and I would be down in s moment. I then asked Elise to pack the few things we had and to lock her self in the room until I came back.

I went down stairs and demanded to have my money back and passports to the two men at the counter, one of them being the one that tried to forcefully kiss Elise. The other man tried to calm me down and I made it known what had occurred and the two of the men exchanged looks and talked then started laughing.

I challenged the man with the stupid grin on his face who earlier had cornered Elise in the room. At this point I had been thinking why I had allowed Elise to be in such a situation, but I had only left her for such a small time. It was all happening so quickly now and nothing was getting resolved. I asked the man if he thought it is OK to treat women the way he did. I asked him if he would treat an Indian women in this way. He continued to grin at me and then began laughing in my face.

Indian Woman

Local Indian Woman

That pushed me over the edge.

I walked around the counter grabbed the guy by the shirt and connected two punches with the side of his face and his jaw.

To get some perspective, I am not a fighter and this was only the second time I had ever hit another human. The anger inside of me was too much and I was running on adrenaline and nothing could stop me now. I demanded I have my money back and that we were checking out. The other man fumbled under the table and presented me with my money and passport immediately.

Shit, when I think back now I hated how I acted.

I now had to go back up stairs and retrieve Elise and our belongings and come back down to check out. Upon running up the stairs I prepared myself for the worse case senerio when we arrived back down. What if he had now called all his co-workers to defend himself and I would be terribly out numbered? Like I said I am not a fighter and I can hold my own, but to face 3 or 4 people at once?  I was beginning to fear what would be waiting for me at the bottom of the stairs.

Luckily when we went to leave our key, the entire lobby area had been vacated and the man that I had struck had all but disappeared. I was still on guard and I continued to make it known that I was pissed off at the lack of respect for my fiancee and what had occurred.

We motioned for a rickshaw and got the hell out of there. I still looked around to see if anyone was following us or if we would still be in trouble. My primal concern is always to protect Elise and when that was breached I guess I just snapped. I think that I made the wrong decision in striking the man, but he made me so angry with having no remorse or any apology for what he had done.

In India Elise was constantly having her photos taken by men, most of the time she didn’t mind, but it was the sneaky photos on their mobile phones or the calls of ‘Hey you want sex?’ that became draining for both her and myself. I can only imagine how much worse it would have been if she wasn’t dressed so modestly all the time.

The thing that really gets to me is, many of these men wouldn’t dream of speaking or talking to Indian women like they do to Western women. I am ashamed of not controlling my anger, but like I said this is the second time I have hit someone and the other was when my cousin was in danger and once again felt I needed to protect him. I always want to look out for the ones I love.

What have you done to protect a family member, or have you had similar troubles in India?

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54 Responses to A Bit Of Respect Please!

  1. Wow…this is really awful. So sorry to hear that you both went through this. I have not been to India…hope to go someday…but have heard some stories (not quite like this) that make me hesitate sometimes. Sounds like super annoying hassles and scams are way too common.

    I was in a situation once, in a laundromat in Rome, where I had a Bangladeshi guy and his cousin looking at me suggestively. It was late at night and just me and them somehow (people had just sort of cleared out). I somehow got trapped in there (one stood blocking the door) and it was a bad section of town. Fortunately, I figured out to escape.

    Anyway, I can totally understand your reaction to what happened. It was very upsetting…what they/he did was simply wrong. I think that, had I been in your shoes, I would have done the same thing.

    • Anthony Reply

      Sorry to hear about you ordeal in Rome Lisa. It just seems to be a common thing in that part of the world and the lack of respect for women is disgusting . It is a shame that this cycle can’t be broken as women have always been treated this way for many years. I am not proud of what I did, as I would never intend to harm another person. Something happens when someone close to me is in harms way, I snap and turn into the incredible hunk or something. Same thing happened when my cousin was in trouble a few years back. I guess I just like to protect the people that are close to me.

  2. Ugh! I felt sick reading this. I am an anti-violence kind of gal, but in this situation I can totally understand how emotions can get the best of someone (in this case, Ant). I’ve never been to India, or anywhere where I have experienced this kind of treatment but it saddens me deeply that it exists.

    So sorry that you had to be put in that awful situation! Glad to hear you’re both safe & can continue on your inspiring journey. xo

    • Anthony Reply

      I am not into violence either and would much rather deal with problems by talking about it. It just disgusted me how he showed no remorse that he had frighten Elise. He had clearly over stepped the line and any moral person understands when they are doing something they shouldn’t be. Now I am not speaking for all Indian men, but generally I have found that they have a huge lack of respect for women and I know it is ingrained in their culture, but that is no excuse. I think deep down you know when you are treating another human with respect, whether you are male or female. I don’t condoned my behaviour, but my emotions just got the better of me and I am just as much responsible for that as well.

  3. Hi Anthony,

    Firstly, great article, it’s great to speak your mind and be able to tell other people what happened so that they may be able to be on their guard when travelling in such a place. I just wanted to let you know that I can totally understand why you lashed out at that rude and abusive guy. Also, I have let my friends know about your website as I love reading Aussie travel blogs. You guys do a great job, and I always find your stories interesting and a little different to what I read in other blogs about travel. Keep up the great work and happy travelling in the future,


    • Anthony Reply

      So glad that you love reading our articles about our adventures and sometimes our misadventures. It is always great to hear that we are inspiring others and we value your feedback! We can’t thank you enough for spreading the word to your friends about Positive World Travel! If you have any questions we are more that happy for you to connect with us :)

  4. Dude, don’t feel bad. You did what you had to get the passport back, let it be known that you weren’t happy with what he did and I bet you hands down he was glad you punched him 2x then for you to call the police and get the beating they would have given him.

    As a tourist in India, I’m glad you did it. I was once on a train trip with a group and a girl from the UK was laying out on a bench sleeping while the rest of us were in the next section over talking. The train started to get full and I didn’t think much of it until the girl came over and sat with us with a dreadful look on her face.

    We asked what was the deal and she didn’t want to say but he finally got her to tell us. While she was laying there, some Indian guy sat next to her and grab her boob. One of the guys in our group was Skiek and he got up, walked around the corner, grabbed the guy and them him off the train while it was still moving. Guess what, no one said a word to him about it. Indians don’t let it happen, why should a tourist?

    • Anthony Reply

      I guess I feel bad only for harming another person, as it is not in my nature to do that. I can’t believe that he just threw him of the train and no one even batted an eyelid. I guess sometimes it is a minority of Indian men that have the lack of respect for women. I always think that they would never treat an Indian women in that way so why do they treat western women that way? Sometimes they see western women as pieces of meat and nothing else. Sad really.

      • Ann Reply

        Hi Anthony. I just read your article and I am sorry that happened to you and Elise. I have Indian friends and they say it’s a common occurrence in India and not only restricted to western women.
        Yes, it really is sad.

        • Yes it is sad. Wish that it didn’t happen but it is cultural difference and men just need to respect women as equals. My personal opinion.

  5. :( I still can’t believe this happened – and so blatantly while you were in the next room, Ant! To be honest I was expecting something like this to happen the entire time I was in India (and was pleasantly surprised when it didn’t) – it’s really not an uncommon occurrence, unfortunately and so many girls I have spoken to have had similar experiences.

    You should YouTube some advertisements Aamir Khan (my favourite Bollywood actor) filmed about respecting foreign women in India – they’re pretty funny but it’s quite sad that television advertisements are needed to try and curb that sort of behaviour!

    • Anthony Reply

      I can’t believe that they need major advertising to get the message across. At least the government notices that this is a huge problem and something needs to be done about it. Obviously it is not good for tourism and most women that I have spoken to that have been to India, seem to tell similar stories. Guess you were lucky that nothing like this happened to you when you were there. Don’t get me wrong, I love India and I will most definitely will go back some day, but I think I will have a hard time convincing Elise to come.

  6. Just the post got my blood pumping. How is Elise feeling?

    I’m sure it felt great to deck him. Are you ashamed because you didn’t control your anger or ashamed because hitting him could have put you guys in even more danger?

    Thanks for sharing.

    • Anthony Reply

      Elise was quite upset and shaken after the ordeal. I didn’t feel great to punch him, but the adrenaline got the better of me and before I new it I was hitting him. I usually am really good at controlling my anger and I get over things very quickly, but when it is someone related to me or someone I love something just snaps and I will to do anything to protect them. I really didn’t think about putting us in further danger until afterwards and it is not a position I would want to put us in again.

      • Ganesh Reply

        Hello, I am an Indian and I feel ashamed of being an Indian man after reading what you as a couple went through. Yes, you might feel disgusted because that incident got the worst out of you. But, in India, physical violence is an acceptable form of discipline and I think even your spouse should have tried physically resisting and beating.

  7. Don’t beat yourself up about it (oops no pun intended)

    It was an awful situation and you were defending your woman. They shouldn’t have done what they did.

    It’s just vile the way some men behave. Poor Elise, it would have been disgusting.

    Thankfully I have had no experience of this and I hope it stays that way. I am sure Craig would have done the same thing, and he isn’t a fighter either.

    • Anthony Reply

      I hope you don’t have to go through it ever either Caz and I am sure that Craig would do his best to keep you safe.

  8. Violence is not the answer, but that guy deserved it. Maybe you should have beat him up a bit more. I’m just playing, but that was disrespectful of him. It shouldn’t have happened in the first place. You did the right thing in defending Elise.

    • Anthony Reply

      I am not sure if it was the right thing as the right thing would of been not to let Elise go into the room with him. I just didn’t act fast enough after a long tired day of travelling. It is just sad that you always have to be on guard when in India for these types of things.

  9. it’s natural to feel ashamed for what you’re not accustomed to doing. inflicting pain and violence is an acquired taste. you should be proud that you didn’t take it further. reading this story kinda struck a chord withe me. I have a (white) american girlfriend and there was a group of toursit guys from india at the beach the same day we were. the entire time they were there they made absolutely sure to let her and i know that they were looking at her. i mean, i understand that guys are going to look at girls at the beach, but the way the guys were staring you’d have guessed they were just let out of prison.

    • Anthony Reply

      I know exactly what you are talking about. When we were at a beach in Goa, I left Elise on the sand to go for a swim. I returned to find 10 guys behind her with their cell phones trying to take pictures of her ven though she was in shorts and a t-shirt! It is a novelty at first to get your picture taken, but it soon wears off after every man you pass in the street holds up their cell phone and pretends they are texting but they are really taking photos of Elise as they walk by.

  10. Wow, I’m so sorry to hear about your experience in India, although I have to say it isn’t the first story I’ve heard about indian men making unwanted passes at western women. Cody and I will be travelling through India in March 2012, and I am so excited, but I would be lying if I said I wasn’t concerned about the same thing happening to me. I also believe in non violence but I don’t know if I could control myself if a man violated me. I hope you both enjoyed India more then it leaving a bad taste in your mouth.

  11. Yikes! That sounds like a scary situation. I hate violence, but I can understand why you got upset.

  12. I can only say that I would have been proud to have been traveling with you! I think you were absolutely right to punch the guy, especially because they were disrespecting you as well as Elise by laughing about it in front of you. I only hope it makes the guy think twice before he tries anything like that again.

    Personally I don’t think you should feel bad about the violence. It was necessary, as, sadly, it sometimes is. I even read something by the Dalai Lama recently where he admitted that there are times when it’s necessary to fight for what you believe in. Hope that makes you feel better about it.

    This has also made me wonder about going to India alone. I know I’m way past the age where I would worry about being pestered by men in the western world, yet I wonder if it’s the same there. Since yesterday I’ve been mulling over the possibility of a volunteer placement which is coming up, so it was good to put this info into the hat before I decide.

    • Anthony Reply

      Hey Linda, I would definitely go to India again and I would strongly recommend you go and experience it for yourself. I think everyone needs to go at least once in their lifetime as it is so far removed from the western world. Sure you will face some form of disrespect but as long as you are prepared for it you should be ok. I would take the volunteer placement, we were going to do the same in the North of India but we ran out of time. I still think I will go back one day to re-experience all the things I love and hate about India.

  13. First, we are so sorry the Indian male’s stifled and twisted libido put you in such an extreme and sickening situation.

    We also understand your violent reaction and your regret.

    Traveling as a couple through India we experienced the sneaky photo attack, plenty of “accidental” groping in crowded situations like train stations and leering and cat calling–despite very modest/appropriate dress.

    It did seem to us that the very sight of a non-Indian woman was too much for the Indian male to bear–operating as they are in a society that infantalizes them for life and forbids touching an Indian woman until marriage. The combination has created a society full of sexually frustrated men who also seem to beleive that their cultural sexual norms only apply to Indian women.

    All of other women, it seems, are fair game for their pubescent fumblings and infuriatingly idiotic grins.

    This is why the working title of our book about traveling through India is tentatively titled: “Leave Your Penis Alone.”

    We, too, regret some of the behavior their lack of respect sparked in us. More than that, we regret that a culture with so much beauty and wisdom can’t seem to figure out how to respect its own women or women from any other culture.

    • Preeti Reply


      I’m Indian and am truly ashamed of what white women have to endure while vacationing in India.

      I just wanted to tell you that Indian women are harrassed in far greater numbers and in many more ways than are white women.

      It is just that Indian women have learnt to protect vulnerable areas of their anatomy and can correctly interpret cultural signals.

      I do not have anwsers for why Indian men harrass women to such an extent. The large majority think that fondling and groping women or making sexual innuendos within earshot, is just harmless fun.

      Many Indian men have very limited social contact with women, both Indian and foreign and therefore, have very unreal notions of what women like or prefer.

      Finally, Indian society is extremely patriachal and male-dominated and men are raised to think that women exist to serve and please them.

      Many Indian men cannot relate to women as equals and peers and therefore tend to objectify them.


      • Anthony Reply

        I understand that there are extreme cultural differences between Indian men and western women. I do understand that they have been brought up differently with different customs and that they know no better. But what I don’t understand is that when a western man tells them that it is wrong to objectify women, they just laugh and don’t care to learn a different opinion. It is a shame that many western and Indian women have to go through this. Even the government see that is it a problem and are trying to do something about it.

  14. As my sisters tabla teacher said in broken English (mouth full of paan, of course), when they were discussing shitty things us travelers believe to be Indian culture: “Not culture. Just idiot.”

    Also, dressing conservatively (or, even better, like the locals) gets you a long way. But sadly, these things happen. Even I, a guy, have been groped in a crowd. I’m guessing he mistook me and my long blond hair for a luscious Scandinavian girl, or something. Then again, it was Diwali in Varanasi, so what can one expect.

  15. Wow! This is a terrible situation. I’m glad in the end you two are fine. This does worry me about going to India solo as a western woman. I never knew the men were so aggressive towards western woman! I’ve never been in ANY situation as a solo female where I felt threatened or disrespected by men.

    Thanks for the Article.

    • Anthony Reply

      India is a whole other bag of fish. It is a shame as it is bad for tourism and there are even television commercials telling men how they should treat women. Don’t let it discourage you as India is a country full of contrasts and I would still go back there without a second thought.

  16. hi there i am really very very sorry what you had experienced.i am also indian and i am agree most men see western women as a porn movie girl or like that its so shameful really.i really hate this kind assholes Indians who do this kinda things.but sure all are not same but most are like you said .i also felt shame and most time tried understand my ex wife about this indian guys behave but she was not understand.she is Austrian.we not more together in short i want just say that what happened with you it was very shameful act .and i am really felt sorry for you. it was something what was not must happened :(

    • Anthony Reply

      I understand the cultural differences and the reason for men acting in this way. But with access to internet and how the western world works means there is no excuse in treating women in this way. I am not happy of my actions, but I think I was frustrated and no men seemed to care of my concerns for Elise.

  17. Hi Anthony. I am an Aussie married to Indian man. We have been to India a couple of times. He said Indian men think all white women are easy because Indians have so much access these days to the Internet and see white women in pornography. Plus being in a stifled sexual culture adds fuel to this fire. You don’t need to feel guilty about punching. That by Indian standards is the correct thing to do. If a man is caught ‘eve teasing’ as it is called there, women and men are allowed and do beat the offending man up. Google it on You Tube. So a message to all you white girls traveling to India, the majority of Indians see you as porno star..no matter how much you try to cover up! I find a lot of Indian women look at me in a derogatory manner as well.

    • Anthony Reply

      Unfortunately that is the truth and exactly what we experienced in India. I still love India for many things and I plan on going back there. But Elise doesn’t share the same views and vows never to return. India is a place of many contrasts and I think that is the reason I continually get pulled towards this country. It is a shame that the men aren’t educated enough or this once sided culture isn’t evolving to meet the needs of Women. I guess it is hard to change 100′s of years of history.

  18. Hi Anthony and others in this thread who faced some sick people in India.

    I am really sorry to hear what you faced and you did a right thing by hitting that guy. I would do the same.

    I am an Indian, and I hope things change. And things will change only if more people speak against such behavior. And more interactions and tourism to this part of the world will mean better understanding of cultures, so I hope people do not stop traveling to India.

    Not all men there are like that. But there are many uneducated and mentally sick people who know western women or people not through interaction, but through movies, internet and other media.
    They think they will get away with it (because you are not local). Also, that it’s okay to advances.

    I wish I had a magic wand and could make every men a gentleman and teach them how to respect women and be nice to others, especially tourists. Sadly many people find difficult to be nice, and I find it difficult to understand.

    Again, I am very sorry. I feel bad hearing these stories.

    • Anthony Reply

      Don’t feel bad, as you have done nothing wrong. It was the actions of this individual and a snap decision by me at the time. It will take time for the difference in culture to align.

  19. Hi Anthony,
    I am sorry to hear about your experience in India. I am an Indian but currently not residing in the country.I have often noticed Indian men looking at western tourists with as I wud call ‘lustful’ eyes. But I strongly believe the root cause of this problem is illiteracy. Thankfully the change doesnt seem so far away. May be you’ve heard about it, but the recent rape case in the capital has enraged the people of India and especially the youth who want an immidiate change in the mindset of the section of the society who think women are toys to play with. India is a vast country and the behaviour varies from place to place. Hopefully one can expect not to expect behaviour such as the one you encountered in the major cities. I hope India becomes a more tourist friendly place soon. May be alot of people dont know this but in ancient Indian texts, there is a verse “Atithi Devo Bhavah” which means guest is god. It is also the tagline of the Ministry of tourism’s campaign to improve treatment of tourists. I hope people dont stop visiting this country of contrast.

    • Anthony Reply

      It is sad to hear of this rape, but I hope that the government is doing something in order to help change things. It will take a lot of time for an entire culture to change. India has so much to offer and it is a shame that it is always tainted by this. Every person I speak to about India has similar views about the mistreatment of Tourists. It is a shame as it would evolve into a big industry for India.

  20. I think you did fine. they need to learn thats not ok.

  21. also consider what might have happened to the next girl travelling alone

    • Anthony Reply

      Hopefully the guy may think twice before doing anything to the next girl.

  22. Bonnie Reply

    I’m sorry for Elise! Hope she is still confident in traveling! A new yoga teacher, two weeks from India, got lunch with me today. I just tried to be friendly to a newcomer to Washington DC. Within five minutes after I told him I was engaged to be married, he was saying how I’m sexy and other vulgar things. I tried to politely steer the conversation but after 20 minutes I left.
    Last month the DC metro express highlighted the issue of harrassment against native women in India. I traveled there when I was 13 with my mom and brother. The attention was obnoxious, but I was distracted and naive.

    • Elise is still confident in travelling. I think she doesn’t really have any urge to go back to India again. I think the change will be slow but hopefully through education the men will begin treating women as equals.

  23. Shubh Reply

    Hey Anthony,
    Sad and ashamed to hear your story. My country is indeed a beautiful land and its unfortunate that tourists have to face so much trouble due to these disgusting people.

    I think when visiting India,either solo or not, one should hire a tour guide or what you called volunteer for a better experience.It may be slightly costlier,but surely it will be worth it.Not only will they be better in dealing with these rascals,they can explain more about the history of the place etc. There are many websites where you can book your guides too.

    • Thanks for that advice Shubh. Maybe we should of done that and would not of got in the ordeal we did. We generally travel independently as we love the freedom of doing what we like.

  24. I am an Indian woman. Wanted to highlight that it is not a case against westerners or western woman alone.

    Many sections of Woman (single, separated, divorcee, widow, working woman, travellers, woman who dresses up, woman who has male friends, woman in public life, woman belonging to low-caste, tribal woman, celebrities, physically or mentally challenged,…….) get targeted by these morons. The target is any woman who willnot identify/implicate them or whose character/values can be questioned.

    For people wanting to travel in India, travel in a big group and be vigilant. When i attended camps during college days (some 15 yrs back), we even had night sentry and bathroom sentry. Same is the case when my mom attended camps 30 yrs back during her school days.

    • It is sad that it is this way. We only hope that education changes the way men act towards women in general. I still would like to revisit India, but it is a shame that Elise will never return.

  25. I am sorry Anthony and Elise.
    I feel shame to say im an indian women.
    India is a hell, for EVERY WOMAN.
    Indian or Foreigner
    Married or Single
    Young or old
    I am sorry and I apologise on his behalf

    • No reason for you to apologise. It is India and it will take time for this to change. We understand the cultural differences and the more India is influenced by the west the more there will be a shift in the treatment of women.

  26. Oh my God… I’m so sorry to hear that you experiences this! Sounds terrible. I think you did the right thing… I have no respect for men who treat women this way!

    How do you view India after this? I mean, I think I would feel very uncomfortable there if something like this happened… :( Poor you!

    I’ve experienced somewhat the same in Turkey. I was there with a friend (a girl), and when we started recieving love letters from random guys IN OUR ROOM while we were out at dat, we just freaked out and complained to the hotel owner. But really, they could enter the room… Creepy.

    I just had an awful time, just thinking how they could really hurt us and how fragile we are as women. :(

    I prefer travelling in safer countries where most men have the respect for us women that we deserve.

    Hope you won’t experience something like this again! Give my best to Elise.

  27. It is extremely distressing to hear your experience. I am an Indian . I have heard and seen worse. While the government tries to tackle a million other problems, it is the attitude of Indian men that has to change. A lot of us are hypocrites and chauvinists. Even the so-called educated ones have notions that are alarming.

    I cannot offer you any advise other than to travel India with a trusted native traveller who knows the place around. Though the general mentality of Indian men still suffer from ancient convictions of male domination, there are good people too! Hope you don’t hate the country, I wouldn’t blame you, if you did!

  28. Sexism and indecent assault does happen everywhere. Unfortunately it’s hard to achieve rapid generational change in any country.

    As an Australian born/bred person of Indian descent, I can’t name one Indian girl I know that hasn’t been indecently assaulted at least once in their life while visiting/living in India while just going about their daily errands and seeking no trouble.

    It’s so common and there is little anyone can do about it. Women are also mistreated in their homes as there are so many expectations on them in terms of each aspect of their life and every single activity they are expected to do from waking to sleeping to their facial expressions, posture, hair, how they sit talk walk, think and do. I only stayed with a family for 3 weeks – but by the end – I had stopped singing and dancing (the two things I love doing regularly in Australia because I love music and it makes me happy) – it was suffocating and depressing to be a woman there though I did my best to try to do all the expected things. Regardless of my good disposition, helpfulness and modesty, I was still treated as an inferior “foreigner”.

    It will take hundreds of years to change such an overtly sexist/racist culture. In countries like Australia, sexism/racism is still present but more unconscious bias than overtly evident ie usually incident-free when going to the supermarket, jogging in the park, going to work etc.

    It is also considered conservative culturally here, but this is likely to also improve much faster than can be achieved in India.

    Unfortunately older women in India do not necessarily help the situation by perpetuating the mistreatment of younger women and elevating younger men to a higher status than their female peers.

  29. Dear Anthony, I am an Indian women and I am so sorry to hear what happened to Elise while u were in India. I do really love and respect my country. I was raised in a family where my dad (who is an Indian man obviously) is the most wonderfull person I hav ever known. Now I am very lucky to have a wonderfull husband as well. So I just want to tell u all Indian men are not bad.i am originally from Kerala .and now I am staying with my husband in Mumbai.it has been 6 months since I came here. In this six months I had two bad experience while travelling back and forth from my clinic.one was a man tried to grab me from behind when I was climbing steps in railway station.its so crowded that u won’t even know who did it. I shouted at him when he ran away. Other was 1 week before when an auto driver stopped next to me and asked me how to go to western high way .i was explaining and he started to open his pants.luckilly I saw in time and ran away before he did anything else. I noted the auto number and informed police and he is not caught until. I was shocked and scared because two months back a journalist was gang raped in this city. I felt like I hated men. Most of the problem arises from the poor upbringing of men in certain areas of India. Where people are not educated ,where child marriage,female foeticide and dowri killings still occur. To be frank in some regions of India a girl child is lucky to be born ,and even luckier if she survives. I hope it will change , I know it’s changing. India is a hugely populated country and it will take time for it to change. And change is inevitable… I hope u and Elise visits my country again. And have only pleasant experiences next time.

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