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Sharing a book: "Enjoy India: Women's Safety" written by J.D. Viharini

This is a book for visitors to India, which fully explains the culture factors relating to the women's safety along with some practical tips for minimizing and deflecting the sexual harassment .

Photo of Tianyuan (Taya) Hu
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This is a small book, which only has 80 pages. It starts to talk about "the Indian Men", which discusses the general mindset of Indian men and how they conduct themselves. It highlights the issue of the very different cultural context in India compared to less conservative parts of the world, which travelers need to be aware of and adjust their behavior to accordingly. This includes standards of dress and interaction between the sexes. It also mentions the sense of entitlement that many Indian men have to do whatever they like with women, and the promiscuous way that foreign women are portrayed in the media.The book continues with chapters on the nuances of Indian culture (including honor and respect), the essentials of safety and prevention in India (including many important tips on how to act and interact), and what to wear. Interestingly, the author states that while researching the book, she "spoke with many women about their experiences with Indian men. Those who did not respect the Indian standards of dress almost invariably reported far more problems with harassment."

The advice on dealing with harassment is especially useful because the fact is that many foreign women simply don't know how to respond to sexual harassment from men in India. They will often be shocked, ignore it, or treat it lightly and laugh it off. Speaking from experience, this is definitely not the best way to handle it though, and the book confirms this. Indian men do not expect a lot of resistance and will tend to target women who look helpless.

What surprised me most is that the author mentioned movies everywhere include a significant amount of sex. This manner definitely gives the impression that women are generally amenable. The Bollywood movies are the example. " Bollywood story lines depict the hero teasing and harrasing his leading lady until she marries him and they live happily ever after." The author said. What are the guys, especially the uneducated rural area men,  suppose to think? It gives them the idea that this is the way the women should be treated, isn't it? Or this is the way the women want to be treated. There is a blunt truth that the media leads to the culture. I believed the educated men hardly can be influenced in this way. Unfortunately, most low income area Indian men are not so well educated.

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Photo of Anne-Laure Fayard

Interesting share Taya.

It highlights in particular the role of popular culture like Bollywood. You might want to build upon a few other posts in that direction:
http://www.openideo.com/challenge/womens-safety/research/soap-operas-and-their-effect-in-our-society
http://www.openideo.com/challenge/womens-safety/research/real-life-tabloids
http://www.openideo.com/challenge/womens-safety/research/raising-awareness-popular-culture-avenues-for-kids
http://www.openideo.com/challenge/womens-safety/research/novela-novela-the-story-of-how-nicaraguan-feminists-fused-human-rights-with-popular-culture-to-create-one-of-nicaragua-s-most-popular-telenovelas

The content of the book itself reminded me of a video posted by Daniel:
http://www.openideo.com/challenge/womens-safety/research/news-to-increase-awareness