No Shout, No Change
I am originally a Korean, currently residing in Delhi, which is known as the crime capital of India. The reason I am writing this story, which is just a delight living story, is to share with you regarding my experience and concerns regarding living in Delhi as a woman.
A couple of years ago, I was walking down the older part of Delhi in a crowded market place. I was new to Delhi, and was trying to enjoy the city when a man walked up from behind me and pinched my butt by reaching under the heavy coat I was wearing. Shocked, I started to shout at him while running after him as he ran away. Noticing us, someone caught him and waited for me to catch up. Considering I did not know how the speak the local language, Hindi, I was trying my best to communicate what had happened. While people were focused on me, trying to understand what I was saying, the man saw this as an opportunity and ran away. Later, when I recounted these events to a friend that had lived in India for 7 years, she told me that no women in India would shout at a man in those circumstances, and that she was shocked not only at the fact that I had done so, but that someone had actually stopped the person that was running away from me.
The point of what I am trying to share is that it is expected that women are not supposed to voice out their anger and shock during those circumstances. They are expected to fall to the ground and start crying. As such, people would not be able to help these women like the man who stopped him, but just pass by, pitying these women. The reason we are expected to do so is because we are expected to feel shameful of what we had just experience, and are expected to try and cover up the incident out of shame even if we are feeling anger and rage. So, as a woman living in Delhi, I joined a group for friend that was lead by Jonathan Abraham (a man living in Delhi) and stared a campaign titled, “I am Corrupt and Change Starts with Me!” In fact, this campaign was for well-known Gang rape victim, and we shouted “A CHANGE” because there is nothing different after emerging that incident. I believe the important thing is that we need to change the perception and consciousness that BOTH women and men have. (reference and Photos from CNN,
I feel as if Delhi has two sides. In the day time, there are no deserted places. Every corner, even under the bridges and on roof tops, you will find many people. But once the darkness sets in, there are a lot of deserted and sinister places. In other words, night time, after 8 P.M. is not into my scheduling.
I currently own an electric scooter here. It is extremely convenient and helps my everyday life. Not only does it help me getting around, but it is helpful as I am able to get around in the evenings as well because there is no need to meet any guys as like a auto-ricksha guy, a taxi guy. If it were not for this scooter, I would have had to have a male escort in the evenings when trying to ride a taxi or taking any other kind of public transportation. Whenever I am out of my house after 10 P.M., my friends always want to make sure I tell them where I am. Ideally, if it is too late (past 10 P.M.), they even make me promise them that I will sleep over and go home the next morning rather than going home alone even if I am on my scooter. It is generally believed that it is not safe for women to travel in the evenings, once the sun has gone down. There was a time when I had to go to the airport to catch a 2:00 A.M. flight. To make sure I was being safe, I had to call a taxi at 6:00 P.M. the day before. In another words, I was at the airport 7 hours before my flight was due to take-off. I was extremely bored because there was only one coffee shop at the airport that was open, but then again, precautions had to be taken. I learned that there were taxi services specifically for women in India when i was flipping this research contributions. If I had known about it earlier, I needn’t have gone to the airport so early.
Do you have any ideas on how to live securely in India as a woman? Some of you think it is not a big deal. But, I feel a little inconvenience and I don’t want to doubt everyone who I meet in the evenings.
I am here to participate in this project as a designer.
However, I would like to make myself available as an interviewee as a woman living in India. Should you have any questions for me or my friends (Indians), feel free to ask us anything.