An Indian student was denied an internship because of the rapes and the idea that Indian society allows them to go on for such a long time. (See an account here) Obviously, let’s outrage about the racism. But should that be at the cost of safety?
And now hear this. I have never liked Delhi, despite having been born there and having visited my relatives there almost every year. I tend to be much more cautious around men who have grown up in Delhi, an attitude that gets me a lot of flak from the people in my life. I might go so far as to say that I’m reluctant to date or become friends with a man who has grown up in this city.
My reasoning is this — Delhi men grow up in a culture that routinely victimises & objectifies women and glorifies the macho male oppressor behaviour. I know this from firsthand experience of the people I know from that city, from what they tell me about it as well as how they behave around women. While I know many men will probably rise above that, I have no easy way of knowing which of them do. I can only do this by trusting blindly that they are ‘just like other men’ and the only way I will discover if they are not is when I have a bad experience. What do I owe these men that I should take that chance?
I also know that other parts of this country, including my own, also see crimes against women. But just because my home is imperfect, does not minimise Delhi’s crimes against women. It’s possible that Delhi’s violent crimes are just a better-reported statistic than others. But based on information that I have (first and secondhand), I make an assessment about a large group of human beings. I have to do so because I do not have the time, energy and bandwidth to examine each person’s motives and inclinations. I also think the risk of being wrong far outweighs the fact that it might be a very small chance of being wrong.
Why should I be ashamed to protect myself? The crimes being perpetrated deserve an apology to the entire female population and we know that’s not exactly soon in coming. This is a choice I make because my safety is at stake and that is more important to me than a strange man’s right to my positive acceptance. Funny how people think that attacking my self-protective stance is more important than tackling the reasons I have to protect myself.
Now tell me why I’m different from that German professor.