“In unison, everyone agreed that asking her out was outraging her modesty…”

So here’s a young man who thinks ‘Women have too much power in the system.’ He seems to believe that getting a man arrested for asking them out is empowering for women.
Do you agree with him? How does any action that makes it difficult for women to choose their own partners, empower them?
Who do you think is being empowered here? What is being reinforced? Who is controlling? Who is being controlled?
Anon User’s post on Quora, was in answer to : ‘Why is it difficult to date an Indian girl in general?’Please do take a look at, ‘I was arrested for talking to an Indian woman. (Link shared by Ashwathy) 
Anon User posted about his experience when he had gone, with his mother, to see a medical specialist. While he was waiting, he saw this doctor who he thought looked nice, he thought they had ‘a good eye contact’ and decided to approach her.
Now in his words,
“… she got out of her room and walked towards the stairs. I followed her, and basically asked her to stop.
Me: Stop
She: Yes?
Me: We should get together this weekend.
Her: Why?
Me: We’ll have fun. Maybe get a cup of coffee or something!
Her: Get lost…
I walked away and sat down on the sofa, waiting for my Mom to come back. In a few minutes, the chief of security asked me to step into his office. I went there. The woman had apparently complained that I had harassed her.
Her boss, the senior doctor (SD) was also there.
SD: What did you say to her?
Me: To who?
SD: To her… (pointing to her)
Me: What’s it to you?
SD: I’ll tell what it is to me you punk. I’ll call the cops.
Me: I merely asked her out, she said no, and I walked away.
SD: (To his security staff) Don’t let him go.
So I went back and sat on my chair.
In a couple minutes, my Mom stepped into the room, and signaled that she was ready to leave. We left, but since my knees were hurting, I didn’t walk fast. In less than 30 seconds, almost 30 security people surrounded me, four or five jumped me, and forcefully dragged me back in.”

His mother started crying and pleading. The police arrived. In his words:

“In unison, everyone agreed that asking her out was outraging her modesty, and that I had been completely unethical. Moral policing is one of the hobbies of Delhi police anyway, and seemingly that of every Indian who can speak.

Finally, the husband arrived.”

[Please note: For many Indians, the offended party here is the husband.]

‘He walked up to me and slapped me right on my ear without hearing a word. The police didn’t do anything to stop him, and I had to reason with him with statements like, “Look, I didn’t touch her” and “I didn’t mean any disrespect” and “I didn’t know she was married.” He didn’t calm down.’

According to the anon user, an FIR was filed, and he was arrested and had to ‘pay a good amount of money to a lawyer to arrange bail’. His family, like everybody else, believes he has ‘a criminal mind’. He further says,

“I have decided never to approach women anymore… at least as long as I am in India… Even if it means that I don’t ever get laid again. Women have too much power in the system.”

And:

“…the husband of that woman slapped me in full public view and with cops looking but never interfering. That’s true.

What is also true is that the father of this woman issued a death threat to me, again in full public view, and in front of all these cops. He said, “I will cut your head into two pieces. I will slice your throat. I am saying this in front of the police, and I am not afraid.”

Yeah… so asking a woman out is a crime, but hitting a man, or issuing a death threat, in full public view, in front of the cops, with CCTV monitoring all around is not!

Understandable. NOT.” …

Anon User ends with:
“I am all for gender equality. But somewhere along the line, we (as a nation, or at least as a city) seem to have confused the abolishment of misogyny with promotion of misandry.This is pure misandry.”
Do you see this as ‘pure misandry’?
Or is this an example of how Patriarchy works?
Do you think Anon User was wrong to approach the woman?
Why do you think did the woman react the way she did?
Would you say it is really difficult to ask an Indian woman out? Why is that so? Who does this empower?
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92 thoughts on ““In unison, everyone agreed that asking her out was outraging her modesty…”

  1. I do think that it was an example of how Patriarchy works. Women have too much power in the system, ha! That’s why this woman had to get her husband and father to slap and threaten the man, because she is so powerful. They are all playing the typical roles – she the hapless woman in need of protection from predators, her male family, the role of protectors.

    That said, I do think what he did was inappropriate. Randomly going up to a doctor in a hospital, his opening line, and the way he said it, is not appropriate behaviour. When men do this sort of thing to any of us in the street in India, using vernacular languages, we consider it harassment. Maybe this woman had been the target of many such lines and was tired of it. I do think the reaction was over the top though, and downright illegal, though clearly the cops didn’t think so.

    I am quite amused with his dramatic pronouncement at the end, though what he went through is harrowing.

    • Agreed. I think the woman probably got offended because a. he used a phrase which she may have misinterpreted in a sexual way (even if he intended it to be entirely harmless), and b. because he approached while she was still in her workplace and professional role.

      What next happened to him is totally unacceptable.
      That being said,maybe he should try finding few situation-appropriate pick up lines that are clearer about intent, in an Indian context. It’s tricky, because we’ve been so conditioned to accept that male strangers are untrustworthy/sleazy until otherwise proved.

        • with Indian men its not the end always .who knows he will be waiting outside the hospital with acid bottle or a van full of 10 ppl to pick and rape her. It’s Delhi where men dn’t understand NO.

  2. I don’t think it is wrong to approach a woman, but there is a way to it.

    Here is where I feel the man was wrong, my comments in brackets)

    Me: Stop (who are you to order her like this? Ever heard of phrases like ‘Excuse me’?)
    She: Yes?
    Me: We should get together this weekend.( This is how you talk? Does her opinion even matter? I guess you think because you are a man, you can decide on whom you wanna spend your weekends with without even knowing the other person! Could you not be a gentleman and introduce yourself, complement her, ASK her if she would like to know you better?)
    Her: Why?
    Me: We’ll have fun. Maybe get a cup of coffee or something! (Again, you will decide that two of you will have fun? What about her??)
    Her: Get lost…

    • Even so, the woman’s response (or rather, that of her boss and husband) wasn’t exactly proportionate to the man’s actions.

      I can understand the woman feeling threatened, but you cannot just go and rough up someone because you felt it was warranted.

      Also, I’d note that ‘we should get together this weekend’ means more or less the same thing as ‘why don’t we get together this weekend?’, in North American vernacular. It’s not a pronouncement, but more of a question, and it’s a fairly common way of asking someone out on a date.

      Of course, he shouldn’t even have tried that on his doctor (who will generally not get romantically involved patients as a rule, even in the West), especially in India, and especially when he didn’t know her marital status.

      I’m also guessing that the ‘we’ll have fun’ thing was taken as a sexual reference by the good doctor (because that is what it sometimes means in India), which obviously caused a lot of unintended offense.

      • It’s not a pronouncement, but more of a question, and it’s a fairly common way of asking someone out on a date.

        Of course, this is not to say that it was appropriate in the situation.

        Unless you are at a seedy bar, the phrase is normally used only when you know a little bit about the person you are using it on.

        • I think the guy’s opening lines were disrespectful, presumptuous and tacky to say the least.

          The right way when approaching a woman you are interested in, but know nothing about (beyond your own ideas of ‘good eye contact’), is to be cautious, respectful and never ever assume that your feelings are reciprocated the same way. Which means you ‘ask’, you do not state what you’d like to do and you definitely do not order the woman around (‘Stop’ ? Seriously ?). This is especially significant in India where the Western language of courtship does not quite apply the same way.

          It’s way too tacky to jump straight into proposing a date. He could have started by introducing himself, having a polite conversation that indicated his awareness of her professional presence in the clinic, with respectful questions – not related to his romantic intentions at all. Who knows, that might have revealed that she has a husband. Her body language and conversation style would have indicated that she did not think about him the way that he was assuming she was. He could have been saved of all the embarrassment that followed.

          Based on the doctor’s cultural background, it’s not unusual that she may have felt uneasy about his approach and decided to report it. The matter should have stopped after he was reprimanded by the hospital’s staff and he apologized.

          I wish the cops and other people in charge of security would show their zeal towards handling far worse crap that women face daily on the streets from lecherous men (vulgar comments, groping, stalking etc.)

    • “We should spend the weekend together” would be an unwelcome approach from a strange man to most women in most cultures. In India it’s a downright insult. If this man doesn’t know this, he’s going to get into a lot more trouble than he described.

      • Jeanne, as PT clarifed, the man said, “We should get together this weekend” and not, “We should spend the weekend together”.

        His opening gambit was inappropriate, but not deliberately offensive.

        • Great. If a strange man approaches me in a public place next time and asks to get together on the weekend, I will suppress my rage and remember that he just doesn’t know how to ask.

          BTW, I posed this request as a scenario to my husband, the most liberal of men, and asked him what he expected a woman’s response to be. He said she would probably slap the man.

        • I should clarify that the scenario I posed to my husband was a request made to an Indian woman in an Indian city. I believe his response and my reactions show that we are not yet culturally at a point where a STRANGE man can make such an open advance to a woman in India and not get into serious trouble.

        • Great. If a strange man approaches me in a public place next time and asks to get together on the weekend, I will suppress my rage and remember that he just doesn’t know how to ask.

          Now, you’re exaggerating and putting things out of context.

          In terms of perception, there is a huge difference between a random man who accosts you on the street, and someone who is an actual client of yours, and who you have spoken with just minutes earlier in a professional context.

          While the latter isn’t likely to be particularly well-acquainted with you either, he is far from a ‘strange man’ who approaches you in a public place and asks you to get together with him on the weekend. It’s more than a little ridiculous to compare the two.

  3. @dhwanis

    ‘Could you not be a gentleman and introduce yourself, complement her………’

    Isn’t that too much to ask for from a man? The concept of a gentleman braving it all to honour his word made to a lady or open doors or stand up when she enters a room is an antiquated idea and doesn’t have any place in today’s age.

    Such acts of servitude by the gentlemen have fallen out of fashion; manners & etiquette as between equals are preferred now.

    • You’re confusing chivalry with politeness and good manners.

      Chivalry is dead, good manners and courtesy are not.

        • So women demanding equality or any other marginalized group demanding equality would mean they do not deserve any courtesy or respect . what kind of logic is that?

      • @biwo

        I am not. I do realize the importance of good manners and courtesy and so I did state in my comment – forms of etiquette as between equals are preferred today.

        There is no use clinging on to the vestiges of a bygone era where a true gentleman always pays on the first date or showers the lady with flowers and jewels.

        It harms and disrespects both the man and the woman.

        • I agree Raghav.

          However, in the context of this particular case, it was ill-considered on the man’s part to open the conversation with, “We should get together this weekend”.

          Perhaps the woman found this opening line offensive. As Dhwanis suggested, a smile and a personal introduction would have prevented the ensuing misunderstanding.

          It’s well known that the genders misinterpret each other’s signals. Men may misinterpret mere friendliness as a sexual signal and women may misinterpret friendliness as a sexual advance.

          Still, this man was unjustly persecuted and deserves our sympathies.

    • @Raghav,: I would like to clarify here that by using the word gentleman i was by no means referring to the medieval concepts of gentleman and ladies..But as time passed Gentleman’s definition in urban dictionaries is something on the lines of: (n.) A man of calm demeanor, strong preserve, intellectual thinking, polite yet meaningful speak and a good upbringing. A fighter for the cause of right with words, not guns.

      Even I understand that it is unfair to expect a man to treat you like a delicate flower incapable of opening doors, and then asking why we are not being treated at par with them!!

      What I meant is that as a gentleman or a lady in current times should be polite and should have at least basic respect for each other.

      Hope it clears up the air!

      Cheers!

  4. Anybody who thinks that women have ‘too much power’ in the system is hopelessly deluded about the daily realities of life in a culture such as the Indian one.

    That said, if this is true, it does make for some disturbing reading.

    I think we can all agree that this wasn’t exactly the best way to ask out a woman, especially in a country which is deeply conservative (a fact known to the OP). Perhaps there are cultural differences at play here, or perhaps the OP simply did not pay much attention to the possibility of misunderstanding – whatever the reasons may be, I can certainly see how the solicitation might have been misconstrued by the doctor as an overtly sexual statement, intended to harass her.

    That said, there are really no excuses for the husband’s ludicrously overblown response. It was assault, plain and simple, and I am saddened (but not overly surprised) that the police condoned this crime. I also (literally) cringe every time I hear the phrase ‘outraged her modesty’. That a self-admittedly ‘cultured’ country should, in the 21st century, be using such a ridiculous euphemism in formal legal discourse beggars belief.

    Patriarchy hurts both men and women. It would seem that this man is yet another victim of it.

    I am sorry he had to go through all of that.

  5. You cannot walk up to a random woman and initiate the conversation with, “We should get together this weekend”.

    That may not be harrassment, but its definitely inappropriate. That wasn’t “asking her out”. That was TELLING her that she should go out with him!

    Doesn’t justify the horror he was put through of course. Considering this happened in the aftermath of the Delhi rape case, its classic case of knee-jerk scapegoating.

    People were looking for the bogeyman, and this man became him. Sad.

    • You cannot walk up to a random woman and initiate the conversation with, “We should get together this weekend”.

      We are going by merely words which is certainly misleading. Effect of words subject to how they have been put forth. So I am not in favour to judge this person as “not warranted”

      but at same time, why should a woman feel outraged for asking her out?
      She said no.
      was not it enough?

      and if her outrage ( to any level ) was justified.

      Should it be assumed that woman never date a stranger? and/or Stranger cant ask woman out??

      I see woman themselves are forcing patriarchy to play a vital role in deciding everything. Even a cup of coffee.

      • Mak, I am not paraphraing. I have read the Anon User’s account of the interaction that IHM has linked to.
        That’s the precise phrasing of the conversation.

        • Biwo,

          I am not pointing on you for paraphrasing. I meant,

          “Effect of words subject to how they have been put forth.”

          Dont you think so?

        • Mak, please read my comment carefully. I did not state that women should not go out with strange men. Neither did I say that the woman’s outrage was justified.

          If she felt outraged, then that’s her prerogative. You and I cannot decide who can feel outraged under which circumstances.

          Not sure what you’re objecting to, to be honest.

          As to the rest, it doesn’t matter how you or I interpret the opening line. The woman in question found it offensive and acted based on that premise.

          If you were in a similar situation and werent similarly offended, then that’s your call to make.

  6. A rather nasty mix, this situation. While I believe the guy he meant no harm, his way of addressing the woman in such a commanding way was definitely wrong. Had it happened to me, I would have wondered what kind of ego trip he is on, just telling me what he wants to do without trying to find out whether I even want his company. Still, to his credit, he accepted her refusal and did not follow her futher.

    However, the behaviour of the police, the husband and the father of the woman was totally uncalled for. The husband has no right to physically assault someone who, at its worst, adopted the wrong tone but neither did any harm to the woman nor stalked her further. The cops are supposed to protect people until they are proven guilty of a crime, so them allowing self-administered justice is outrageous. And the father should be held responsible for uttering death threats.

    My personal opinion:The guy in question had no idea how to address a woman without making her feel uncomfortable, maybe due to lack of regular interaction with girls. As for the cops, the father, the husband and the SD, I can imagine that due to the sexism debate they decided to show the world how serious they take “offences against the honour of women” and completely overstepped the mark. Apart from the simple fact that it was not about honour at all, but don’t even get me started on the subject of perceived honour and modesty…

  7. @biwo

    I had objection with a certain portion of the sentence.
    could you not be a gentleman & …………… complement her

    I don’t know if it was written with the intent of evoking a bit of an old-world charm (now again the use of ‘charm’ is questionable here) but this form of good manners seems to have a tinge of chivalry to it.

    This is like the olden days when the school girls at proms abroad demurely waiting for men to ask them out for a dance.
    And, thus came in the popular concept of Sadie Hawkins dance, wherein a girl could invite a guy of her choosing rather than sit & wait.

    • Well yes, I suppose the use of the phrase “gentleman” and “compliment” does allude to chivalry and rules of etiquette that are now defunct (thankfully). Agree with you there :)

  8. Of course the reaction to the writer’s action here was disproportionate ,but we mustn’t forget that in a social milieu like ours where women are constantly subjected to double-meaning words ,songs,gestures women generally are always on a high alert,and as Praveen and others pointed out the whole context in terms of a professional-client dynamics also proved to add fuel to the doctor’s feeling of intimidation in her own space.

  9. It’s obviously a fine line – when exactly does a person’s approach become threatening? And here a lot depends on the woman in question. Not all of them will react in the same way. While this guy clearly needs to learn a bit more about approaching women, what he did wasn’t prima facie wrong. Also any guy approaching a girl must be nervous if he doesn’t do it often and that might have contributed to his shoddy approach.

    As for the woman…she might have felt that it was expected of her to go and complain and make a fuss. I know nothing about her personally so this is all conjecture. Maybe she subconsciously used the situation to make herself feel better/important…or she felt genuinely threatened. I don’t know.

    The tough part is that in India, a girl being asked out can indeed be in danger. You read in the paper all the time about how repulsed goons go around throwing acid in women’s faces etc. What she did might have been the logical and rational move.

    Having said that and having approached a few women myself, the best approach is to seem completely non threatening. It’s easy for me cause in general I’m a very non threatening character :D . But others who don’t have the same good fortune might find it tough!

  10. There are 2 factors that have made the situation the way it is, according to me.

    1) Patriarchy
    Women – daughters/wife/sisters all need to be protected. Protecting them is the duty of man. And all good men must follow this. In this case, the woman was working as a doctor. As she didn’t ‘ask for it’ she had to be protected by the men around her.

    2) The attitude of taking law in one’s own hands being justified (due to a lack of trust in the system itself).
    If any actor, lead or side or comedian or an extra, can resort to violent language or actions when the women in their lives are harassed and is largely accepted by the audience, cases like this become ‘normal’. The people who resorted to unlawful language or actions in this case must only be feeling proud and smug for ‘having taught this guy a lesson’. What makes it creepy is that a large proportion of them were educated doctors.

    Having said that, one must realise this. Had I been in that woman’s shoes attending a wedding, in a party or a pub or in any social gathering, and had somebody hit on me, I would have either encouraged or refused them as it seems proper.

    But if a man decides to ask me out at work, be it a client or a colleague, or in this case a patient, it is not acceptable. This is what we call sexual harassment at work and that is a serious offence. Can it then be seen as modesty being outraged – why not?!

    • “Outraging a woman’s modesty” has Victorian connotations of women being asexual, angelic creatures whose modesty is their biggest virtue.

      Indian women bear the cross of “modest behavior” anyways. Talking to boys is immodest, having male friends is immodest, showing skin and wearing make-up is immodest, going for a drink with your colleagues is immodest. The list is endless.

      It would help everybody if antiquated notions of modesty and virtue were dispensed with. They only apply to women and are used to confine them not empower them.

      • I do agree to all that you say Biwo,and I am not an advocate of the theory of modesty at all. All I want to say with the last line is that if the woman holds the act as her modesty being outraged, for whatever reason, we can’t say it is correct or wrong. What is clearly wrong here is the way anon was treated. Everything else falls into ‘maybe’.

    • Can it then be seen as modesty being outraged – why not?!

      Ah, how I detest that phrase! I’m sure you don’t agree with the philosophy behind it but to me, it seems to imply that harassment is something that only ‘modest’ women need to be protected against, the immodest ones being fair game.

      In any case, the whole idea of ‘outraging a woman’s modesty’ revolves (at least from a legal viewpoint) around the alleged perpetrator’s intent to victimize a woman. I don’t see any such intent here.

      Also, from both a legal and moral point of view, there is a distinction to be made between offense and harassment.

      People ask colleagues out all the time! I’d say at least 30% of the people I know met their partners at workplaces. Considering the amount of time some of us spend at work, this really isn’t all that surprising.
      Simply asking out a colleague (as opposed to a subordinate in your own chain of command) is not typically considered sexual harassment in itself, unless coupled with unwelcome advances, gestures and/or contact of an explicitly sexual nature. Putting anon’s case under that category seems like a bit of a stretch to me.

      • PT I always value your input in this blog. In this case, I think you read too much into that one line. I don’t categorise women as being modest or immodest or anything else. If somebody thinks they are modest, they are, if not, they are not. Simple. And just to clarify, I don’t think women need to be protected. By anybody. We all, not just women, just need to feel safe as anybody else in a civil society with the law taking care of things.

        Yes, there is a heavy dose of Indian perception if modesty behind this situation, but if that’s how the woman feels, we can’t change that.

        What can be changed, hopefully, is the way people react to such situations.

        • PT I always value your input in this blog. In this case, I think you read too much into that one line. I don’t categorise women as being modest or immodest or anything else. If somebody thinks they are modest, they are, if not, they are not. Simple. And just to clarify, I don’t think women need to be protected. By anybody. We all, not just women, just need to feel safe as anybody else in a civil society with the law taking care of things.

          I’m sure you don’t categorize anyone that way. In case I failed to be clear about this: I am not accusing you of anything, but rather registering my disdain for the phrase ‘outraging her modesty’, and all that it stands for. I have valued your own insights just as much, and unless I am much mistaken, I’d say that you probably dislike the mindset behind the phrase too.

          Also, I suppose I should clarify that by ‘protection’, I mean legal protection (more appropriately termed legal remedy) to an assault on one’s rights, person and/or dignity – something that is fundamental to any civilized society.

          Yes, there is a heavy dose of Indian perception if modesty behind this situation, but if that’s how the woman feels, we can’t change that.

          I agree that we cannot, but I see no reason to let our own perceptions and responses be guided by so patriarchal a view.

        • “Yes, there is a heavy dose of Indian perception if modesty behind this situation, but if that’s how the woman feels, we can’t change that.”

          I think it’s safe to say that the woman probably felt threatened rather than feel her modesty was outraged. The rest of it, the cops surrounding this chap, the woman’s husband and father roughing him up and threatening him in turn, that is most definitely a product of the Indian perception of modesty (and its being outraged) as CR puts it.

          Purely from the POV of feeling threatened (and here the intentions of the person threatening matter less, possibly), I think the situation called for the woman doing something to protect herself, which in this case turned out to be her calling for help. We’ve got a long way to go before most women feel empowered enough to take on a harasser themselves without feeling like it could create even more trouble. Sure, it was a busy hospital and there were people around but in a country where women are harassed in the open daily, and it is ignored, she probably felt she wasn’t safe, open and busy hospital or not. I realise I’m banking on a lot of assumptions here but I’m putting myself in her shoes and trying to figure how that would feel. A random male who pretty much commands you to stop and then proceeds to ask you out in that fashion without any pleasant preliminaries is definitely going to be seen as a threat, and would be treated accordingly.

          This guy did get more than he deserved but it’s still appalling that his defense when confronted was “I did not touch her” and “I did not know she was married”. If that’s the kind of attitude anyone brings to what is supposed to be a flirtatious encounter then you can’t not expect trouble. Incidents like this only emphasise the need for free-er interactions between the sexes from an early age so that they learn to see each other as people and not ‘the mysterious other’ merely put on earth to be ‘married off’ and have sex but not nurture meaningful relationships involving being friends, having common interests or even being able to just have a conversation with each other.

  11. I’m very confused by this entire thing. From my viewpoint, everyone in the situation was wrong in some way, and I think this says more about the mentality of these people than anything else. Is their mentality directly related to their country or origin? Possibly, as it is the common denominator in this situation.

    The Guy was wrong because he takes this incident to be an “indicator that women have too much power in the system” rather than saying that it is completely illogical that:
    a. the police allowed the women’s husband to assault him.
    b. arrested him for simply for asking a woman on a date.
    c. that his family thinks he has a “criminal” mind

    The Doctor was wrong because:
    a. She freaked out over someone asking her on a simple date. I don’t understand her response. Is she not used to having a man ask her on a date? You simply say you are married, and then you move on.
    If this interaction between them happened exactly the way the guy said it did, I don’t see why she had reason to feel threatened to the point of getting security involved?

    The police were just wrong. What kind of laws are governing India? An eye for an eye? Tooth for a tooth? Claims of being the biggest democracy is a joke. More like the biggest hypocrisy.

    Mentality of all involved in this situation is questionable.

    • Is their mentality directly related to their country or origin?

      Culture would be more accurate.

      They are all products of patriarchy, and (with the possible exception of the man) also of a culture where sex is a commodity and not an act that two adults perform together. In this culture, sex is ‘taken’ or ‘given’, never ‘had’. Add to that the element of jumpiness from the recent horrific gang rape and a bit of cultural misunderstanding, and you have a perfect recipe for a situation such as the one depicted here.

    • American Woman, that was an insightful comment. Perhaps for the woman, the incident was the last straw that broke the camel’s back.

      As a doctor in the hospital, she probably felt intimidated in her own space since people usually respect doctors as authority figures.

      Maybe that was her way of settling the score for experiencing years of street sexual harrassment, subtle sexual harrassment at work. He was the bakra, the scapegoat.

      • She tries to settles scores against someone who was not a threat to her and left her alone, instead of going after the ones who actually threaten her. Is this how things work in India these days?Is this how the Indian mobs they show on TV function?Everybody gangs up and beats up the next weakest person, because somebody stronger did something bad to them sometime in the past.

        • Yes exactly. All the creeps we couldn’t tackle…all that built up anger comes pouring out on a ‘safe’ culprit like this where there isn’t going to be any retaliation for tackling him.

        • Its difficult for you to understand the feeling because you haven’t spent all your life fighting for your right to exist as a human being.

          I’ve lost count of the number of times I have been groped and touched by strange men. I first had my breast fondled when I was 12 and my father was standing two feet away.

          I’ve lost count of the number of times male drivers have endangered my life because recklessly overtaking a female driver without warning is “fun”.

          I’ve lost count of the number of times, I’ve stood at an intersection and seen men in passing cars size me up and hurl nasty comments my way.

          There are days when I’m happy and walk with a smile on my face. Then I change it to a scowl because a woman’s smile is an invitation for harrassment in India.

          When was the last time your rights were curtailed in a similar fashion? You’d understand if you’d been subjected to even half of what an ordinary woman experiences in India.

          Some days I am so angry I wish (rather curse) that all Indian men be reborn as women in their next life. :).

      • biwo,

        While I personally cannot understand your anger (an epistemologically subjective entity) to any extent greater than that permitted by human empathy, the fact is that this understanding is immaterial when making a value judgment about the fairness of the situation.

        Scapegoating is wrong and unjustified, no matter how horrendous the underpinning crime. I know you were not condoning the treatment the writer was subjected to, but I did feel compelled to add this note.

        • As you said PT, I wasn’t endorsing scapegoating. That’s counter to everything I believe in. I was just wondering if the woman over-reacted and unconsciously scapegoated the man because of all the anger that had built up inside her. Just speculating :)

    • I agree with what you said about the Guy. But I don’t think that the Doctor was wrong in reporting him.
      Yes, everyone else overreacted like Praveen said above.

      In India, this is how a street sexual harasser approaches a woman. Having so many stalkers who stalk freely and fearlessly, I am not surprised that she felt threatened by this guy. I’m sure she wouldn’t have reported if a colleague(who was unaware about her marital status) had asked her out.

      The police in India, I believe, are moral police first, regular police later.

  12. Unless the guy grew up outside India, he was not being very smart by asking a strange woman out in India. That only works in the movies :-)

  13. oh this reads ridiculous. firstly the boy did no crime. he just asked her out, however shoddy his approach was, he did nothing wrong. he never violated her in any way. i am a woman myself but i think a blanket rule where a woman is always considered right is like creating another system of inequality which will only benefit one group of the society and would be as unfair as what we have in hand! yes the girl could have felt harassed but it does not mean that she was actually harassed. the accused had no such intention and when he was refused he walked away. that surely means he respected her wishes and never used any force. maybe he could have done something to her, but truth of the matter is nothing ever transpired in terms of actual harm and it was mostly likely a one off incidence. the consequences he faced was definitely out of order.

  14. I don’t think he did ANYTHING wrong, maybe he’s not very mannered :-) and his attitude is certainly not going to get him women :-) but, he found her attractive and asked her out, she didn’t and said NO, done what is the need to involve security. what an idiot that lady is. She is a doctor and education hasn’t imparted her a sense of fairness or confidence or anything.

    Her husband definitely crossed the line , slapping someone , nay touching someone without their consent is an offense be it man or woman. i would have slapped right back and then filed an FIR for abuse .
    as for the cops , we know their thought process. I lay the blame squarely on the lady FIRST and then the idiots that thought they were helping her.

    This man asked her out ( yes not politely) but walked away when she said no, and yet her husband slapped him, does he go around slapping all the men who pinch her,rub against her and shove her on the streets!!!!

  15. This reminds me of the way James asked out Lily in Harry Potter. Hes a good chap but egoistical who doesnt expect a refusal. But “we should get together” may also have meant as a request. the guy being an NRI, we cant be sure if he meant it as a command or request.

  16. All of this because this kid(man) misread her eye contact!

    Among Indians, as far as I know, there is no concept of a decent eye-contact.
    In US, when I have eye contact with a non-Indian, generally they acknowledge it by a nod, or greetings. But when I have eye contact with an Indian male, either he changes his gaze immediately, or pretends he didn’t even see me.
    I really feel sorry for us for not having a comfortable level of social interaction that we cannot even exchange simple greetings without being misunderstood.

    • I agree with you. I always make eye contact with people, and I detest it when guys avert their eyes like they think I’m flirting or being too forward. it feels very isolating.

  17. What the guy did was harmless – asking a woman out for coffee. Granted, he didn’t go about it the best way. You strike up a conversation/some kind of connection before you ask someone out for coffee. You don’t mention ‘weekend’ etc. So what if he’s a bit clumsy?
    This woman was way out of line. The cops behaved like idiots – tue to form. This poor guy got harassed as a result. Not because ‘women have too much power’ but because the woman overreacted and the cops/husband were playing typical patriarchal roles.

    Interesting thing is – couldn’t the woman have handled it herself??? She could’ve said, ‘Sorry, I’m married.” and walked away. Or if she’s upset, “I don’t appreciate being approached this way. Please leave.” and then walked away. Why become a damsel in distress? Why all the drama?

  18. Love your blog – have not commented before but am bothered by some comments (particularly on the link) that seem to feel that this would be ok in the US. From a Western professional woman’s perspective this is how I would interpret what happened.
    He made eye contact – whenever she happened to glance in his direction he was staring at her
    He approached her when she was alone – he was watching her and followed her when she was alone
    He called to her to stop. In a work environment I would be expecting something work related, otherwise a bit creepy if someone you don’t know is following you.
    He told her they should go out, and that they would have a good time. This to me sounds like being hit on for a one night stand (a night of casual sex). I’d find this really creepy if it happened at work.
    He had not even bothered to check if she was married, engaged or in a relationship. Most women wear wedding or engagement rings – if no ring, not difficult to ask. This doesn’t even seem to have occured to him. This to me would really reinforce the idea that he was just looking for casual sex.
    It’s not ok to approach a professional woman (or man, for that matter) in their workplace unless you know them quite well, at least well enough to have a clue that they might be interested.

    Just my two cents

  19. The guy: Possibly misrepresented his intentions due to his aggressive approach.

    The woman: Possibly misread his approach and overreacted. In India, women’s default setting is to consider unknown men’s advances threatening because 99% of the time they are. Strangers do not directly ask women out with non-lechorous intentions. Just does not happen. You ease in to it in India, usually goes like ice breaker> flirting> gauging response> asking out. Could be a cultural difference that the guy didn’t grasp if he didn’t grow up in India.

    The husband and others who hit the guy: WAY over the line. Totally unacceptable. I don’t think they were doing anything ‘for the woman’. They were doing something to make themselves feel good and ‘manly’. This is not about the power she has, this is about them showing what power they have.

    Police: As usual, not doing their jobs.

    • I have seen enough Indian women goading, taunting, provoking, emotionally manipulating their men into fighting other men. Sometimes they flirt with other men in open view of their mates. Sometimes they cry. I think they satisfy some primitive need to see men fight over them and sometimes feel the need to show the upstart his place. Women can be petty and vengeful just like men. So you cannot say for sure that the men did it to feel manly about themselves.

      • “So you cannot say for sure that the men did it to feel manly about themselves.”
        I’m not really concerned about saying anything for sure. No one can, apart from the people involved.

  20. I think what he did was basically harassment. The sentences which he used come out to be out right threatening. On top of that, he did it while she was on her professional duties. But I think once he was told off, and he backed away, he should have been let go.

  21. Unfortunately, most women are the biggest supporters of traditional values. Over the years, I have seen many people getting fresh with my wife. My response is usually to intervene by staying close to her right then and stare the guy away. She on the other hand thinks I should have beaten the guy up. I on the other hand think even if the other person is showing bad manners, you have to tell them off keeping your own civility, though with strength.

  22. Okay, I read this post and his original looooong post.

    My views from this post:

    1. I don’t like the word he used for approaching the doc. I would have been like the blatant attitude of these men. Who the hell is to command me? You want to ask anyone out, you ask “I am interested in you……would you like to ……. are you single….. ” not ordering her “lets do this”.
    2. I am not aware of the American context but in the Indian context, even I would take it as some arrogant ashole with either political or muscle power was asking for sex. In most cases, nobody says I want to have sex, they will say aati kya, lets have coffee (remember pyaar ke side effects?). So if I were in India in her place, I would feel kind of threatened given the words and the context. This comes with speaking with so many euphemisms
    3. It is stupid that the woman did not mention that she is married. She should just have waited and seen if the guy followed her for the next 2 days or asked someone to drop her/pick her if she felt threatened and then check and see if the guy was still around and complain.
    4. Why did the SD call her husband or father?
    5. Since when did police become so prompt to arrest anyone? What about all the other cases of harassment, rapes and robbery et al? This looks like an attempt to salvage their image after like a million disasters and that too in an inefficient way
    6. By this time, I think the situation was out of the doc’s control and she could not stop her husband or father acting on the guy. If she were to raise her voice, then they would probably be like “oh, so you will stand up for him and go against your husband/father”
    7. Her marraige seems to me unequal and her husband and father seem extremely patriarchal and chauvinistic to me.
    8. The police are acting as moral brigades instead of doing their job.
    9. You don’t need 20 policemen. You need only 2. Why was the woman not called and asked to give her statement in front of the guy?
    10. The police should act like in charge, not let the woman’s husband or dad come close to him and insist that they will do the needful should the case be true. They cannot be passing judgement or allowing random people to slap or shout at the guy.

    My views from reading his long post:

    1. To me it seems like a rant and the guy seems as against women’s empowerment as most patriarchal guys but sugar coated as equality. His rant seems to me like ” I will grant women equality, but they should be within their limits” kinda rant.
    2. He is showing off that he is going abroad and that he can find so many better girls than Indian girls. Well go ahead, to each his own
    3. He became a scapegoat in the police and govt. “save image by acting with force” plan.

    Overall, the guy’s story does not seem balanced, looks more like an ego trip to me. Also, using one case, he cannot say women are in power. Really? How many women have faced harassment on the streets? raped? Why the hell did the delhi rape case occur? ANd still no judgement. The govt. hopes ppl will forget.

    He wants to live abroad. go ahead. He thinks he will never date an Indian woman. Go ahead. But stop saying 50 million women are not datable because of your one incident. And making stupid statements like women are in power now?! Well is that because you cannot tolerate women are in power now?

    Overall, I do not agree how this played out but at the same time, the guy sounds to me like a lot of men I know who talk about equality but in closet are chauvinistic and i may be wrong. But the pattern of his speech is the same to me.

  23. I think we overreact when we’ve had too many experiences where we found no support or back-up or validation. I know I used to overreact. Once an elevator guy looked me up and down in a mall lift and asked me if I was going alone to the movies. After the movie I went and complained to the security and made a bigger scene than I probably should have. But the guy was just given a warning, not beaten up…I wouldn’t have let that happen. I just found his behaviour sleazy and was furious that a woman couldn’t go out alone without unwelcome questions.

    Another time, a guy brushed up against me, and my husband caught him and held onto him for half an hour until mall security arrived. I overreacted then too, getting very upset…but I think it’s because there will be 30 incidents where we get no justice or validation and our anger blows up at the one instance where the culprit is actually held accountable.

    I’m much better now to the extent of being amused when guys hit on me at work, and being firm but pleasant. I wouldn’t complain about sexual harrassment unless the person creeped me out and did not listen when I said “No”. It’s actually very flattering to have someone flirt with you, if it’s observing all boundaries. But Indian women are so often the target of sexual harrassment that we probably can’t appreciate it when a cute guy does a little harmless flirting with us.

    This guy’s approach was definitely very misinterpretable, and the woman and her husband overreacted. I feel sorry for the chap and for the woman too…like everyone said we are all victimes of this crap called patriacrchy. People should be able to approach someone they find attractive in a non-threatening way, and have the decency to back off and walk way (which this guy did do) when faced with a No.

    Like someone else said, we are in this culture of ‘pursue the woman till she complies’, so I can understand the woman feeling threatened even after the guy walked away. It’s probably because of past experience and being so fed up that the next person who tries it, is really going to GET it. Which happened here.

  24. This is sad. The woman could have just told him she was married and doesn’t appreciate being followed and asked out at work. The guy did back off and did not threaten her or anything. Agreed he was crude but not a threat. Even if she did report him to security or cops what was the need to call her husband and father. Did she really intended the situation to reach this bad or it just spiralled into a mess before she realised? I was just thinking of the consequences of the whole situation. I have a strong feeling that though the father and husband showed their strength and protection, they would ask her to wear sindoor and manglasutra and all the symbols of marriage in future. I strongly feel they should be reported too for violence against that man.

  25. I was imagining the scenario the other way around. If I am in my office and I am working and a girl approaches me with an opening lines like – We should get together this weekend – I will go Whoa! Easy lady!
    I will not react the same way in a pub, so I think this guy was way to aggressive in his approach at a workplace. Secondly lines like – We will have fun – sends all sort of wrong signals. In our society, it just means one thing.
    Having said that, the lady involved should have taken it easy and let it go with a smile. What happened after that was a nightmare for the guy.
    It was pure patriarchy in work after that but also remember this that we live in a society where we see strange men approaching women as potential rapists. It will take years for our society to move to a point where a stranger approaching you will be treated with a smile and a harmless being.

  26. I am not sure I believe this mail fully. Thirty security guards surrounded him? Give me a break. Don’t you think there is something fishy in that?

    • I agree with what American Woman says, //”From my viewpoint, everyone in the situation was wrong in some way.”//
      I can’t imagine why the woman overreacted. Can’t imagine why police had to be called or THIRTY security guards were needed. Can’t imagine why husband had to come running or why the father felt insulted enough to make threats. He asked her, she said no. Couldn’t the matter have ended just there?

    • I don’t believe this story completely either. The guy def is exaggerating. Unless the girl wad some ministers daughter, 30 police men came? Lol.

      He sounds like score of men telling stories on why women should not be given freedom blah blah….

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  28. I read the original article yesterday. To be honest, there are many ‘holes’ in his story, which is usual for first person ‘victim’ accounts. However, for the sake of an argument, I’d give him the benefit of doubt.
     
    The man’s approach was a little too fast. Over eager and too direct for someone who doesn’t seem to have enough social aptitude to judge interest (or the lack of it). He pretty much played out a ‘cold approach’ on a professional woman’s work environment and created quite a situation because she either felt harassed, threatened or maybe, just plain ol’ vindictive. He is first of all, a ‘victim’ of his own social ineptitude; something that cannot be covered by his self-righteous diatribes. He needs more refinement, as far as approach women is concerned, rather than brandish Indian women as ‘difficult to date’.
     
    Having said that, I think the drama that the lady doctor created was largely unfounded. We can’t be sure what exactly transpired unless the woman gives her own account as well. However, if we take him on his word, for the sake of an argument, it was way over-the-top. He didn’t deserve it AND I think he is well within his rights to take the doctor and her husband to the judicial cleaners for it. A bit of tact on her part wouldn’t have hurt, unless he actually came off as threatening.

  29. Let’s assume that the guy’s story is 100% true.( lines like “almost 30 security people surrounded me” makes me feel he has exaggerated a lot, an Indian hospital having 30 security people and all are called in to handle an unarmed man? ; And we don’t have the lady’s version of the story)
    First of all his approach was completely wrong. He should have first excused himself and introduced himself, than asking for a date directly to a complete stranger in her work place. And the words he chose can have different interpretation in such contexts. He may not be familiar with India but she is in India. “lets have fun” , “lets get together in weekend” are the exact words used by roadside romeos with vile intentions in India, and she being an woman working in India would have heard it many a times. He walked away, but how sure she could be that he wouldn’t stalk her, throw acid, molest or rape her? Though it is always said by the rapists and misogynists that rape/molestation happened because “she asked for it”, the incidents I have witnessed/heard/read clearly points out that rapes/molestation happened because “she dared to say NO to him”. She DID NOT overreact. She can be blamed for misinterpreting an ‘ innocent’ question but cannot be blamed for over reacting. If I was approached the same way by a complete stranger in my workplace, the logical thing I would do is report it to the Senior/Manager. If tomorrow something happens, she will be easily blamed that she did not report the matter and so she asked for it. It were the males who over reacted.
    The case is NOT of Women having more power, but of PATRIARCHY, as is clear from the line “They were now waiting for the “victim’s” husband and father to arrive to file an FIR ” So an offended female cannot lodge an FIR but has to wait for her ‘Owners’ – husband & father to lodge an FIR. So where is the woman having excessive power. And the Husband and father reacted, as they would, to tress passers in their property. They wanted to reinforce their sole ‘ownership’ of the women. If she really had the power,the husband and father need not be even involved in this. Actually from the picture I get about the Husband and Father, I wouldn’t to surprised to learn that they gave her an earful and blamed her for encouraging him with her eye contacts. In some cases, they would even ask her to stop working. I have personally witnessed a case where the wife was forced to leave her job because the husband heard from some colleagues that a client had one day invited her to his sister’s birthday party. Her fault was she didn’t Overreact and report it to her male saviours
    And about the Indian police, what more to say, when you can see a couple/two friends of opposite sexes chatting on the beach or park bench is promptly arrested and shamed by the police and a case of immoral behavior is booked immediately but a gang rape/molestation/acid throw/domestic violence case has to pass so many hurdles even to register an FIR.

    • I just read this post and also the detailed original post which sounds more like a rant.
      It’s too late to comment now, but I agree with Seena who as echoed all my thoughts.
      Regards
      GV

  30. I read the entire rant by clicking the link and while I feel bad that this guy had to spend 7 hours in jail (which, btw, is definitely a violation of his rights), I think this person is very misogynistic. I think he’s going to get a rude awakening when he does leave India for where-ever he’s going to spend the rest of his life.

    Women don’t respond well to misogynistic ranters who have creepy pick up lines anywhere in the world. The significant difference, however, would be that while he’d get shot down (figuratively) by possibly hundreds of thousands of women, he wouldn’t get arrested.

    It could also be entirely possible, this being India and all, that the woman’s family gave the cops 5 to 10 thousand rupees to ‘rough up’ the ranter.

  31. Whether the response is a slap or a beating, its an act of physical violence. You cannot take law into your own hands, whether you think the words spoken were offensive or not.

    And if you claim self defense, its a so called affirmative defense, i.e., the burden of proof shifts to the woman who initiated violence to prove that she faced an actual physical threat.

    This woman, as it stands, should be prosecuted along with her accomplice..her husband and others in the mob, for assault. But I know, on a feminist blog, while this situation seems like a fun event to discuss, no one actually cares if a mob beats up a man. Now if a woman had been beaten up by a mob, you would have seen the anger on this blog…

    • Patriarchy supports slapping (or even stabbing) by women if it is done to protect their honour (or chasity, modesty, purity etc) which are seen as the property of their husband (and society). This is one of the few times women in patriarchal societies are encouraged to be violent. (They can be killed for not protecting it of course, honour and violence seem never too far apart) I don’t think feminists approve of this or any other violence.

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  33. It’s obvious that the guy is a fool who does not understand indian dynamics.

    Never ask an indian girl out. NEVER.

    This is how it works in india. The thing indian men would want to do is look around and find yourself an indian girl and make her a FRIEND. Note the special emphasis on the word “friend.” You must first enjoy each other’s COMPANY. Both must have enjoyable CONVERSATION; this basically means constant flirting. The guy must make the girl laugh. Take her to the movies, restaurant, buy her gifts etc. Talk to her on the phone till late night. All this while, the relation is never explicitly named as girlfriend and boyfriend. Only after all this, does the ACTION part has a chance to begin.

    The above basically summarizes 90% of the relationships between indian men and women. Most of these relationships never take fruit into marriage. The girl knows she can never lobby this relationship with her parents. The boy already anticipates an incoming baggage from his side of the family. The girl will be the first one to get an arranged marriage. That night the boy will drink alcohol till 2am in the night(wo raat apun do baje tak piya) This might sound like a joke but this is true, this is what happens in india.

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  35. There is no excuse for unwarranted violence. The modus operandi of asking her out is inappropriate (instead of ‘stop’ he should have said ‘excuse me !’; instead of suggesting that they spend time together, he should have asked her if she would like to spend time together etc..) but definitely not criminal. He asked her out, she said no, he backed off . The woman and her husband are accountable for the violence this guy faced.

  36. Isnt the general comment that it was wrong to have used violence against this man BUT he shdnt have asked her this way or that way, somewhat akin to saying “we condemn the rape BUT she shd not have worn such skimpy clothes and gone out for a movie with him in the night which has perhaps given him the wrong signals?”. But one thing is clear. All these incidents actually tell us the lack of women empowerment. In fact, quite often, the menfolk in countries where women arent really free face more or at least as much problems as the womenfolk due to the inequality. Having said that one doesnt solve the problem by creating another problem – non-sensically worded laws. For example, if a person is accused of rape, currently, its almost like ‘he is guilty unless proven otherwise BY HIMSELF”. The problem is even on issues like spouse harassment, dowry, etc, the law is often one sided. Any law, if not rational, will only lead to lethargic implementation.

  37. I thought one needed to talk and have some time together for that.

    but it seems woman get dreams while sleeping and get to know about the guy she want to date.

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