“The Delphi Night”: A young man in Mumbai who enjoys sexually harassing women

He even offers tips! Did you know, for example, that if you’re going out to harass women with your friends it’s always best to carry some hockey sticks in your car? After all, you never know if some man who’s got his head screwed on right is going to attempt to help out a woman being surrounded and grabbed by thugs. That way, you can both enjoy tormenting the woman and indulging in a casual bit of street violence!

I’d like to be a mother some day, and I always think about just how I would react if I knew that the son I raised and presumably loved has grown into a misogynist little goon who enjoys the thrill of ganging up on a defenseless woman with other misogynist little goons. So I wonder – what kind of mother does Gaurav have? Is she the type who’ll roll her eyes and mutter “boys will be boys”? Or is she the type to smack him upside the head and tell him never to darken her doorstep again – until he’s learned how to behave himself as an actual member of society, that is…?

God, I hope she’s the latter. I know that for most decent women – finding something like this out about your son means instant heartbreak. And taking out at least some of that heartbreak on the ungrateful little brat’s hide is the least that can be done.

That’s right, Gaurav. You are an ungrateful, snorting pig. A woman brought you into this world – and this is how you have repaid women everywhere.

Don’t give me any excuses about how it’s a bit of harmless fun. This phenomenon is bad enough – but plenty of men don’t stop at it either. Today you encourage unwanted grabbing. Tomorrow, you’re going to realize how powerful it makes you feel, and go farther. Your friends will egg you on. And it will go farther. And farther. You are a rapist-in-training. You need to grow the hell up before it’s too late.

Exploring this meatsack’s blog – you come upon this little tidbit – he’s never had sex with anyone. I’m not going to hold anyone’s virginal status against them. I was a virgin until I was 18, which is already quite late in some circles, and I know what it’s like to be made fun of for one’s inexperience, and I can tell you that it’s rather unfair and unpleasant. However, this revelation on his part did make me think. Supposing one day, some woman is actually dumb enough, or naive enough, to enter into a relationship with this shriveled up little toadstool.

Now imagine that she calls him one day, crying, because here she was – walking home to the store, from a party, a class, a meeting or whatever – and a group of drooling little bastards surrounded her and grabbed her body, HER body, which also happens to be the body he adores, the body she shares with him. What would this pathetic excuse for a human being feel? Would he draw the connection between his own cowardly exploits and the pain and humiliation visited upon the woman that he, in some dim little capacity of his, actually cares for…? Or is he too intellectually limited to ever understand that HE, in fact, was part of the problem all along?

You know, I’m tired. I am actually contemplating not coming back to Amman, just digging my heels in and staying put, because of how tired I am. I am tired of words like “slut” and “whore.” I’m tired of the grabbing hands that reach out from cars. I’m tired of wrapping myself up in layers only for a man to start making suggestive comments about my eyes, moving closer and closer, close enough so that I can smell his rank breath and unwashed body, as I contemplate breaking into a run. I’m tired of the whole idea that my body doesn’t belong to me. That legs that I’m proud of are shameful parts of myself, to be hidden lest some man decides to get ideas. I’m tired of the fact that my breasts are an excuse to try to look down my shirt even when I’m not showing an inch of flesh below my throat. I’m tired of the salivating and the comments about my goddamn ankles. I’m tired of the threats and indignation when I rebuff said comments. I’m tired of no longer being comfortable in my body, the body that I like owning and inhabiting.

I’m contemplating a long separation from the man I am in love with, because I can no longer handle being treated like a piece of scum. I can no longer handle seeing the naked enjoyment in their eyes, their joy at reminding me of my place.

Having to convince every other man you come across that you are not, in fact, a life-size doll created for the sole purpose of molestation gets to be exhausting. “Excuse me. I’m a human being. Oh, you didn’t realize? How odd.” Having this little drama play out on most days you go outside does something to you – something ugly. It’s like having your soul scooped out, until there’s nothing left.

And you know, in many ways, Kiev isn’t that much different. I’ve had it happen to me here, and as much as I’ve tried to laugh it off, I still have flash-backs. But the thing about Kiev, I guess, is that it doesn’t seem to happen every goddamn day. And bystanders do, in fact, get involved with some regularity. And… well… not sticking out as a foreigner in Kiev certainly helps out.

But the thing is – it’s a global problem, as little Gaurav has so helpfully reminded me.

Hey Gaurav? An uncivilized part of me hopes that the next time you and your scummy friends decide to grab a woman, very bad things happen to you. I hope the woman is a black belt in karate, and that her Bruce Lee-like friends also just happen to wander by. Though perhaps it’s naive of me to think that if you will learn anything if you get stuck scraping your face off the sidewalk the next time you try to torment a woman. If the only thing you understand is the language of force, then you may be too far gone already.

See Blank Noise for resource information.

Sexual Harassment: taking one for the team on Facebook

I’m friending back the strange men who add me on Facebook via the Jordan network, then having protracted conversations with them as to why they’re adding me, what they’re hoping to accomplish, etc. What immediately struck me is that they don’t try to make me interested in them – they assume I am interested right away, hot and bothered and ready to go (well, I added them back, so that would be a clue – although I tell them immediately that I thought I knew them, and now I’ve realized that I don’t, and hence am confused as to why they added me to begin with).

This is more fodder for an article I’m doing, hence “going out into the field,” so to speak. The funny thing is – the minute I ask them, in Arabic, if they’d like it if someone treated their sister this way after I’ve gotten all I need from them and the sleaze quota has been reached, they either up the level of insult or start insisting that they only wanted to be friends.

Poor boys. A blonde foreign woman added them back, then wasn’t interested in sleeping with them after all. And gave them a lecture on top of that. Tsk tsk.

I can’t deny that a part of me has been enjoying this.

Another part, however, is sad.

Speaking of sexual harassment in the region – good for you, ladies

Just saw this BBC story about fighting, quite literally, sexual harassment in Egypt. Could not be more impressed. Karate is a good step forward, and this sort of thing makes me want to re-inroll in tae kwan do here in Amman. Of course, some attackers escalate to violence when the woman pushes back, we all know this. It happened to me when I was a child and unable to defend myself, but I do not regret saying “no” at the time, though it has taken me a while to recognize my “no” as something important; it was defiance that not even my attacker could negate, even though he probably came close to actually killing me.

I don’t think there are any easy choices one can make when one is attacked. Each situation is compounded by specific factors, and in each one, you must make a split-second decision that can change the entire outcome. This is something I will never get tired of repeating on this blog – one of the worst things about being attacked is that you can never do anything right, according to society. If you acquiesced, it means you should have fought harder. If you fought, you should have acquiesced.

But being able to fight back is important regardless of outcome. Until global society begins to recognize these occurences as profoundly wrong, as opposed to something that women “like” or else “invite,” our level of safety will not significantly increase. My philosophy, inasmuch as I am prepared to have a philosophy on this one, is that we need to take what we can get. This is why I’m down with dusting off that martial arts uniform.

New Article: on the Economic Crisis & Domestic Violence in the Former USSR

Read all about Love, Money & Violence. As dutifully reported by yours truly.

In other news – I kind of like clubbing in Amman, but why do *scenes* always happen when I come out? To my night in shining armour, who valiantly defended me against a bunch of douchebags by yelling “would you treat your sister like that?” and doing a lot of shoving – I salute you.

I’m not a big fan of public spectacles that involve myself, but the truth of the matter is, I’m not a goddamn zoo animal, and no one should feel entitled to poke me with sticks. Sometimes, people need to be reminded that just because someone has “foreigner” stamped on their forehead, doesn’t mean that she’s fair game. No woman is fair game for harassment, as a matter of fact. And if you’re working as a valet outside one of these clubs? Here’s a tip – don’t pretend like it’s not happening when it happens

Sometimes, Manly Man Eruptions are the only antidote to blatant disrespect. Manly Man Language is the only language that the perpetrators will listen to anyway.

Blargh. As with the article up above – sometimes, all of this gendered “know your place, little lady” stuff gets more than tiring – it gets out of control. And that’s when you kinda wish that you were packing a chainsaw.

Seriously – MEN, here’s a clue – harassment is not cool, it’s not funny, it doesn’t make you seem attractive, it doesn’t make you seem intelligent, or even powerful. It makes you look like a dumbass and a loser with a LOT to prove. If you see your friends doing it, don’t laugh along, and don’t pretend like it’s OK because you’re worried about “killing the vibe” or whatever. And always remember -what goes around, comes around.