When I went to India I had no idea of the problem that exists in this country regarding sexual abuse/harassment against women. The only thing they told me was not bring clothes that show off your body too much, so my time there I wore some Aladdin style pants and a bigger size windbreaker, not because what they say but because that was the clothes I had for cold climates. Anyway… when I returned from India I remember a friend telling me, “Wow, India, cool … Did you know that every 20 minutes in India there is a sexual violation?” No, I did not know, but it made me remember something I lived there.
I think it was two days prior of our return to Seoul, I was with my two cousins in a small market near the hotel in which we were staying in New Delhi. This was a small market at the street and it sell different kinds of things, mostly Hindu souvenirs and clothing. Each local was like a room of 2 x 3 meters long and dark. If you walked in you could see more of the store. My cousins were in other places looking for something to buy. I got one because I liked two pairs of pants and wanted to know if they had other carvings because I did not think they were my size. I walked in and there was a guy in the middle and three other surrounding him. “Do you have another size?” I asked indicating the pants in my hand. I felt everyone’s eyes on me, but gave no importance. The man who was in the middle said no, but he thought they were the perfect fit for me. He grabbed the pants I was holding and measured them with his hands, then he grabbed my hip, as if checking my size, then put his thumbs inside my pants, touching my skin, the rest of the fingers were touching my hips out of the pants. Later he moved his hands with his thumbs still inside, touching me, from my hips to my pubis. Ending this withdrawal hands and said; “Yes, definitely yes they fit.” I was silent, not reacting, I saw other men looking at me with a crooked smile and intimidating eyes. I bought the pants and left out of there. I never told anyone… until a few months ago.When this happened I was 22, I was not a child, and still I did not react. I was frozen. Life has always been generous to me and I am of those people who trust everyone. I am confident that there is goodness, and although I still do, I realize that the world is more flawed than I thought, and that goodness is hard to find. This time my excuse was that “Maybe that’s how they measure clothes in India” I knew it was not true (I mean, he almost fondle my pelvis area) but I told myself to stop thinking about it and not feel guilty. Yes, guilty. Last week I was reading a bit of sexual harassment in Mexico and they almost always ended by saying that the victims never spoke of it out of shame. I always believed that if something happened to me, I’ll yell or defend me, but this time I did not … I even ended up buying those fucking pants that didn’t fit. I kept quiet of the whole thing because I did not know how to say it and I felt stupid for letting it happen and let it go. I even felt like an idiot just by remember it, and I’m sure at that moment I would have felt the very great fool just to say it.
I think it is important to clarify that such things not only happen in India… these are incidents that are committed everywhere and that most women usually keep quiet.