That’s unnecessarily harsh.

You “can not understand". Have you tried asking, after expressing some sympathy and before judging the victim?

Part of the lack of response is that “being non confrontational" has been trained into girls and women -and in this society- to varying degrees based on relative Caste of those involved.

Part of it is knowing that they will not be supported by surrounding people, not even their friends. The difference in behavior of people in Delhi and Mumbai is telling: in Delhi, men can and do harass women verbally and physically with utter impunity. Women do not speak out or call for help when harassed even on a bus in the daytime even when the harasser(s) stay right there a few feet away, smirking, because they know it won’t get better for them and it could get worse. Women are at risk of much more egregious sexual harassment than described in the OA if they travel alone on public transportation. So they form travel pods of women or travel with a known man. This is based on the experiences of Indian feminist friends from Delhi. In Mumbai, on the other hand, the crowd on buses is in general strongly anti-”Eve teasing", gives women the benefit of the doubt (rightly so, given the a priori lack of motive) and comes to the aid of women who have been harassed — this results in visiting Delhiwallahs trying their stunts on the many more single women travelers in Mumbai and getting the shit kicked out of them by the crowd. Sensing this support, men are apologetic when there is unintended touch, which is inevitable on crowded buses and trains, and women in Mumbai are empowered to react by loudly calling out perceived verbal or physical harassment. More than that, women are even more empowered, I’ve seen women (one a college woman, the other a young middle age professional) simply turn around and smack the guy behind them- in one case the guy was apologetic and claimed unintentional touch, in the other the guy was angry, in both cases the crowd told them to be more careful and to “move on".

Finally, don’t discount the non gendered effects of shock. I do not consider myself nonconfrontational, but I’ve similarly been frozen into silence and on one occasion, laughter. (I’m an Indian man, moved to the US as an adult.) In a situation very similar to the one in the OA, a large white man approached me directly on a sidewalk in a downtown, approaching intentionally close, slammed his fist into my shoulder as we passed and muttered something racist. There are a number of things I could have done, but I stood there in shock starting at his back, and then just caught up to my friends and we laughed about it (Pam, this is your cue for blame-the-victim-ism.). Another incident was when two of us Indian men were walking home near campus on a Friday evening and a bunch of young white women in a sorority house upper balcony yelled derogatory sexual come-ons at us. We walked on, in silence, with some embarrassed laughter between us and laughed it off at the time, but when we discussed it a day later we both felt shame. There have been other incidents of racist verbal harassment when I’ve not responded, but don’t worry, I know my place in America’s white supremacist Caste system.

I stop to miau to cats.

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