India and the lonely woman traveller

Researching her book, The Kama Sutra Diaries, Sally Howard travelled extensively around India, either on her own or with an Indian female friend. While not exactly hassle free, she found that things are gradually changing for the better – and that India is no longer a no-go zone for the single female traveller.

In your book you refer to the term “eve-teasing”: what does it mean?
Eve-teasing is an Indian slang term that loosely translates as ‘petty groping’, ‘harassment’ or ‘flashing’, and is perpetrated by (typically young) Indian males against Indian females or holidaying tourists. For Western women who, like me, are frequent travellers to the subcontinent, such incidents can be quasi-comic: the auto-rickshaw driver who distracted a male companion so he could honk my breasts like car horns, for example; or an enterprising cyclist who kept pace with a female friend’s train carriage, adroitly masturbating with his free hand. Eve-teasing was historically portrayed as something innocuous – akin to the slap-and-tickle antics of the Benny Hill programmes in the 1970s (which ran for 20 years on Indian TV). But as India comes to terms with its runaway rape statistics, the permissive culture around eve-teasing is being re-examined.

Read the full interview here, The Telegraph


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