In India, attacks on tourists have recently been on the rise, leaving one question the level of safety of women touring alone in the country. This has led to women taking safety measures to avoid “Eve-teasing”; the name used in India referring to sexual harassment.
The problem has greatly been attributed to the easy access to illegal homebrews, an increase of porn on the internet and the increasing numbers of uneducated bachelors- who, having lost hope of settling down- relocate into towns and cities away from their families.
I have put together a useful list of what to do and not do for women traveling alone in India. Women are further advised and reminded that they are not without help. Opportunists are always watching a woman’s behavior and not with the best of intentions. Please be reminded western women that they are not to carry themselves as they do back home. It was observed that both local and foreigner women are at risk of these horrific attacks. Most of the local educated women hardly go out after dark and are often brief when dealing with male strangers and even hotel staff who attempt to chat with them.
What to do or not do when traveling alone in India
- Always make arrangements with your guesthouse or hotel for taxi transfers to rail and bus stations particularly after dark.
- Make use of pre-paid cab counters at the airports and always take the smart and air-conditioned taxis.
- Ensure your hotel room door has fast bolts on the inside. You can acquire rubber doorstop to help prevent intruders.
- Avoid the streets after dark. Make use of a rickshaw or taxi to restaurants like the local women do.
- When in Delhi, use the carriages for women only on the metro and only walk when you have to. This will keep you away from encountering the growing eve-teasing problem.
- Even when you have not made a hotel reservation, act as though you do. As the taxi to drop you off a particular place then continue from there.
Not to Do
- Wear any revealing or skimpy clothing. This can be anything from long see-through skirts, strappy tops, shorts or a cut-off pair of trousers. Putting a long tunic over a loose trouser is suggested.
- Be too welcoming with hotel staff or men who engage you at tourist attraction sights. Instead, hold conversations with women only. While on trains, it is unusual to see any Indian woman chat with a strange man unless it is her husband.
- Accept drinks from any stranger. The local women barely take drinks in public- even at the hotel bars- therefore be careful of men who invite you for drinks.
- Facing staring Indian men. This is understood as an invitation. Therefore look away or turn your eyes down. This will indicate your lack of interest in any further interaction.
- Take walks in the countryside alone. If you have to, have your mobile phone at hand with a speed-dial number ready to call for help. Use your mobile to make fake calls when you get an uncomfortable feeling.
It pays to stay safe when you travel to another country especially when you are alone and this is your first time in a new destination. Bring back fond memories of your travels by being cautious, alert and respectful.
Kally is a former Sales and Customer Service manager turned Writer and Founder of MiddleMe.net. She came from Singapore; lived in Shanghai and now calls Kuala Lumpur her home. After hanging up her corporate briefcase, she now pursue her passions – Writing, Traveling and of course, hunting for good food.
Connect with me @ Kally@ladyredot.com