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Time to change, don’t you think?

entertainment Updated: Jul 04, 2010 03:24 IST

Let’s get this straight once and for all. White skin is not equal to promiscuity. And, if a ‘


’ smiles at you — hell, even if she hugs you — it is not, I repeat, not an invitation for sex.

As a 27-year-old Brazilian student becomes a victim of Delhi’s sexual predators, the Capital hangs its head in shame — yet again. On the one hand we’re teaching autowallahs how to say, ‘Madam, would you like some water?’ and screaming

atithi devo bhava

from the rooftops, and yet, we just can’t seem to protect the women in this city — those who live here and those who come visiting. Is the irony of this dichotomy lost on everyone?While the more heinous crimes make headlines, foreign women often face subtle and not-so-subtle harassment in the most unexpected circumstances.

While travelling through Delhi with friends, Alice, an American friend, decided to buy some kurtas from Sarojini Nagar. A young shopkeeper tried to convince her that


are meant to be worn without a bra — and therefore should be tried on as such!

Teresa, a research student from England, realised something was amiss when a


store owner started coming on to her. One night, he showed up at her doorstep with the eggs she’d ordered, and insisted that her ‘clothes and the way she smiled at him’ were proof of her love. Unnerved by the incident, she moved out to a dingy apartment, which she shares with three other girls. Now, she’d rather have safety than personal space.

Berenice Ellena, who’s been in Delhi for three years, says she really likes the city, but she does take precautions about what to wear, and makes sure she never goes out alone at night.

Here we cry hoarse about racism and the unfairness about being judged by the colour of our skin, when we’re really no better. Every other day, there are stories of men who misbehave with foreign air hostesses, boys who follow tourists making lewd comments, and the horrific shadow of being a rape Capital continues to haunt us.

Will the Commonwealth Games finally herald the change we need so desperately? I think not.