God help all we women in Delhi. Because no one else will.

God help all we women in Delhi. Because no one else will.

Just what the hell is it with creepy men who think they have the right to touch a woman’s body?

More precisely my body.

I was out running this morning, and, before any of you DARES to suggest it was MY fault because of tight clothing  – not that you would, I know, I know. Forgive me, I’m still angry.

So, yes, let me tell you how I was dressed.  Never forgetting I am a senior citizen.

Track suit trousers.

Long T shirt that covered my bottom.

Wind-cheater that covered my bottom.

It was about 7.30 am, near Gol Market, and I was running down an empty street, having just ignored the creepy man who tried talking to me, “Hello madam, where you go? You need help? You walking? Exercise, very good”.  Idiot.

I had slowed down for a couple of seconds to a brisk walk, as I do from time to time, still in a empty street. Fairly wide pavement. And suddenly there’s a hand on my bottom.

Turn round to find this low life greasy haired creep.

IMG_5125For a split second, I couldn’t believe it.  If the street had been packed, I might even have thought it was an accident. But in an empty street.  No way.

He looked shocked as I started yelling at him in Hindi, then he put the phone to his ear and started saying “Hello Raju, Raju” –  moron, at least pretend to dial numbers before you start “speaking” on your mobile.


As I continued yelling, he had the nerve to gesture at the phone and say (in Hindi) “Madam, I am on the phone.”

So I slapped him on his greasy head.

Last time I was aggressed in the street by school boys, someone took me to task on Twitter for slapping a schoolboy.

No such compunction this time, let me tell you.

He stopped talking to “Raju” and started on his “Sorry sorry sorry madam” mantra.

Same reply I gave the creeps who told me to f*** off on my last run-in with Delhi men.  If you didn’t do anything, why are you saying sorry?

He tried the Raju trick again, repeating “Hello Raju” as I followed him, taking photos and shouting.

He then tried another approach.  Putting his hands together in a sort of mamaste gesture, he explained why he had touched me.

Just listen:

“Madam sorry.  Kuch nahi tha.  Me married hu.  Sorry.”

He got a slap for that, let me tell you (non Hindi speakers, you got it, right?  “I am married”, was his excuse/justification.)


And what was happening while I was shouting and slapping a greasy-haired creep?

Oh, let me assure you, nothing.  Absolutely nothing.

A group of men standing at a bus stop about 100 metres ahead, all watched slackjawed.  And didn’t move a muscle.

The 2 men reading the paper at the cigarette kiosk, lowered their papers and watched.  And didn’t move a muscle.

The 3 school boys waiting by the side of the road ahead…

The workers in the yard he dodged into, to try and escape…

Nothing nothing nothing.

Woman screaming, hitting bloke.  Nah, don’t let’s get involved.  Let’s just stand and gawp.

What does it take to get any degree of civic concern and intervention in this city?

As I left the yard –  creep still “talking” to Raju, though he never got beyond “Hello” (God, what a moron) – one of the school boys, probably about 16 or 17 –  ran up to me and said, again in Hindi, “Madam what happened.  Why were you shouting and hitting that man?”

He got an earful too.

“If you saw a woman hitting a man and shouting, why didn’t you come and help?”

If perhaps one young man reflects on what he didn’t do this morning – didn’t intervene, didn’t help, just stood and gawped –  well, I will feel a little bit vindicated for the touch of that man’s hand on my buttocks and the feel of his greasy hair oil on my hand for the next hour.

Ugh, that feeling.

I am trying to run with less “stuff” in my hands these days – no water bottle, no car keys – but I am seriously thinking of starting to running with a pepper spray.


  1. jai

    Sad experience.

    However I see a few parts of it in different light.

    ““If you saw a woman hitting a man and shouting, why didn’t you come and help?””

    Well, first you blame the people standing by for not helping you. When one does come forward to ask you what happened, you give him a mouthful as well ! Expecting others to join you in hitting a man just because you are a woman is sexist. As someone who is about to join you in hitting someone I guess he deserved to know what he will be hitting the other guy for !

  2. KJ

    Christine, sorry I just saw your appreciative response (I think your blog may not send notifications to your followers about when their post has been approved or you have written a response).

    Yes, you did spell my name correctly, many thanks!

    I’d like to clarify that your reaction was not an ‘incorrect’ one, either. I think you humiliated him a great deal. It is certainly very easy for most folks to talk tough about everything they would have done, but again, it is a major switch one needs to make mentally (and being at peace with causing physical harm to someone), and a switch which is not always necessary.

    However, God FORBID you (or anyone, for that matter) get sexually assaulted again (or a more severe attack is attempted against you), then THAT would DEFINITELY be a time to ACT FIRST, THINK LATER by doing your damndest to send him to the hospital. Another one I forgot that is a common weapon on many (not all) ladies: fingernails. Be the HELLCAT who knows how to use her ‘claws’ effectively.

    Pardon my delayed reply, and any future ones. Keep writing, Christine!

  3. jan

    Once my friend (she was 32) was groped by 1 college boy in a street. She turned back, grabbed his balls and started walking. She dragged him for good 5 minutes and ohh god. The boy pleaded her for 1 million times and even after leaving him, he couldn’t walk for an hour. He was crying like a baby and she made sure that he will never try this on any other woman.

  4. Annemarie

    I can so imagine how you felt! The nerve of the bloody man!!! Although you must be so sick of this loathsome attitude towards women you hear/read about on a daily basis in your part of the world, it is unfortunately not restricted to India. 25 years ago I was visiting the glorious Roman amphitheater in El Djem, Tunisia, holding my then 8-year-old by the hand, when a man sidled up to me and groped my breasts. I can still remember the feeling of utter revulsion and indignation! And there were scores of other people there, none of whom did a thing either.

  5. Jane

    I am as outraged as your other correspondents and so sorry for you – and this loser’s wife, if he really has one! So glad you challenged him but do be careful in future won’t you, please?

  6. Beatrix

    I’ve had my butt, crotch, & breasts grabbed, my hair pulled, by Indian men ONLY IN DELHI.
    It has happened while walking in Khan Mkt., at a swank hair salon in Saket, strolling through the Paharganj, shopping at Dilli Haat, wandering Connaught Place, even at the supposedly hip’n’swish Hauz Khas.
    I can almost handle the lewd comments by Delhi men BUT WHY CAN’T THEY KEEP THEIR HANDS TO THEMSELVES?!?!!!
    Anyway, I bought some “SABRE Maximum Strength Blue Dye Pepper Spray” the last time I was in the US.
    It not only blasts your attacker with pepper spray but marks them with a blue dye that lasts for 24 hrs.

  7. Morons like Raju’s friend are omnipresent. The sad part is the other “men” who did not move a muscle. Gurrrrr !!!!! Come on pls raise a voice against wrong doings. Pls pls pls.. Till the time we raise our voice, Raju will have more and more friends every day.

  8. Ditto as PW about pepper spray, I am not sure whether it is legal to carry one, and if one of the molesters gets hold of it you will be at the receiving end. However continue to carry the water bottle and a heavy keychain, and let swing with the water bottle and keychain.

  9. Sanjeev

    Actually, your pepper spray/mace is a good idea. If you can get it to gain traction where, say 10,000-20,000 women are carrying it, men of his sort, wouldn’t be doing these things so easily for fear of retaliation. Second, if it got of the ground, reports of pepper spray/mace being used against these miscreants would get reported in the papers, and eventually, such behavior would be dramatically reduced. Sometimes, living in a relatively lawless society, compared to the US/UK, when you can’t even depend on the authorities to even regulate traffic, it may be better to take the initiative privately since public (Government) discourse is unable to make progress.

  10. Faisal Shaharyar

    Christine – actually evolution of men stopped when they only started to think on their own gender line.
    I don’t mean to disrespect any one bt if I was i could have done the same thing do nothing thats it. We are so much engrossed in our own mess that we do not want to lend a helping hand whatever the matter is.

    listen to your parents, take care of your family, do your jobs, gotoschool. I am starting to think that we will only break and do something if it happens to us.

  11. Faisal Shaharyar

    Christine – actually evolution of men stopped when they only started to think on their own gender line.
    I don’t mean to disrespect any one bt if I was i could have done the same thing do nothing thats it. We are so much engrossed in our own mess that we do not want to lend a helping hand whatever the matter will.

    listen to your parents, take care of your family, do your jobs, gotoschool. I am starting to think that we will only break and do something if it happens to us.

  12. KJ

    Dear Christine (and all the other ladies on here),

    What got me to write on here is your passion to stop this. I, a man, am truly sorry this happened to you, and am as angry, on behalf of all of you. I hope each of you do happen to encounter some of us good chaps who will stand up for you in public. I also wanted to say (as a lifelong martial artist and self-defense coach for full-contact street combat): the biggest challenge that adult women (and men) face when it comes down to a physical situation is making the MENTAL COMMITMENT to physically attack, damage, and injure someone, EVEN when you are in the right, such as self-defense. Since we are (correctly) socialized to not harm another person, it takes a TRUE switch in the brain to be ok with unleashing physical trauma on someone. Once you have made your MENTAL commitment to yourself that you will do what it takes, without hesitation, to cause physical harm to vermin who physically disrespect you, you will confidently channel your anger.

    Yes, a football kick to the groin, even a hand strike, is the stereotypical response. Possible, simple to execute, does not require much force.

    BUT … you can also focus on soft tissue areas:

    the eyes;
    the throat;
    the ears (a cupped palm slap on the ear can rupture the ear drum and cause loss of balance);
    STOMPING with your heel on the in step of his foot (in case you are grabbed in a bear hug);
    BITING (and shaking your head, like a dog, while your teeth are still clamped down on your assailant, as the shaking motion TEARS the flesh);
    GRABBING the groin, and TWISTING (gross sounding, I know, but if you make the MENTAL commitment to defend yourself, you can easily wash your hands later … You will have had him ‘by the balls’, and caused him to crumple on the pavement).

    AND, ladies, think of makeshift weapons (aside from pepper spray) you carry:

    KEYS: when used in a slashing, raking motion across the face, they cause damage (and some of the newer model cars have sharper keys that can puncture flesh when thrust);
    UMBRELLAS: the POINTY ends can be used in a stabbing motion, towards the face or throat.

    Pardon my being graphic, but it is all to help you. As a devoted husband and soon to be father of a daughter, and one who has taught women to not be afraid to stand up for themselves physically, I wish you the best, and hope your anger is used for constructive action.

    1. christine

      Thank you, thank you Kahlil (I have got your name correctly, I trust?) for such a long, detailed, and sympathetic response. I fully agree with your comments. When asked by girl friends why I didn’t knee this creep in the groin, I realised that I actually didn’t want any further contact with him. Whereas, of course, kneeing him would have been far more effective than a slap around his greasy head. I am going to write a follow-up blog post today, and will quote you. And wonderful that you are to become the proud father of a daughter.

  13. Utsav

    I m so enraged right now… I m sorry, but would hve made the most horrifying day of his life, if I was present there. This is so sick. I m ashamed being a Delhite that u suffered so much mental torture today. Actually there is a total lack of quality education inculcated into Indian men.

  14. Whatever you do, don’t take the advice to carry a knife, it is more likely to be used against you. What about one of those ear splitting personal alarms and some self protection lessons? Learning where and how to aim a blow to hurt and temporarily disable rather than cause permanent damage is useful and keeps you on the right side of the law.

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