The summer before my junior year of college, I volunteered to work for a mental health clinic in a small city in India. I suppose I should say that it was "challenging yet rewarding," or that it was "the hardest summer of my life" but that I really "found myself." But, I'm not about to turn my experience into Eat, Pray, Love. It didn't take long after I arrived for things to turn ugly.
Sure, when people ask me what India was like, I often just placate them with funny stories about shitting my pants on an airplane or watching men practice their Bollywood moves at the gym. While those stories are true, they're not the whole truth. The truth is, almost all of my memories of India are tainted because of one uncontrollable factor: I am female, and, in India, that means ...

在我大学三年级前的一个夏天, 我志愿到印度的一个小城市的心理键康诊所里工作。我想我应当说这段经历既是一种挑战也让我获益匪浅,同时还是我一生中最难过的夏天,但我的确发现了我自己。但是我不会将我的经历写成《饭、祷、爱》。我到那儿没多久,事情就开始变得糟糕了。
当然,当有人问起我印度如何时,我总是用尽量平和地用一些有趣的故事,像是我在飞机上拉裤子了,还有看到印度男人在体育比赛中跳宝莱坞中的舞蹈这样的事来敷衍他们。虽然这些事也是真的,但并不是真相的全部。真相是,几乎我所有关于印度的印象都被一个原因所败坏了, 那就是,我是一个女人,而在印度这意味着。。。

There Are Some Pretty Bizarre Rules

原创翻译:龙腾网 转载请注明出处

All of this talk of "rules" is going to seem cruelly ironic when I tell you what eventually happened to me. But, we'll get to that.
Upon meeting my Indian host family, I was almost immediately given a list of rules that mostly had to do with my gender. Some were common sense, but others were baffling. For example, I was instructed to avoid making eye contact for longer than four seconds with a man. This could be seen as an "invitation" -- specifically, into your vagina. This was one of the most anxiety-inducing aspects of my stay, and, if you read on, you'll see why that's really saying something.
So, I would be talking to a male co-worker or friend and think, "How long has it been? Did I fuck it up? Has it been five seconds?" I was darting my eyes around so much that I probably looked like I was on crack.
Also, there was to be no smoking, drinking, or hanging out in bars. No pouting. No spending any time alone with my host brother (exchange students refer to the families they're staying with as "host father," "host mother," etc.). Don't overeat. Don't date. Don't adjust your clothes in public. Don't talk too loudly. Don't talk too softly. Don't stay out past 7 p.m. unless you're with your host father. Basically, try really hard not to be a woman -- that would be great. Thanks.

而且,我在酒吧里也没有抽烟、喝酒或聊天。别嘟嘴, 一秒钟也不要和我的寄宿哥哥单独在一起(交换生将所在的寄宿家庭人员称为寄宿父亲、寄宿母亲,以此类推)。不要贪食,不要约会,不要在公共场合整理服装,不要讲话太大声,也不要讲话太小声,别在外面待过晚上7点,,除非你跟你的寄宿父亲在一起。基本上,尽量别当一个女人,这样就最好不过了。

There's A Strict Dress Code


This part is something you probably expect from certain parts of the world -- the organization I volunteered for had already advised me to bring conservative, loose-fitting clothing. Still, my host mother took one look at my scandal-packed suitcase and decided we needed to go shopping.
My wardrobe, under her tutelage, was to consist of long, flowy skirts and shapeless tunics. Keep in mind it was around 110 degrees in the summer, so while I was trying not to be a female, I was also trying not to be a female with swamp ass. Again, if you move to a country like this, obviously you're going to have to be willing to adapt to some major cultural differences. But, if you're a woman in India, there's not a lot of room for fucking up.
There was this one time I was hanging around the house and didn't notice that my baggy shirt came down too low on the sides, revealing a little side-boob action. Well, you would have thought I was running around and grabbing every dick I saw because my host mother went ballistic. She actually threatened to slap me if I didn't immediately go upstairs. I spent the rest of the summer dressed as a nun.

这一部分的内容你可能已经预料到了,我所志愿服务的组织已经建议我带上保守的宽松衣服了。尽管如此,我的寄宿母亲看了一眼我那装满了伤风败俗的手提箱,决定我们要去购物。 我的衣柜里,在寄宿母亲的指导下,由长裙和臃肿的上衣组成,请记住,时值110华氏度的夏天,所以当我的我试图不要当一个女人的时候,我说的是不当一个屁股臃肿的女人。再强调一次,如果你到了这样的一种国家里,你就得适应一些文化上的不同。假如你在印度是一名女性, 那没有你任性的空间。

You Have To Have A Man With You, Or Else You'll Constantly Get Harassed


My volunteer organization assigned me a translator, but, in reality, he was more like my security guard. He would accompany me to and from work, and stay with me all day on the job. I made sure he was always around because as soon as he left my side, it was like putting myself out on the sidewalk with a big cardboard "FREE" sign.
And here is where the paradox of male attention comes into play: Whether you are invisible or the sole focus of attention depends entirely on what kind of attention you want.
For example, I once had a flight to another part of the country that got delayed. I spent 12 hours trying to get someone at the airport to help me make a damn reservation for a new flight. Even female employees would just redirect me to someone else, who would then also redirect me to someone else, in a never-ending game of Hot Potato (Hot Samosa?). Eventually, I resorted to asking a random Indian man if he could help me out, but he wouldn't do it. Finally, my male traveling companion walked up and spent five minutes with them -- and poof, we had a flight. I was steaming. That was after 12 hours of trying to get someone to listen to me.
But, when men are walking up to proposition you for sex, well, then it's non-stop. Walking through a market felt like a series of push notifications to my nervous system. It became commonplace for vendors to leave their stands and follow me around, asking dozens of random questions ("Hello? Hello? Hi, are you Indian? English? Are you married? Want to have Chai? How old are you? Where are you going? Hello, lady. Smile, lady."). This could go on for 15 minutes, even if I didn't respond to a single question.
Once, while I was traveling, I came back to my private hostel room to find one of the staff members hiding in my bathroom. He asked me how much I would "cost for the night," to which I responded, "Ask my husband, he'll be here in a minute." When I reported it to the management, I was assured he was "just doing his job."

举个例子,一次我要搭去另一个地方的飞机,结果误机了。 我花了12小时试图得到机场一些人的帮助,找新的航班。但即使女性工作人员也会把我引向其他人,其他人又再把我引向其他人, 周而复始,仿佛我是一个烫手山芋一样。终于我求助于一个随机的印度路人男,问他能否帮助我,但他根本没帮我,最后还是我的男旅伴来了,只跟别人谈了五分钟,就坐上飞机了,我都醉了好伐。我花了12个小时都没让别人听进我一句话。
一次,我正在旅行,我回到我的旅馆房间,发现一个旅行团的家伙藏在我的卫生间里。 他问我过夜多少钱,我对此回答道:问我丈夫去吧,他很快就来了。当我向旅团管理人员反馈的时候,得到了回复是那个只是在尽其职责。

The Rules Do Not Keep You Safe


At first, living with my host family was awesome -- I was getting a more local experience and grew to absolutely adore my host mother. But, as time went on, things got weirder and weirder. By "weirder," I mean "creepier." My "host father" would make comments about my body and try to "cuddle" with me on the couch. I would try to laugh it off and say things like, "Hey, I'm your daughter!" but I would just be met with eye rolls or disapproving glares.
All of the bedrooms were downstairs, except for mine, which happened to be next to my host father's office. If I had a question or wanted directions to get somewhere, he would ask me to come into his office and close the door. I would refuse, saying I was uncomfortable and that he needed to chill out a little, to which he would reply: "This isn't America, sweetheart. You're living in my house. You live by my rules."
In retrospect, I should have spoken up sooner, but I was 19 years old, naive, and didn't want to come across as difficult. I felt stuck between a rock and a hard place: speak up and have people call me a liar or a drama queen, or stay quiet and feel unsafe. Be accused of being a spoiled American brat, or risk having something really awful happen.
I had a key to lock my bedroom door, but, unbeknownst to me, my host father had one, too, ironically "for my safety." One night, I awoke to find him masturbating next to me with his hand down my pants. That was the last straw because what would be, if not that?
The next morning, I called a friend and moved in with him. As I mentioned, it was taboo to be alone in the company of a man who isn't your husband, so we told everyone we were married. Note: When I lived with my host family, I was only allowed to be alone with my host father, which is fucked up on at least seven levels. I counted -- it's at least seven.
Moving helped, but this would not be the last time I was sexually assaulted on my trip. There were two other incidents, the details of which I'm honestly not comfortable getting into. And, compared to what other women have gone through, I was actually extremely fortunate.

除了我的卧室,所有的卧室都在楼下,而我的卧室就靠着我寄宿父亲的办公室。如果我有问题或者想问去某个地方怎么走,他就会让我进他的办公室并把门关上。我拒绝这样做,说让我感到不适,他却回复说:亲爱的, 这里不是美国,你住在我家,你得照我的规矩来。“
我的门有锁,但我不知道的是我的寄宿父亲还有把备用的钥匙,讽刺的是,这是为了我的安全,一天夜里我醒来看到他一手在我的裤裆里另一只手在打飞机,这是最后一根稻草了, 因为这都不是的话,还能是什么呢?
第二天一早,我就叫上了一个朋友,搬去他那儿去住了。就像我所提到过的,如果和不是你丈夫的男人在一起是一个禁忌,所以我们对外宣称我们结婚了。 注意:我在寄宿家庭里,只被允许和我的寄宿父亲单独在一起,这至少打破了七个方面的禁忌,我数了数,至少七个。
幸亏我逃离了, 但这不是我旅行中最后一次受到了性侵犯,还有两次,细节方面我不想多谈。而且与其他女性的遭遇相比, 我还算幸运的了。

There Are Great People There, But, Culturally, The Deck Is Stacked Against Women


When I notified my volunteer program of the incident with my host father, they pretty much blew me off. I pray that they didn't place any more young women in that home, but I didn't tell anyone else because I honestly didn't see what difference it would have made.
And that is, of course, part of the problem. I remember thinking, "If I feel this powerless, and this frustrated, what the absolute fuck must it be like to live here?"
You have to remember, in India, up to 90 percent of marriages are arranged, meaning only 10 percent are "love marriages." They actually advertise them right in the newspaper. Looking for a wife? Just head to the "matrimonial" section. Ads include height, weight, job, caste, education, what they're looking for, not looking for, etc. My absolute favorite was one that was specifically requesting a "homely girl." Or, the guy that followed up his long, poetic speech by calling out to his true love with,"I like pets." Swipe right!
It really is a lot like Tinder, except it's your dad who's fielding your messages, and it might lead to your death. When I spoke to my host mother about the process of arranged marriages, she explained that when the prospective bride and groom meet for the first time, the woman can play her veto card at that time. If you think that might cause some animosity, though, just be glad you didn't reach dowry negotiations before you decided to be difficult, because you might get killed for that -- that very thing happens 12 times a day there.
In all fairness, I met tons of intelligent, progressive men while I was there, such as my host brother. I met women who were more patronizing than men as well as women who risked their lives fighting for women's rights. I met every type of person because in a country of approximately one billion inhabitants, it's not one size fits all.
But, there are some traditions and attitudes that have allowed things to get this way, which prevent meaningful change. And, while I can sit here and talk about the trauma of my own experience, my host mother's response summed it up perfectly: "Look, I'm sorry this happened. But, you get to leave. I have to stay here for the rest of my life."

当我把我寄宿父亲的事告诉了我的志愿者项目时,他们却不给我好脸色看,我求他们不要再把年轻女性安排到那个家庭去了。但我并没有告诉其他人, 因为我实在看不出会有什么不同。
平心而论, 我在那里遇到过许多聪明的进步人士,就像我的寄宿哥哥,我遇到过比男性还傲的女性,还有为了女权事业而奋斗的女性,我遇到过各种各样的人,因为那里有十多亿人口,一种人是不能代表全部的、