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My Husband Stood Up For Me

My Husband Stood Up For Me

April 20, 2013
It is the men of India who can banish the fears and insecurities that lurk within Indian women.

It feels so different to have someone by your side when you file an official complaint about unwanted sexual attention.

I have only been married for a few months, and I am still discovering what it means to not be by myself anymore. After over a decade of living by myself in various countries, it feels nice to have someone I really like spending time with be at home (wherever that may be) with me at the end of the day. It feels nice sitting down for a meal at an actual table with plates and placemats the way I vaguely remembered people doing in families. I don't feel lonely anymore; I feel like I now live my life outside in the world of chatty people and less inside my own head where it has been dark and echoey for so many years. It's easier for me to sleep in the dark now. Whenever I feel afraid, I push myself into my (chances are) already sleeping husband and know that the ghouls out there in the dark can't get to me with him in the room with me.

Turns out that applies to people as well.

I had been working out at the gym at our apartment complex here in the US pretty regularly for the past few weeks, and one of the workers here - an older white man - had started stopping by to chat with me almost everyday. It had started when he saw my Star Trek water bottle and had proceeded to tell me with a strange expression that he thought he loved me because of my interest in the show. I have lived in the US for ten years, and I know that Americans are generally quite friendly, but something about this man just made me feel ill. Not too many girls like Star Trek, he had said. I gave him a weak smile, then looked away to continue with my strength training. He looked at me for a moment too long and left the gym but then returned to tell me that one of the actresses from the original Star Trek series from the 60s had turned 86 recently. I looked at him and he looked at me, and I smiled awkwardly and looked away. I felt him looking at me a bit longer than he should've, and he then went away.

But then he started stopping by everytime he saw me working out at the gym. This happened almost everyday for a week. Many of the other workers at the apartment complex would use the restroom at the gym or use it as a shortcut to get to the main office, but none would ever even make eye contact with me. But everytime this man saw me running on the treadmill, he would try to get my attention by standing right in front of me to make conversation. Sometimes he would just keep talking, even if I wasn't participating. I wouldn't look at him or even smile. It made me feel particularly nervous if I was on the treadmill, huffing and puffing and cornered. I was usually the only person at the gym, and the way this man would peer into my eyes bothered me. I wouldn't respond to him but that didn't help, he would just stand there talking at me as if we were friends. It got to the point that I started considering not going to the gym anymore - he obviously wasn't getting that I didn't want to talk to him. I began to worry about if he would end up entering my apartment if I ever called for maintenance. My husband is usually at work in the daytime, and just the thought of being alone with this man in my apartment was scaring me. I wondered if maybe it was best to just move to another apartment complex.

It's not the first time something like this had happened to me. A single girl gets approached by some very strange people sometimes, but it had been a long time since my last experience. I had mentioned all of this to my husband, and to be honest, his reaction surprised me. Because his first reaction was not to blame me. That's right. He didn't blame me.

He had been hearing about this man for a few days, and one day he just said that he had heard enough and thought that I ought to complain to the main office at the apartment complex. The thought had crossed my mind at first, but the old doubt had started settling in - maybe I had encouraged him in some way? But I had been wearing full pants and a loose t-shirt to the gym. Maybe my breasts were too big? Maybe I should not have bought a Star Trek water bottle in the first place? Maybe I should just grin and bear it? After all, that's what I had been taught growing up as a good Indian girl. Don't attract attention to yourself, look away when a man looks at you, cover your body until it has drowned (don't say 'breasts'!), don't make a big deal when someone harasses you. No one likes an aggressive girl who wears fitted clothes and glares back. I almost felt small telling my husband about this man. Somewhere deep inside my heart where fearsome memories sleep but never die I worried that my husband would think that I had done something to attract this other man's attention. My husband and I are really like very good friends; we treat each other like peers, but it frightened me how something like this could suddenly make me feel like maybe he too had the same power that many Indian men have over their women. The power to condemn. The power to not believe. I have not been believed before. I have been doubted before. I have been blamed before for the action of others like that old man in the gym.

But my husband believed me. He actually offered to accompany me to the main office when I made my complaint. I spoke to the staff there, and he sat next to me the whole time. He didn't take over or do my talking for me. It was weird. I felt...not alone. Like I was a dying battery that had just been plugged into a power outlet. I felt like someone would always believe me, that I was number one in someone's life now. Every girl deserves that. Too many don't get it. Too many are mistrusted and almost despised for...for what?

I had always heard of real men. I think I married one of them. Mine is from Delhi, the rape capital of India.


  • Madhuri
    17.05.13 08:20 PM

    I too had a similar situation, just the difference being I had a water bottle from movie Himmatwala which I had got from Bombay store and my stalker used that excuse to talk to me if that was from Bombay store. He would use that to pick up small talk every day about what a fab place Bombay store is blah blah. I gave a curt reply once I took my boyfriend and he said Bombay store is a junk yard. Curt replies always help
  • Lazy Pineapple
    Lazy Pineapple
    26.04.13 09:00 AM
    Good to know that things worked out well for you and that you have a supportive hubby.

    Just a question, " Why didn't you just ask that person to leave you alone? I believe, most times this solves the problem.
  • Rajpriya
    24.04.13 01:42 PM
    “One day, the young Gimmick women suddenly realised that their generation had worked so hard that for the first time, they were at par with and even beyond the boys. These were the young women who now worked in all sectors of the economy as professors, researchers, journalists, doctors, engineers, government employees, media professionals, lawyers, social workers, counselors, you name it. These young women worked just as hard as the boys”.

    After working so hard and achieving everything that man can the Gimmick girls begin to feel insecure and need a man to stand up for them? To me most women who marry do for financial status that they can not achieve and need a personal security guard. What purpose does it serve achieving all those qualifications to end up on a treadmill during the day while the husbands are at work to provide all the comforts for them?

    To me these don’t add up nor make any sense.
  • Khadija
    24.04.13 03:38 AM
    Whaaaaa-, are you serious? Was your colleague young and infatuated and harmless or something worse? Your husband seems to have confidence in himself and also in you. How lucky you are. :)
  • Jyoti
    23.04.13 05:32 PM
    What a post! Happened with me too when one of my colleague actually proposed me even after knowing that I am married and when I told this to my husband, he was calm. He said - "I knew this was coming the way the guy used to talk but I knew you are mature enough to handle this" I was as surprised as you were because he didn't blame me instead gave me the confidence and trust I needed.

    PS - My husband is also from Delhi and we still live there.
  • Kay
    22.04.13 03:47 PM
    Um. Usually, a curt 'excuse me, I'm busy, I really need to concentrate on burning up the calories' helps get rid of old creepy men. There's definitely no need to move to another complex! And going by the post, this guy didn't sound creepy.

    I live in Delhi, the so called rape capital of India, and even I'm not that paranoid of random men (and I wear shorts while exercising in my complex gym).
  • afshan
    22.04.13 03:45 PM
    Felt good to read this . These small incidents becomes obstacles to normal life. I too had few such experiences and next time U come across some one - ask What he wants ? and why he is talking
    thanks for sharing this experience.
    GOD bless u both
  • Jessica
    22.04.13 05:19 AM
    Very inspiring :) It's funny but I think some women life for their men to fight their battles for them. But your perspective just sheds light on the fact that we really only need someone there, that person who will completely and truly always believe us and put their faith in our feelings.
  • Khadija
    22.04.13 05:00 AM
    He sure did - I see him around now but he doesn't talk to me anymore. :)
  • Priyanka
    21.04.13 04:01 PM
    You are incredibly lucky. All men should me like this. My husband is like this rooting for me and encouraging me to take action should anything go wrong. you have a keeper there. Did your stalker back off then??

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