I didn’t want to have to do this, but it’s time for my first feminist rant.
Now look here. Georgia has abysmally poor gender relations. Not as bad as Iran, but much, much worse than America. I’m sorry to all the Georgians if it hurts to hear that, but it’s the truth.
I commented on a previous post that a lot of American girls were complaining because men were groping them, proposing marriage to them, refusing to take no for an answer, etc. A couple of people replied that it’s the same everywhere else. Well, I have news for you: actually, it’s not.
In America, we have laws against sexually harassing women. We have laws against unwarranted sexual touching. Sure, there are gropers in America, but there are also ad campaigns on the NYC subway telling women that if they are touched inappropriately they should tell an MTA employee who will call the cops. The American legal system isn’t perfect, but at least our society has an enforcement mechanism in place that is designed to protect women from predatory males.
Now, in Georgia, what do they have? They have the patroni system, in which Georgian men respect Georgian women because they are afraid of that woman’s male relatives. What is wrong with this picture? Anyone?
Well, it’s simple. Human beings are supposed to have rights regardless of how many male relatives they have. The fact is, calling a woman “upatrono” is an insult in this country. What does that word mean? It means that she doesn’t have a male relative to look after her. Why would a woman need one of those in a society with any respect for the basic fundamental idea that women are human beings just like men are?
Our TLG group was given days of training in which we were told over and over again, for hours, that women were not to go out alone. Women could not go to a bar alone. Women should not get in a cab alone. If possible, women should travel with male escorts.
Were these lies or exaggerations? In the group before ours, a Georgian man literally threw an American woman who he had just met over his shoulder at a local restaurant and tried to leave with her. In our group, an American woman was almost raped at the bar across the street from our training site. These are the most extreme incidents I have heard, but I have also heard about the insistent come-ons, the marriage proposals, the groping, and the general complete lack of decorum and respect for American women, basically every time they go out. Now, I know that we have these things in America, but we don’t have them happen so blatantly, frequently, and publicly. Women I know feel safe going out alone in New York City knowing that the odds are good that they won’t get groped by some asshole at a bar or a club. Women in NYC rarely field marriage proposals from complete fucking strangers.
Frankly, the fact that an American woman can’t feel safe taking a taxi cab alone at night in Tbilisi or going to a bar without a male chaperone is a shame on Georgia. And the fact that some people just laugh it off and say “well, that’s just the way it is, guys are the same everywhere” is also a shame. Anyone with any respect for women as human beings would be appalled by these stories and their frequency and ubiquity, but some people who commented on my previous post resorted to name-calling, denial, and xenophobic comments like “well nobody forced you to come here.”
So yeah, I’m kind of angry. The way it is for women in Georgia is not just the way it is, and even if it were, we should still want to change it because it’s fucking awful to treat women like property.
And getting on the internet and lying about it isn’t going to help, because the women who are here living this treatment are going to talk about it, and word of mouth will spread, and then if you’re not careful people in America will start lumping Georgia in with all those countries just to the south of Georgia where women cover their heads in public and get stoned to death for adultery. If you really want to make a good impression on the world, do something about the way the men here act instead of acting like it’s not a problem.