Sex and Gender in Georgia

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.

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180 Responses to Sex and Gender in Georgia

  1. George says:

    A benefit of this program that I had not previously realized is the opportunity to read stories written by foreigners acquainting themselves with various aspects of Georgian culture. With thousands of English teachers arriving over the next few years, we’ll be able to get many unique perspectives on various aspects of Georgian society. I hope others are able to articulate their thoughts and share their views as openly and articulately as this blogger.

    As for this blog post, please write an update on this topic at the end of your stay, based on your personal experience…

  2. Katie says:

    I often have a hard time with friends’ blogs. Just because someone is a good friend and a smart person does not mean they will necessarily be capable of compelling prose, and I’ve often intended to keep up with their writings but soon lost interest, or at least got distracted. I have, however, been following yours very closely because you do an awesome job writing about daily life there in a fascinating and very readable way, which includes both the good and the bad. Rock on.

    Native Georgians, I didn’t know one thing about your country and probably wouldn’t have cared to learn anything had it not been for this blog. If anything, you should look further back in this blog and be happy he’s cast so much in a positive light for all to see.

  3. temo says:

    Thank you for giving us some interesting tips on women rights and on gender issues, but… Do not push it, as your bloging with regard this is more and more becoming like comparing Georgia to US and stating how things are gr8 in US. As I could give you thousands of cases in which US legal system as well as a day today social life is worse even compared to the one of Georgia, but this will lead us to a different topic, which is way beyond the subject of this blog, but please take this into consideration.

    “if youโ€™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” ok this was a jewel of your last post, well thank you, but u know what? I could care less what the people who can not make a difference between the Gulf of Mexico and the Persian Gulf think about Georgia or its gender values.

    On the issue though:

    You gave some of the worse violations that could happen out there and yet gave this example as if it is the day to day activity of Georgian men to rape American women and do all the other stuff that u said.

    You, yourself admitted that this happens in US as well however, women can address to the authorities, who will solve the case, excuse me, but what interrupted the victims to do the same here? Did they call the police, and they did not arrest that particular person, or did not listen to them?

    You are saying that American women lack respect from Georgian males and that they are seeing as a sex slot machines, and are afraid to get a taxi cab at night in Tbilisi because they will be instantly sat on by aroused Georgians who have “I will rape you” written on their foreheads. Where do you find such people? With whom do you hang out for Christ’s sake? I have never heard of such thing, I have never seen people doing this kind of stuff and I have been to almost all the places where the foreigners hang out, because I like to go out there as well.

    We treat women like property? wow that is quite bold, and I know you will go back to the “patroni” thing. Well I am Georgian and have to say that 1) “patroni” is not used in the way u want the people to believe is used here, it is more of he/she has “friends” in the Government, high ranked politicians etc. 2) “patroni” is not the exact word for whatever you mean, but still brothers/fathers/uncles are sometimes used to deliver a woman from some unwanted attention from a male. HOWEVER this is rare, because “no” “ara” “net” eventhough pronounced differently have the same meaning everywhere and people do understand it. However it happens so that sometimes people do not and in this case police is called in, just like in US.

    The marriage proposals, ok this is really idiotic (I am not referring to your ideas) to me, cause they sound really odd. But well u said that they have happened so I will take that as it is. So 1) The proposing men were sober, in normal mental health? 2) Very practical (which still does not justify the actions of the men conducting this) meaning that this is the way to get a green card and many American women do this, get into fictional marriages for certain amount of money for their husbands to get a green card (seen couple of those back in US).

    The womens’ rights situation in Georgia is not perfect but it is not as horrible as u describe it is and the problems with womens rights are everywhere in US among them (otherwise all the campaigning and laws u were referring to would not be carried out).

    To sum up, the reason I am commenting on you blog is that, while the situation described here bares the “negative flavour” (I know as you said “Anyone with any respect for women as human beings would be appalled by these stories”), but still because of separate incidents that happened eventhough them being grave, does not give you the right to say that women are treated like property and stuff like that. I can give you the words of feminists in US that also would say that women are treated like property in US as well. So what i am saying no need to generalize.

    And one more try to avoid writing stuff like “steer shit up” “fuck’n” when writing about different culture or other traditions and on the so called “problematic issues” especially when you yourself are campaigning about the respective posts. Cheers, wow long post and I should get back to my thesis ๐Ÿ˜€

    • panoptical says:

      temo, why do you feel the need to change the subject? Sure, you could make a long list of bad things about America, and I’ll bet you five bucks that I could make it longer. However, the way Americans behave doesn’t excuse the way Georgians behave. Two wrongs don’t make a right. America has far to go, but Georgia has farther.

      This blog is mainly a service to Americans and people from the rest of the world who don’t know what it’s like in Georgia. It would be dishonest of me to pretend that there aren’t problems with gender relations in Georgia. Women in America who are thinking about coming here need to know that they won’t be safe in certain situations here. They deserve to understand what they are getting into.

      I know what things are like in the US and I understand how most Americans think, and believe me, from the perspective of most Americans, Georgia’s gender problems are real problems. Maybe from your perspective, they are not problems, but then, you aren’t a woman and you aren’t American, so you don’t really have anything at stake in the matter. You don’t have any reason to look around and really understand what women go through when they come here.

      • Gio says:

        I think you need to compare crime statistics in the CITY and Tbilisi. YOU ARE VERT FAR AWAY FROM REALITY! DO you even know what you are talking about? TBILISI IS MOST SAFE CITY which I have every seen. I have lots of foreign friends and none had any problems, if 1 foreigner got bad experience doesnt mean its the way country is. I tried to be very constructive but forgive me its not what you need. YOU NEED TO GO AND GET YOUR SEX LIFE ORGANIZED! I cant imagine how can you teach if you have this image of Georgia. I guess we need to work more on shortlisting out candidates for teachers as well.

        • panoptical says:

          This comment is not related to anything I said in this post. You are the one who is far from reality.

        • Gio says:

          Ok ๐Ÿ™‚

        • loooooooooool :))
          “TBILISI IS MOST SAFE CITY which I have every seen.”
          It got me thinking, what were the rest of the cities that you saw? ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜€

          P.S. you made my day ๐Ÿ˜€ really ๐Ÿ˜€

        • Anonymous says:

          so you should kiss mishas ass instead of cursing him GEORGIA! if it is a safe city, because if was not 11 years ago when I left if.

        • T says:

          anonymous, take your 11 years old bitterness and shove it back to your lousy self, meanwhile take a really good look to your self and explore it in the department of self criticism, you’ll be surprised what u mite discover ๐Ÿ™‚

        • pasumonok says:

          gio! open ur eyes! do u have any girls in ur life? ask them if a complete stranger has ever approached them in the street and told them something inappropriate. i refuse to believe that my friends, acquittances and i are the only females treated that way.
          once, a sick man grabbed my butt in the middle of rustaveli!!!
          last week, i walked into a “padiezdi” and some pervert showed me his dick!
          I yell at these people now, but when i was 14, i would just turn red and walk away. i have even cried. and i am not the only one!

    • Natalie says:

      Temo,
      Being away from Georgia for about 6 years, I have met many different cultures and nationalities, starting from middle eastern to the most liberal europeans and have never seen such an subjective approach to a different culture as it is in above mentioned article… You are so right in your comment and without pathetics, just thank you for expressing my thoughts!
      ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. American Girl in Georgia says:

    I have only been here a month and I have experienced more sexual harassment in this one month than I have ever received in all my years back home. Just the other night I got into a Taxi cab in Tbilisi and was told by the cab driver that I MUST sit in the front seat while repeatedly asking me if I was married. He even stopped the cab a few times on the side of the road until I told him NO/ARA for the 20th time. When he finally got the point he charged me more lari and said that it would have been less if I sat in the front with him. Not only that but I have gone to bars and clubs and been grabbed numerous times by drunken AND sober Georgian men who think that since Im a foreigner that their odds of having sex with me are close to 100%. I love Georgia as a country and I dont want these “gender-relations” to define it but damn, sometimes I want to go out alone without the risk of being grabbed, pulled or touched. Besides the men with no respect for women there are a million other things that I love about Georgia but to act like this country doesn’t have a problem is stupid because myself and countless other females who have arrived here have experienced it first hand. Georgian men do not do this with Georgian women–they do it with foreigners. Also, Temo, you should care what other countries think because if they really feel that this country is gender-backwards then no one is going to want to visit (loss of tourism) or do business in Georgia. And the fact of the matter is that in our first few DAYS in Georgia a female TLGer was almost raped. I saw the bruises and marks to prove it. There is a problem and downplaying it isn’t going to make it better. Its definitely something that should be addressed directly.

    • American Girl in Georgia says:

      I’d like to add that although I feel that this is a problem that are many other things that Georgia has to offer that totally makes up for it. Also, I have met many Georgian men who are incredibly respectful and nice. It just sucks that its something that as a foreign woman here Im going to sometimes have to deal with.

      • temo says:

        Thank you for that, i am a regular Georgian guy myself and god save me from such a thing as described above, i mean not everyone are like the ones described by the author. By saying that it is a general habit is to throw mud at a majority of normal people me among them who are respectful and friendly and know how to treat a woman.

      • ---> says:

        Let me agree with you that problem exists. But…. Neil did say that TLG folks were constantly instructed to follow certain guidelines (published in the previous post) before they understand local society better. These guidelines were specifically created to avert potential problems. So.. did these female TLG members who got into trouble followed instructions or not? If you are an American girl would you go and hang out in a bar in the middle of Mexico with locals ALONE? Why not?

        See, I’m not trying to shift a blame, just want to find out what exactly happened.

        On other note – what do you think would be the right way to address the problem? Realistic one – I think that having a policeman escort for every female TLG member would not be a reasonable or practical way to deal with the problem and many female TLG members would be offended with such kind of offer, is not it?

        • panoptical says:

          Here’s the problem.

          The TLG staff instructed all the women to follow certain guidelines. When I posted about the reasons for those guidelines I was met with a great deal of anger and indignation because, according to the commenters, I was stupid, exaggerating, bold, and repeating soviet-era fairy tales about remote mountain villages.

          So it’s hard for me to swallow the idea that Georgian society is not the way the TLG staff described it and simultaneously hold women personally responsible for following all the TLG guidelines because if they don’t do so they are taking a dangerous risk. It can’t be both ways.

          Unfortunately there is no quick or easy solution to the problem, although admitting that there is a problem in Georgian society with the way women are treated is an important first step, and I think it would be very helpful if more people in Georgia – Georgian and foreign alike – vocally confronted Georgians with the experiences that they have had. As we have seen here, it is far too easy for Georgians to say that the problem doesn’t exist or that it is being exaggerated.

          We do have similar problems in America, obviously – there are a lot of sex crimes that go unreported and most Americans are ignorant about the extent of the problem in America. When I first learned that one in four American women had been sexually assaulted, I literally could not believe it and I was offended that anyone would cast such aspersions on American men. However, since then I have taken the time to do research, talk to people, and challenge my own worldview, and hopefully the testimony of TLG volunteers in Georgia will help Georgians to do the same.

        • ---> says:

          Neil,

          NOW I can understand WHY TLG instructed you and other folks that particular way. In short (and it was said here before), their goal was to be safe than sorry. And here is why ‘sorry’ part might happen.

          First of all, thanks for your honest opinions which is expressed openly. This post probably will be a long one and I will try to explain certain things based on my own experience – I’ve spent mnimum 5 years in each of three different countries, have seen a lot of interesting things in life and I have something to share.

          I can tell you a story of an American guy who broke his leg while stepping down from a train in India. Reason for broken leg was that there was no step and he slipped.

          When you took NYC subway daily did you constantly need to look in front of you on an escalator because there might be a hole there instead of a step? Probably not.

          See, so many things are out there we take as granted, (including our own understanding of the right way treating women in a civilized society) thus we act subconsciously most of the time. As a result we never actually think about it – why we do things a certain way and not another.

          Let’s take Georgian society for example. What do we have here? Very short observations:

          1. The society is very conservative from Western standpoints – man are suppose to be providers of income and women are taking care of household needs. Society does not encourage women to be independent.
          2. Gender discrepancy at birth – it is the case that there are more boys born then girl. As a result, it is highly competitive, testosterone driven behavior where alpha male has a better chance to succeed on dating field.

          This (and many more factors) led to developing unwritten set of rules of gender roles which is also taken as granted within the society and people assume that things are in a certain way and not really questioning them. Why – because you do not miss anything you are not aware of. Only breaking out from the box (or breaking a leg) motivates for one to develop outside of box thinking and lead some people start to question the reality (AKA Matrix) around them.

          Let’s go back and consider a typical young (20-35 y.o.) Georgian male (let’s call him Ushangi). So Ushangi has like military ‘friend-foe’ identification system in his mind, but instead of friends and foes there are ‘Georgian Women’ and ‘Not a Georgian Women’ there when he treates females of his age/generation. The way he differentiates one from another is based on female’s behavior. See, it is not necessary to speak Georgian, but if a foreign women behaves the way average Georgian woman does she will get the same treatment from males.

          However, if a woman DOES NOT behave the way average Georgian woman does, she will get a treatment according to Ushangi’s stereotypes and fantasies. And trust me – going in a bar alone at midnight with bunch of guys is not something falling into ‘Georgian woman’s behavior’.

          I mentioned in my previous post that this situation has to do a lot to the Soviet past. See, Slavic women are much more promiscuous in gender relationship situation including sex before (and after) marriage with strangers. They’ve being coming in Georgia alone (or with girlfriends), hang out with local guys, go with them in restaurants and bars so after that can go and have good one night stand.

          And our hero Ushangi will have a cognitive dissonance when sees a Western woman going into a bar but is not willing to go and have sex with strangers. And that discomfort creates aggression. And aggression is a typical reaction for Alpha male type of behavior.

          Now about the agression. You’ve seemed surprised by number and viciousness of negative comments which were coming from Georgian guys. One reason if this type of behavior (when people instead of discussing subject start to insulting the opponent) is that in Georgian (Soviet) school and colleges never was taught (or is taught) Competitive Debate course and people were never taught how to interact and treat opponents.

          And because of the above reason when you’ve pointed towards the problem (from your point of view) instead of starting discussing pros and cons of the opinion they’ve started expressing their views what kind of problems you personally ot America (or other counties) have which had nothing to do with the subject of the discussion.

          Second reason for vicious responses is that you’ve questioned one of the pillars of Georgian society’s foundation – treatment of a woman by a man. Keep in mind, they’ve being outraged by assertion that Georgian men do not treat Georgian women with respect, not by the claim that Georgian men do not treat NON-Georgian women with respect. Which is actually also is insulting to this kind of people because you’ve basically said that Georgian men treat guests of their country like a livestock – that would be insult to another pillar of the society – hospitality.

          Please do keep expressing your opinions because you and your colleagues from TLG are catalyst for changes – you add to the critical mass which eventually will shatter the glass and break the box. And if someone from the local media will ask to share your opinions – please do because (this is one of the paradox of the society) Guest’s opinion matters. And if such an opinion is not alone it will force at least some people to start thinking and question current way of reality around them.

          Good luck. I really mean it.

          P.S. One friendly advice. DO NOT touch subject of religion and gay rights. Seriously.

        • panoptical says:

          Religion and gay rights, you say? Sounds like a good idea for a post… ๐Ÿ™‚

        • ---> says:

          Thank you. I’ll get out from my soap box, but…. แƒ˜แƒ“แƒ”แƒ”แƒ‘ แƒ แƒ แƒ•แƒฃแƒงแƒ? (C)

        • แƒฃแƒ˜, แƒแƒ  แƒ›แƒ”แƒ’แƒแƒœแƒ” แƒฅแƒแƒ แƒ—แƒ•แƒ”แƒšแƒ˜ ๐Ÿ˜€

        • ---> says:

          Well, I personally think that I’m Klingon.

        • Tamara says:

          Great speech on Ushangi psychology and lack of debate culture! from what I heard they started to introduce debate classes in certain schools and unis though ๐Ÿ™‚ I wonder if volunteers could contribute to forming debate clubs in their prospective schools? That would be awesome!

        • ---> says:

          Despite having history of millenniums modern Georgian society needs to learn a lot to understand what are set of rules of Western culture and how debates are held is one of them.

          And yes, it is right to start with the school and children because with adults who have formed their vision and philosophy of life change does not occur quickly.

          I really wish the best TLG folks in their efforts not only teach English but to transform the society. I do believe that one day their contribution into developing modern, open society in Georgia will be praised and earn high marks. But it will take years until the tree will bear its fruit.

        • panoptical says:

          Speaking of trees bearing fruit, I think my favorite thing about living in Georgia is having persimmon trees in my backyard and picking fresh fruit off them whenever I want. ๐Ÿ™‚

        • T says:

          oh, sure, why not, but many of us has a lot doubts about the competence of this people and the author of this blog, never mind others are pretty much the proof of this sentiment ….so, help me god and proof me wrong…

        • stumari says:

          OMG!
          “this is a very small world”
          first I was amazed how much you, as an American know about Georgia and Georgians, then I read that you are Georgian and was amazed how well can you see Georgia from the American point of view, then I thought “well, I have seen one Georgian-American who is THAT good, his nickname is …@LJ”, than I pointed my mouse to your “–>” and saw your LJ nick, and IS WAS the same name :)))
          Yura aka Stumari @ LJ

        • Anonymous says:

          > โ€œthis is a very small worldโ€

          Yep. One will see the same 200 people in the every place one goes… Nature of beast….

          Welcome here.

        • pasumonok says:

          excuse me?! i have a post about gay rights. is that a crime?

        • ---> says:

          You and Neil are not the same. ๐Ÿ™‚

        • Gay rights? But someone told me there are no gays in Georgia. ๐Ÿ˜›

      • Georg says:

        I know stories like that too. It isn’t new. It is sad.

        One can avoid unpleasant situations or resolve problems pretty quickly, when one gathers some experience.

        On the whole, Georgians make more physical contact (kissing, touching etc.) than you are used to ๐Ÿ™‚ Even men. That’s part of culture. ๐Ÿ™‚

        • panoptical says:

          I’m sorry, but this comment skirts too close to victim-blaming for me to let it pass.

          Sure, one can avoid unpleasant situations with experience, but that doesn’t justify the men who make those situations unpleasant. The burden shouldn’t be on women to know where to go and where not to go, what to do and what not to do. The burden should be on men to treat all human beings with respect, to learn that no means no, to refrain from touching people without their permission, and generally not to act like criminals or savages.

        • Georg says:

          In Georgia (as anywhere else in this world, like New York for example) there are places where a woman should not go alone or even together with other females, this is what I’m saying.

          In general, I think I understand what you are saying in your post, but if you combine this post with the “stinky Tbilisi metro post” it looks a bit arrogant to us, locals. These people have gone through wars and terror and the fact that they smell and can’t behave with women is sad, but that will hopefully change with time.

          Admittedly, I like what you are saying about males acting like savages (and I know much more stories about Georgian men treating women in unacceptable ways) .

          I read the story of a female TLG about being attacked by a local man. But didn’t understand why she didn’t call the police. Moreover, she stayed at the same place after the incident and had to confront the same guy several times during the same evening.

      • Irakli says:

        American Girl in Georgia. I am absolutely agree with you, In case if you are grabbed, pulled or touched by drunken Georgian men just call the police and they will definitely support you, those men have to be arrested because they deserve it! Simply they are loosers because the women do not like them, they do not have any chance to have relations with such nice girls like you are, because they are simply LOOSERS and IDIOTS and they are creatures which never will have the normal life with normal women!

    • Natalie says:

      The accidents happened to the author of this blog is a sad one, however should not be generalised to the entire male population of Georgia. Those men were unpolite and rude, I am sure they belong to the sort of men, who treats Georgian women in the same manner as foreigners.
      If talking about gender inequality, it would be unfair to refuse the screaming fact. The problem here is in double standards of the society towards the truth, for an instance: male heirs inherit more then females; In most of the cases girls who get married do not have share in parents’ real estate. I know many facts when the not married women were forced by their sisters-in-law to leave the house of their parents, because the house is regarded to belong to sons. It is really long list of ugly disbalance in georgian society.
      Another dark side of this double standard game is so called Virginity matter…well not much to say about it:) really, the guys can do whatever they want, with whoever they want; fathers even give money to their 16 YO sons to go and “become a man”…sorry, but the sisters of those boys can not wear even bikini on the beach!!!
      So to sum up, just the gossip is a deadly disease of georgian society, in cities or outside, privacy is a nonsence here…BUT, please make sure you check information before comparing Georgia to other countries, because all countries and cultures have their own history of being the way they are. It is impossible to copy and paste values from one country to another; It is not possible to have same standards for all. Do not ever imagine that once all will be similar just like Coke or KFC meals…
      Regards!

      • panoptical says:

        Actually, Coca Cola is different in almost every country. Mexican coke might be my favorite, or maybe Vietnamese, while Georgian and Cambodian cokes are some of the worst.

        On a more serious note, no “accidents” happened to me. I am describing experiences related to me by Georgian and non-Georgian women about the treatment they have received from Georgian males. And since I’m hearing about these things from so many people, you can hardly call them accidents. It seems more like a pattern of behavior.

  5. Georgian Guy says:

    Girls, just for fuck’s sake call the police every single time this happens! Do not show any compassion whatsoever to them, and do not get sad after those morons are dragged down to the police station. I guess, making cultural differences here is indirect idea too and please keep posting here. This is valuable.

  6. geoskeptic says:

    Firstly, whoever denies that gender relations and equality is a huge problem in Georgian society is either blind or simply does not have enough data about the country.
    Secondly, whoever says that gender inequality and sexual harrassment are good things is … alright, let’s not go there.

    Thanks for bringing up these topics. But I failed to see who was approving of either harrassment or rape in Georgia. These are grave problems Georgia needs to work on besides economy, unemployment, minorities, etc.

    I completely agree that many Georgian men (drunk or sober) see westerners as sluts and easy prey and sometimes they cross the line while trying to get laid with them. I’ve seen that myself. And that’s disgusting when it gets ugly.

    But the problem is far deeper and worse then you think. Sorry but billboards wouldn’t help here. What we need is more free sex (yippie!). But lots of males still want virgin wives.. and lots of girls still want to get married with the men who are obsessed with hymen.. I’ve heard lines like – “yes I would like to have sex with the guy I date .. but what if we break up and I fall in love with another guy? he would never marry me when he finds out I’m not a virgin”.

    The resolution (might seem a pretty easy one) would be for the girls to say fuck you to someone who rejects them for not being a virgin, right? Soon there would be no virgins and non-virginity would be an accepted norm. Well.. maybe we’re getting there : ) but this doesn’t happen in 1, 2 or three years in a pretty conservative society like a Georgian one. Most of the people (children and parents and their parents) still have to live together because of screwed economy ffs. A LOT has to change before you get a strong and an independent woman who can break free of overprotective parents, brothers and uncles and live an open sex life without worrying that she’ll have to die alone because of not being a virgin at the age of 35.

    Until that sex will unfortunately be a “super down-low hush-hush” for most of the population.

    P.S.: what you can and MUST do if you encounter harrassment or anything illegal is to report to the police. Please. That’s both for your and for Georgia’s good.

  7. Gio says:

    Its interesting where do you get info about this “PATRONI” system ? I am really surprised to see all this horrible experience you are having in Georgia. I guess its the mattar of where you are, but even if its that, really strange.
    You should in in wrong hands with wrong people around you. Thats not what Georgia is and how we live. I am deeply sorry for your bad experience.

    • geoskeptic says:

      I haven’t heard about “patroni system” either…
      What I know is that in some more conservative families fathers and brothers tend to be overprotective control freaks who try to make sure their daughters and sisters don’t date the “wrong” guys, don’t have sex before marriage, etc.

      • you have not heard of patroni system? Common guys, you have never heard “แƒ›แƒแƒ’แƒแƒก แƒ›แƒ” แƒฃแƒžแƒแƒขแƒ แƒแƒœแƒ แƒฎแƒ แƒแƒ  (แƒจแƒ”แƒกแƒแƒซแƒšแƒแƒ แƒแƒกแƒ”แƒ•แƒ” “แƒฎแƒฃแƒแƒ ”) แƒ•แƒ’แƒแƒœแƒ˜แƒ•แƒแƒ ?” ๐Ÿ˜€
        Yeah, patroni is brother, friend who considers you your little “แƒ“แƒแƒ˜แƒ™แƒ” cousin and many more ๐Ÿ˜€

        And we ALL have heard of it. “แƒฉแƒ”แƒ›แƒ˜ แƒซแƒ›แƒ แƒจแƒ”แƒœ แƒแƒฌแƒฃแƒฎแƒ”แƒ‘ แƒฉแƒ”แƒ›แƒ˜ แƒžแƒแƒขแƒแƒ แƒ แƒ“แƒแƒ˜แƒ™แƒแƒก?” WTF (rofl)

        • Gio says:

          There is one name for: . โ€œแƒฉแƒ”แƒ›แƒ˜ แƒซแƒ›แƒ แƒจแƒ”แƒœ แƒแƒฌแƒฃแƒฎแƒ”แƒ‘ แƒฉแƒ”แƒ›แƒ˜ แƒžแƒแƒขแƒแƒ แƒ แƒ“แƒแƒ˜แƒ™แƒแƒก?โ€ – its called Mafia Mentality – and Georgia has decided to fight it, there’s a law about it and people go to jail for sharing mafia mentality.

          As for โ€œแƒ›แƒแƒ’แƒแƒก แƒ›แƒ” แƒฃแƒžแƒแƒขแƒ แƒแƒœแƒ แƒฎแƒ แƒแƒ  (แƒจแƒ”แƒกแƒแƒซแƒšแƒแƒ แƒแƒกแƒ”แƒ•แƒ” โ€œแƒฎแƒฃแƒแƒ โ€) แƒ•แƒ’แƒแƒœแƒ˜แƒ•แƒแƒ ?โ€ – its so called แƒ’แƒแƒ˜แƒ›แƒแƒ‘แƒ

          And how can any father/brother/whoever say if someone is โ€œwrongโ€? or how can one “make sure that you are not having sex before marriage?” All of that is just absurdity

        • Well apparently แƒ’แƒแƒ˜แƒ›แƒแƒ‘แƒ is very common in Georgia ๐Ÿ˜€
          That is not mafia mentality, nobody puts anyone in jail for that. Mafia mentality is not as common as it was a few years ago, I agree.
          But, if you are Georgian you must have taken part in an epic ritual of แƒ แƒแƒ–แƒ‘แƒแƒ แƒ™แƒ ๐Ÿ™‚
          Your sister, or just female friends probably call you and ask you to take care of some bustard who has somehow insulted them ๐Ÿ˜€
          If you’ll say you have never had such an experience i will be very surprised (nod)

        • Gio says:

          I guess its time for surprises ๐Ÿ™‚ Welcome to contemporary reality.

          No wish to do in deeper discussion about mafia and legal punishment. But look closely to Criminal Code of Georgia ๐Ÿ™‚ You’ll see lot more surprises there:)

  8. I read it and i don’t know what to say.
    I am ashamed really.
    I understand what you mean, and I also know that it is true. And no matter how embarrassing it is, i wont start denying it. Gender thing in Georgia is really dreadful.

    I am really sorry, and I apologize on behalf of every normal Georgian.
    I sure hope, you will get to meet some good people here as well.

    • For those who apparently did not get what i said.
      I apologized to the female teachers who had to experience harassment from Georgian men.
      i did NOT apologize to the author because HE CANNOT GET ONE NIGHT S STAND ! That does not matter much to me personally.
      While i am pretty ashamed because of gender inequality in my country.

      That is all.

  9. T says:

    apologize???? give me a break girlwithparanoia , are you really out of your mind….i wonder what kind of American will decide to apologize to me for those damages I went through with my working experience in one of the wealthiest town of upstate New York … have been denied from all legal protection and mandatory claim by local police for the sake of the benefit of peaceful existence under the kind of ” don’t ask don’t see attitude” between arrogant new cooked wall street cats and well maintained by them police department, never mind local civil court, but i guess in my case things went just not perfect and i had to suck it up and move on without any publicity, which i did by using my common sense, not any instructions from constitutional guideline for good.
    It is outstanding how Americans protect there well been, even by been outside of the US border they manage to be so pretentious….had a lot of lough from been buggy-mend by “patroni” and it does not mean, that i do not get pissed off from the ignorance of common Georgia men…
    However, until today, after 8 years i am avoiding next block in NYC with project residents, because of potential harassment risks it mite involve… i guess again my common sense, is not it…
    and about been laid in Georgia; deer blogger, i am sympathetic to your frustration, but still i wonder if your expectations been met with real chances of yours having one night stand sex with best gorgeous Georgian women, i would guess you willingly choose from the crowd you’ve been tossed into, did you ever consider the options of been turned down by them, just because of not been turned on by your “American” charm, never mind sex appeal.
    Little advice; do not choose miser way off living, it will not get you best for nothing even in Georgia , there is no free lunch darling nowhere, you should know better and use best of life guideline, the common sense, good luck.

    • ๐Ÿ™‚ Sorry to hear about all the bad stuff that have happened to you, apparently ๐Ÿ™‚ But, do you think it is fear to start attacking when you are told the truth?
      You disagree that gender equality situation is really bad here?
      You are out of your mind, if you do ๐Ÿ™‚

      P.S. this is not about one night stands, really ๐Ÿ™‚

      • T says:

        who’s attacking and why you think i was asking for your pity, don’t you think you little nonaddictive with your comments deer.

      • T says:

        “P.S. this is not about one night stands, really “…..is that so…..
        definitely not about marriage, that undertood, mature intimate relationship (gf/bf ) requires some time darling, so other than that all kinds of intimesy comes down to one night stand, no string attached…fuck patroni…. period.

      • T says:

        “You disagree that gender equality situation is really bad here?
        You are out of your mind, if you do”
        darling….u tell me were is good and i may find some peace of mind, besides in which part of my post i articulated this kind of sentiment ????

        • ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜€ aggression is not nice reaction ๐Ÿ™‚
          1. People don’t have to ask for somebody’s pity, it’s a matter of understanding really. Maybe you find it difficult to believe but i sometimes feel sorry if I hear that people are in trouble, or have gone through trouble, without them asking for it :D.
          2. “this is not about one night stand” meant that this is about gender inequality. And the situation, we Georgians got used to, but in reality is abnormal. Gender inequality is very serious matter, and i was really ashamed to read how Georgian men have embarrassed themselves. Once again, the fact that Americans do things wrong too, does NOT make us right. It just makes both of us wrong.
          3.As I already mentioned, my comment was concerning gender inequality and the experience female teachers got in Georgia, So basically, you got me wrong. I apologized to them, you started talking about what Americans did wrong, than i said that attacking is not a good thing to do, when you are told the truth and now you are telling me “which part of my post i articulated this kind of sentiment ????”
          It does not make sense to me ๐Ÿ˜€
          We are talking about COMPLETELY different things ๐Ÿ™‚ I was concentrated on gender inequality aspects of the article, You were concentrated on something else ๐Ÿ˜€ i don’t know ๐Ÿ˜€

        • BTW ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜€ deer is not a nice word to call a girl ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜€ http://www.google.ge/search?client=opera&rls=en&q=deer&sourceid=opera&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8

        • T says:

          thank you nice girl, with such a deer attitude ๐Ÿ˜€ …take good care of your self ๐Ÿ˜€

        • T says:

          “aggression is not nice reaction”…who are you addressing this words sweet heart, if you think by “feeling sorry ” or “been ashamed” for someone your best shut of expression for empathy, trust me you have some negative emotional problems, no wonder about oversensitivity of your comments on others so cold “trouble”….. “We are talking about COMPLETELY different things” not quiet true, we are talking about same from different angle and perspective, i see yours very well, been there some time ago, you just need to grow up and taste the flavor for life, so cold “troubles”, as many as possible, be safe only and have a wonderful journey ๐Ÿ™‚

        • ๐Ÿ™‚ What I don’t understand is your negativity towards me. Just read my comments and then read yours:) I’ve NOTHING negative.
          Now about “we are talking about completely different things” part, believe or not, we are.
          As I already mentioned several times I am talking about gender inequality part, you are talking that you don’t like Americans (which is NOT my concern) and also that you don’t feel sorry for the guy who cannot have sex for a year (neither do i BTW)
          So, in the end, lets put it this way, stop being cynical with me, I am not in fault in your having a bad day. And If you really have something against WHAT I SAID put it in a more understandable way. Because I don’t really get it. When I am saying I am ashamed that there is no gender equality here, you get angry and say “give me a break” when I ask you don’t think that gender equality situation is very bad in Georgia, you get angry and start being cynical and “which part of my speech caused such sentiments”.
          So, If you really disagree in anything WHAT I SAID, just say in what, so that I could answer. and if you are just getting read of your negative emotions with me .. WTF get some pillow or something and fight it ๐Ÿ˜€
          P.S. About me being a nice GIRL and not experiencing trouble ๐Ÿ™‚ I just wish that neither you, and nor anybody else would experience what i have ๐Ÿ™‚ SO, don’t go in that direction ๐Ÿ™‚ This is just funny ๐Ÿ™‚

        • T says:

          O.K….. i am giving up with you girl ๐Ÿ™‚ i have the feeling that you flirting with everybody here including me ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ so forget it darling, i am middle age mother of teenage boys and i am not looking forward to kidnap you for none of them… sorry ๐Ÿ™‚
          however….it was the joke dear, i mean the kidnapping part ๐Ÿ™‚ do not take it in any other way…the joke was also the first phrase i wrote to you about the state of your mind and it was the association to your nickname “girlwithparanoia” ๐Ÿ™‚ you must agree, it’s sounds very funny and sarcastic for the person who went through a lot and survived, but i guess it was just your subconscious blink choice, nothing cognitive, which reminds me of Nietzsche for that meter, quote; “What does not kill you makes you stronger” it is true for everybody, must be for you too, because everything in life happens for good reasons, you just not there yet and it is O.K. darling, do not pity your self, don’t be so harsh on your self, do not be ashamed of something you have no control off, i could given you big hug if i had the chance now, but can’t, so take this (hug) and :* with kind smile ๐Ÿ™‚ and believe me i have never thought of you in any negative way, calm down darling and again, best wishes to you for lifetime ๐Ÿ™‚

        • ๐Ÿ˜€ Lady, you made me literally ROFL first time in my life ๐Ÿ˜€
          If, not being middle aged and having no children = flirting with everybody, I am intending to start working on my children straight away, then I will have to wait a few years to become middle aged AND MAYBE then I will be able to regain my reputation ๐Ÿ˜€
          So, I would LOVE to hear what you had to say, but apparently you have some difficulties expressing yourself in an understandable way, you point keeps jumping from here to there. So, as i already see that’s not gonna be possible.
          It was nice to talk to FLIRT with you though (rofl)
          Have a good day ๐Ÿ™‚
          P.S. i SO do not understand what you’re saying that actually i never noticed you mentioned bride napping somewhere ๐Ÿ˜€

        • T says:

          i don’t know what is wrong with your reputation, don’t even care honestly, but suggesting to your self “I am intending to start working on my children straight away” is not a bed idea, but still do your self a favor and start working on your lovemaking skill and it is OK to flirt around ๐Ÿ™‚ why u got so defensive about this remark darling, u do not have to ROFL, just relax and take an easy ๐Ÿ™‚ and again best wishes for your long lifetime ๐Ÿ™‚

        • You are one funny and provocative lady ๐Ÿ˜€
          I wish I knew you in real life ๐Ÿ˜€
          P.S. No worries about my reputation ๐Ÿ˜€ you are too conserned ๐Ÿ˜€

    • panoptical says:

      T, my frustration is with the experiences that my female friends and acquaintances in TLG have had with men in Georgia. So, I don’t think that you actually are sympathetic, since you haven’t said anything to address the fact that this harassment happens daily in Georgia.

      • Georg says:

        what about the negative experience that Georgian girls have with horny, drunk Americans who think all girls should want to jump into their beds only because they are US citizens? I’ve seen Americans pulling down their pants in the bar in Tbilisi and in this way showing their respect to this country.

        When you came to Georgia, you had no idea where you were coming but locals have already met foreigners before, so local girls know for sure what to expect from them.

        • panoptical says:

          This isn’t a game that you win by citing the worst crime. If Americans are behaving badly when they come here, that is a problem. In fact, in my previous post I warned American guys that they would have to deal with the fact that it might be harder for them to have sex in a more conservative society and advised them to act like human beings anyway. It is not as if I am ignorant of the fact that American men might deal with some frustrations when they come here.

          However, what you are doing here is changing the subject. You are in effect suggesting that I should ignore the fact that American girls are coming here and being harassed, assaulted, and raped by Georgian men at an alarming rate, just because you claim that you once saw an American man take his pants off in a club. That attitude is inhuman.

        • T says:

          “You are in effect suggesting that I should ignore the fact that American girls are coming here and being harassed, assaulted, and raped by Georgian men at an alarming rate”
          this is one hell of the accusation, i would suggest you provide the proof for this kind of accusation, other wise my best wish for my government should be the motion for bringing you in criminal, or civil court for defamatory charges.

        • Georg says:

          Well, I just gave one example, can give more, but ok will “not change the subject”.
          How many cases of rape do you know? Did the victims report the Police? Believe me if that really happens the Georgian will take very serious measures .

          You said you work in the Police Academy (I’m sorry if I’m wrong). Do you discuss these problems you mention here with the Georgian policemen?

        • Georg says:

          in the previous post I meant that the Georgian government will take measures, sorry, I omitted a word.

        • panoptical says:

          I know of one attempted and one completed rape. Unfortunately if the victim chooses not to go to the police for whatever reason, there’s nothing I or the Georgian police can really do about the situation except make people aware of the danger.

      • T says:

        oh, really????
        So get out of there, common sense should of told you that long time ago if it is so bed, who you complaining here???? you like to shear your pathetic frustration on the web, but do not even busier to confront police???? you think it does make any sense???
        believe me you got moor then enough sympathy for you hypocrisy from me , then i usually allowing to my self, so quit this crap, take my kind advice ๐Ÿ™‚

      • T says:

        oh, really????
        So get out of there, common sense should of told you that long time ago if it is so bed, who you complaining here???? you like to shear your pathetic frustration on the web, but do not even busier to confront police???? you think it does make any sense???
        believe me you got moor then enough sympathy for you hypocrisy from me , then i usually allowing to my self, so quit this crap, take my kind advice ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Well, let me be an American to apologize for any bad behavior you’ve received from my peeps, and to also reiterate we’re not ALL bad. Just the majority of us. ๐Ÿ˜‰ NYC is a crazy city and you’ve got to know which blocks you stroll on. And about our legal system, yeah, it’s a pain in the bum, no arguing there. Better than some Eastern bloc systems though, so we’ve got that going for us.

      All the Georgians who come to me for help to fill out green card forms i think are crazy, especially as they’re villagers. And they want to go to NY without a job or education?! I can’t imagine how difficult it’s been for you there, as Americans have such a different society, and in some ways, a much harsher one than in Georgia.

  10. fellowtlger says:

    yes, your post kind of scares me considering that i just got to my host family in tbilisi two days ago — is it good reinforcement though, yes? will i now make sure to take the trusted family taxi home? def.

    … and this time around, tlg told us not to lie about having a bf/fiance/husband. so, ive been honest about being single. but ive also said “yeah, im not really interested in having a georgian boyfriend. i hear they think americans are sluts. and im not a slut”

    • :))))
      How old are you people? ๐Ÿ˜€

      It is just too cute ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜€

      No they don’t think you are sluts ๐Ÿ˜€ They just think you are not Georgian girls. which is not a bad thing, trust me ๐Ÿ˜€

      • geoskeptic says:

        maybe not exactly sluts but many Georgian men do think they are easier than Georgian girls, right? besides it’s a lot of curiousity too.

        they even think that Georgian girls who are living or have lived in europe or USA are easy to get : )

        I know that it’s true for many.

        what I don’t like in the comments of these posts is aggressive reaction of my fellow Georgians. I particularly don’t like how we react to criticism. It looks like we take most of it too personally.. doesn’t matter how right or wrong the author is we should be able to either agree in a calm fashion or disprove the wrong criticism in the same calm fashion…

        • temo says:

          Mild aggression i would say, that is what happens when someone having no clue about the culture and the regular social life of ordinary people (living here for 2 months does not make you an expert on Georgian gender issues) compares you to Iran and defines the the relations of Georgian men and women as of the relation to a property.

        • Yeah, I agree. About Easy part.
          But should I state their stereotypes about Georgian girls, that stereotype will become sooo mild ๐Ÿ˜€

    • Gio says:

      What you hear is not correct:) I’ve lived many years in US and obviously lived in Georgia. There may be some guys who thinks that way but, hey that gets on individual level and society cant be judged on that. Trust me we dont think of you as sluts.

  11. Tamara says:

    Culture, or the lack of one – that is a question ๐Ÿ™‚

    Temo, as you very correctly noted the author has lived in Georgia for only 2 months and does not have a prior experience with “mildly exotic countries” like ours ๐Ÿ™‚ To the better or worse, her understanding and perception of our culture (whatever implied under this term:)) will evolve after some time. So why should you or anyone else feel personally offended by the opinions stated here? Not everybody (foreigners included) is lucky enough to have only ‘azrze mosuli’ acquaintances and/or “tusovka” in Geo it turns out. :))))

  12. Nino says:

    Hi there,

    I am so sorry to hear that you have had such experiences in Georgia. Honestly, I was surprised to hear many things (like “patroni” issue) but overall, I can understand how disturbing, upsetting and discouraging these experiences can be..

    I myself am a woman, 27 year old, Georgian and have gone out alone quite a few times (which is not common in Georgia – either for a woman or a man – people always go out as a group, at least two..) but I have never been harrassed.. There were some offers though to join the others in the bar/restaurant, but not in an offensive way, more like a ‘pityful’ way that I was alone ๐Ÿ™‚ .. My girlfriends and I go out often, but never feel threatened or have been harrassed.. Also, we have been walking down the streets (but again, depends which streets :)) and feel safe.. From time to time, there is always one jerk, coming up and asking for a phone number and inviting you for a drink and not taking a “no” for an answer.. After I say “No thank you” a few times, then I just keep ignoring and finally he goes away..

    Now, my guess is that this happens because there is a stereotype that some foreigners are easy to get (which of course is not a justification, still it is horrible), but I would say, it depends greatly where you go out.. Do you live in Tbilisi?

    Sometimes, even compliments can seem harrassing (sometimes they are!) – and people get surprised why you get upset on their complements..It’s a cultural thing.. Once a taxi driver asked me “Where shall I take you my beautiful lady?” and I got so pissed, started yelling at him that such a statement was inappropriate (plus I was on some hormone pills ;)) .. He was so shocked, he appoligized and said he did not mean to insult me.. then I asked, “would you ask any men “where shall I take you my handsome man?” and for a second, he was startled, then puzzled, then I do not know – got out of the cab ๐Ÿ™‚

    I just called Police and asked, if a foreigner feels threatened, if there is a hotline to call and report in English and I was told that some operators do know English, but it is always good to have someone else call and report in Georgian.. That’s too bad.. But, if the taxi or a similar incident would occur again, I would recommend you saying that you will call police (I definitely would..)

    I myself have lived in the States as an exchange student and totally loved it.. there were some moments I did not particularly like, but the overall experience was so great, that I do not recall the other issues as bad memories.. I hope that you will be able to experience a true Georgian hospitality (which sometimes is overwhelming), friendly attitude and you will not have to face such upsetting experiences.. Plus, once you get to know more about Georgian culture, I am sure you will understand that some things that seemed to be insulting, are not meant to be insulting, it’s just cultural differences (but I also hear the other issues that you have stated in your post).

    • panoptical says:

      Thank you for your comment. I am glad that you feel safe here in Georgia. However, non-Georgian women are not safe in Georgia. As I said, I have already heard about my fellow teachers being harassed, groped, assaulted, and raped by Georgian men.

      This is not an issue of cultural difference. This is a matter of crimes against humanity. There are certain acts which are regarded as immoral in all ages, in all cultures, in all circumstances, and sexual assault is one of those acts.

      I have heard all sorts of explanations as to why non-Georgian women are unsafe in Georgia. Some have said that it is because of Hollywood. Others have said that it is because Ukrainian women are sluts. Others have said that it is because of some unique Georgian history. Others have said that it is because American women don’t have a patroni to stand up for them. Frankly, I do not care. I am not interested in listening to justifications for harassment, sexual assault, and rape. In my opinion, these acts cannot be justified, ever, in any culture, at any time.

  13. Tamara says:

    “I myself have lived in the States as an exchange student and totally loved it.. there were some moments I did not particularly like, but the overall experience was so great, that I do not recall the other issues as bad memories..”
    That depends on a type of personality and experience ๐Ÿ™‚ in other words you are lucky Nino ๐Ÿ˜€

    “I am sure you will understand that some things that seemed to be insulting, are not meant to be insulting, itโ€™s just cultural differences” that’s a good point. What is considered a “normal behavior” In Georgia, can often be regarded insulting elsewhere. For example, we have a peculiar sense, or rather no sense of respect for personal space; We tend to get too close when we talk, touch, lean and etc., which is really embarrassing sometimes. A couple of years ago I encountered a situation when a German guy was convinced he was attacked by 2 young Georgians, while these Georgians were actually trying to socialize with him (the way they understood it). They tried to talk about German football, beer, women and similar uninteresting stuff. Alas, their vocabulary was limited to “Gitler kaput!” and “meine muskulaturen” (don’t ask me where they got the last phrase from) with their English just slightly better. The boys were loud, emotional, used their hands a lot and touched the poor German every now and then. The less the German seemed to understand, the more Georgians tried to “explain”, they got really close to the guy and almost shouted in his ears in a strange mixture of English, Georgian and German…… It took quite some time to calm them all down in the end ๐Ÿ˜€
    Although, the whole situation might seem quite amusing to us, Georgians, I bet it was not at all amusing for the German tourist, who might never forget his encounter with “Georgian bullies”. ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. salome says:

    As many others, sorry about your or your acquaintances’ bad experiences. But seriously, any training aside, think of being in Georgia as being in Mexico (not Cancun) or any other latin american setting. It might be much easier for you to adapt. Although, truly, there are Americans which never get used to that either. But in any case, calling the police is always a good idea – you do have cell phones in the regions too, don’t you?
    I don’t know what kind of training you got when you got here, and I know even Peace Corps volunteers got some problems after their extensive training, but much less. Maybe they had different expectations, maybe different training or they were able to adapt to local ways better.
    In any case, good luck and hopefully your year will go better, because there’s more to Georgia than going to bars by yourself (even though I wonder what a bar in rural Georgia is) .

  15. litterator says:

    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.

    I may say that it is exaggeration. I’ve never heard staff like this from foreigners.
    We do have gender problems, but these problems stand on the way of major improvements.
    Rules and traditions vary in Georgia according to regions, districts, cities, towns and families; all these are very individual and exceptional.
    So everything depends on where you are and what kind of people surround you.

    Good or bed can be seen everywhere, both need all of us either to support or to improve it.

  16. O.K. says:

    Well, as it was already said above, such instructions were given just to be safe from incidents, nothing more than that.

    A. Girls don’t take a cab alone – never even heard that someone would have that problem, its just a bullshit.

    B. Girls don’t go out alone – actually nobody does that in Georgia. It kinda sucks to go out alone, we just don’t do it. So there’s nothing gender specific with that.

    C. Someone might grope a girl if she’s alone (without Patron) – from your post, it sound like Georgia is a PIMP country… Anyways, girls will be approached and hit, but there is no way you would see any aggression with that (some exceptions occur of course, everywhere, some here, some there).

    D. Someone might grope an American girl if she’s alone (without Patron) – oh well, not the fault of Georgians – its Hollywood where Georgians see/learn about Americans. Its not the fault of Georgian guys in that bar that would see every American girl as a Paris Hilton loose type girl. You need to get to US, to learn that its not true. Or bring 10,000 here ๐Ÿ™‚

    Anyways, don’t criticize and don’t put the blame on Georgia with that, its absolutely unfair. Instead, criticize the media and hollywood for building that image for American nation. No offense with that tho, i know that there is nothing wrong with the Nation, but the image is… anyways, just judging from your logic, I presume you are just not really familiar with the global perception of USA, Americans, and American way of life. I know that image has absolutely nothing to do with reality, but unfortunately thats the one that everyone got for american girls and american behavior in general… not only in Georgia, but everywhere outside USA itself.

    And thats the actual, and correct rationale behind those instructions that your girls were given. Every other guy in Georgian bars just thinks that every other American girl is just a slut, and will sleep with him right away. You don’t like it? Quit criticizing Georgian sex life, and complaining about that, and teach the opposite instead ๐Ÿ™‚

    • panoptical says:

      A. My friend came to visit me this weekend. She took a cab from Dzveli Ubani to Gldani. The cab driver proposed marriage to her several time. He pulled over his cab three times and demanded that she sit in the front seat next to him. He insisted that he was a good man.

      Maybe Georgian women have some way of interpreting this sort of behavior that is derived from the fact that they have been treated like property for their whole lives, and my friend was just experiencing “cultural shock.” However, the experience was frightening and unpleasant for her, and she did not feel safe, and thus I would say that it is totally fair to advise women not to take a cab alone at night.

      B. It’s not that girls can’t spend an evening alone, it’s that girls can’t leave their house alone. I have a friend who went with her host brother to a local market. A man started harassing her and touching her without her consent. Her host brother told this man several times to go away, but the man kept touching her and trying to talk to her in Georgian. Finally, the host brother screamed at the man and he went away.

      If my friend had not had a man to protect her, how would she have gotten rid of this attacker?

      C. Your interpretation of aggression is so completely irrelevant that I feel like I’m wasting my time by even addressing it. When a woman is hit on by a stranger who won’t go away when she says no, that is experienced as aggression. The fact that you don’t even understand how that experience is possible means that you have no sympathy for women, which means that what you have to say about women’s issues is less than irrelevant.

      D. You must have some psychological problems to make a comment like this. If a man sexually assaults a woman, it is not her fault and it is not a third party’s fault – it is his fault. And if you really don’t care when a woman gets groped, you are literally the most sexist person that I have ever had a conversation with.

      Georgia would be much better off without people like you.

      • O.K. says:

        Honestly have NO clue why would you get my comment as sexist… I never said that all that [whatever i said] is right, just explained the background story. Its just the wrong perceptions, which need to be corrected, through education, sending more people there, or bringing 10.000 here. Anyways, again:

        1. all the stories that you told, are just wrong. Such things just don’t happen here. There might be cases some here, some there, but that doesn’t mean that its a common thing. Maybe we do not have the same gender equality here, as in US, we don’t in fact, but I would never say that women’s rights are abused here in any way. Nobody is groping, assaulting or doing any wrong to anyone. Of course there are some nutheads everywhere, and that is why you just need to know where to go, and where not. And its exactly the same everywhere, in Georgia, in US or in South Africa. All that bridenapping and everything is true, but its behind. Such things just don’t happen any more. I lived here for too long, I’m not some patriotic nuthead, who would defend the country with bshit lyrics on the blogs, don’t really care, but i honestly never heard anything like these stories…

        2. I believe you got mad about what I wrote about American girls, and that ‘its not a fault of a Georgian guy if he gropes one’. Well, wording might not be correct, but it still doesn’t have anything to do with sexism, or assault or predatory. I never said that its right, I was just trying to politely explain that its not the craziness of Georgian guys (only), but the problem that lies very far from them/here. Again, it is the global perception of American women that they are willing to sleep with every stranger in the bar. Thats not what I believe, not what I think, as I mentioned up there, but its just how the rest of the world perceives you guys. I was just trying to explain the rationale behind the instructions you were given (every guy will think you girls are sluts and would and should sleep with them), and the background story of why every Georgian guy tries to grope one.

        Anyways, if you just forget all of that, I’ve lived in few American cities for quite long, and as an American, would you say that if one or two cute girls go to a bar, alone, would they be safe from some redheads hitting and groping them? NOOOOO!!!

        So, just try to drop all of it, quit complaining and insulting everyone around, and enjoy your stay here, and do some good. Teach people some good English, and teach them that all they think about Americans has nothing to do with reality. And if you don’t like it here, after a while, just leave. It was really hard to ignore the offensive attitude in your comment, but i did it. Peace off.

        • Georg says:

          Hard to talk with people who have just experienced cultural shock.

          But basically I was also suggesting the same:

          Americans arriving now to Georgia are victims of the reputation that Americans in general have in the underdeveloped, third world (call it whatever you want) countries: “sex and money is what is important, all the rest is crap”.

        • You can’t say “things like that just don’t happen here.” They do happen. EVERY foreign female (American and European both) I know and a slew of Georgian females I know have had problems with taxi drivers offering extra services and marriage proposals, and I’ve been here over a year, so i know a good deal of them. It is a lot more common than you can even imagine, especially in Tbilisi. Just because you deny that it happens doesn’t mean it doesn’t. Maybe it’s never happened to you personally and maybe it hasn’t happened to anyone you know (or at least, they haven’t told you), but it happens commonly.

  17. Katiee.Ge says:

    I did not have courage to read all the comments and I’m not even sure that even the blog author had enough.
    Probably lots of things were already said, explained, or maybe not.
    I’ll just say some words on my behalf:

    I was also “trained” before going to Bruxelles that we, exp.girls where not recommended to go out alone at night, even in groups with other girls and walking in the street I realized I had to get this advice into serious. And it was Bruxelles, not Tbilissi.

    ( i’m not even sure, are you in Tbilisi or in any other city/village? The attitude, culture, everything really varies according to where you are )

    Probably it happens more or less everywhere, different attitude towards foreigners, towards women, towards lgbt, etc. Better in US, worse somewhere else.

    You all will have a cultural shock for sure, I had it when I moved to GERMANY. and believe me, it was NOT a POSITIVE shock, completely vice versa. The 1st 5 months I spent in Germany was the toughest in my life. Not because it was worse than in Georgia, for sure – NOT. It was just DIFFERENT, very different, and i needed time to get used to the local culture, though I’m quite flexible.

    I’d just advice you to relax and to be patient. Tbilisi is quite safe, if you are afraid of taxi drivers, just take the on-call taxi (78-78-78, 511 or the cheaper ones 91-06-07, 36-31-27 etc) , where you’ll feel much safer :))

    In case you need any help, you may always contact me or any other blogger. It’s a kind of collegiality and hospitality to help you, Blogger-TLGs :)))

    • ---> says:

      >if you are afraid of taxi drivers
      Neil is 6 ft something (if I remember correctly his self-description) mid-20 male so I do not think he would be easily scared by taxi drivers, other way around would more realistic.

      He refers mostly to the experience of female TLG volunteers and that account HAS NOT yet disputed by anyone. And this is the real problem.

      Moreover other foreigners in comments did confirm pretty much every single observation he made. Well, not in that quite harsh and bold terms Neil is describing, but this is still the case.

      • Katiee.Ge says:

        Ok, I addressed generalized “you” – whoever he/she is.
        I myself, have one experience when I got afraid of a taxi-driver and that’s why I’m mostly using the on-call taxi service.

        Regarding comments and confirmations: I did not read those discussions below the post, that was too much ๐Ÿ™‚

        • ---> says:

          You should. Because some men in the comments have following to reply:

          “What you describe it total lie, because it can not happen in Georgia”.

          On a question ‘why it can’t happen in Georgia’ answer is ‘because!’ or ‘if you do not like here, fuck off’!

          The problem is following – in Georgian society admitting that one has a problem (ANY problem) is ‘not cool’ (politely speaking’). It is considered to ‘loose a face’, public shame and so on.

          Admitting that one has a problem (a person or society itself) means exposure of one’s weakness to others. On Western society it is done because others can help to overcome the problem. In Georgian society ‘others’ are not ready discussing one’s problem because they are not used to.

          Wash, rinse, repeat… chicken and egg situation.

    • Georg says:

      At last a comment from an American who has seen something else but his/her own state in the US and has experience of moving to a different society. Thanks! Honestly, with no sarcasm!

      • panoptical says:

        For your information, I have been to 16 US states, the District of Columbia, Canada, and Germany. I may not be as well-traveled as some TLG teachers (like my roommate, who has been to five continents) but I resent the assumption that I haven’t been anywhere other than my home state.

        I have also experienced culture shock – when I went from New York to Florida, I lived in a house on a dirt road with well-water that tasted bitter and metallic and smelled like sulphur. I had to walk three miles to get bottled water, and we had frequent power outages due to the weather situation. I was away from my friends, and the people of Florida seemed like backward hillbillies. There was one kid who literally passed his time by letting mosquitoes bite him and trying to trap their stingers in his skin. About three weeks into this ordeal, I was reduced to tears because of how much I wanted to go back to New York. Since then I have had a love/hate relationship with Florida – mostly hate – but my mother and sister live there so I have to visit from time to time.

        Compared to Florida – at least, St. Cloud, Florida, and the surrounding towns – Georgia is like a paradise. The people are smarter and better-looking, the water tastes better, the weather is nicer, there is easier access to groceries, and there’s more to do.

        There is really only one downside to Georgia, and that is that I would not want my sister to be here because of the way women are treated.

        So don’t tell me you can’t take one single criticism about Georgian society. Or do you honestly think that everything is perfect here and anyone who disagrees with you is stupid and naive?

        • T says:

          no, not perfect, no one argues about it and i am women from the country you exploring now, who moved to US because of hardships we went through and despite of everything can’t get enough of all diversities my homeland carry with in and i feel u getting amused too every other day… so what we are looking for in this world….perfect environment, which will fit our expectations? or relatively tolerable environment, which we can adjust with moor/ less positive attitude ????? u must agree , that perception of any individual changes as time passes and it does not mean that something changed around him/her during this time; so… my point is enjoy every minute of your experience and do not decide for your sister, because u already sound like “patroni” ๐Ÿ™‚ and u do not want to become one, are u? ๐Ÿ™‚

        • panoptical says:

          Hahaha, no, I do not want to be a patroni.

  18. sophie says:

    I am female, leaving in Georgia, Tbilisi, and should i accordingly feel so bad about it right? As according to you I am discriminated against, being abused and I can not go alone to the bars and cafes? I suppose we really do live ion two different places, because Georgia that I live in has nothing in common to what you have just described!
    First of all, sexual harassment is an offence not only in the US but surprisingly for you in Georgia as well to be more specific Articles 137-141 of Criminal Code of Georgia covers all types of sexual harassment that there might exist, with severe punishments implied!Also GEorgia is the member of European Convention on Human rights which also protect women against discrimination and anyone can bring the claim against State organs if they failed to investigate the alleged issue!
    Secondly, I don’t really know who has informed you of this really weird interpretation of the word “patroni”, and I really don’t get what’s it all about.. But protection mechanism that I know is called call the 022(that’s georgian Police for info.) and that’s it.
    Third, I don’t think the percentage of sexual harassment in Georgia is higher compared to the USA!!!
    Fourth, just to completely en-reach your knowledge on discrimination issues, I might as well tell you that by the time Women in America were fighting for their right to VOTE, Georgian constitution drafted in 1918 did already contain such right and furthermore guaranteed equal protection for man and women. In addition by the time the Continent of America was not yet discovered , in particular during the 12th century Georgia had QUEen tamara (female governing the whole country) in addition having its own female warriors who fought side-by-side with men!
    Finally, so before making this publicity out of just some gossips probably you have heard around Georgia of this wild Georgian men raping women, and these poor women having absolutely no rights.. Maybe you should at least refer to the International Human Rights reports on the issue and prove your point, which you won’t because there is no sex discrimination in Georgia!

    • temo says:

      Moot courts FTW ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜€

    • panoptical says:

      I teach at the Academy of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia. Do you know what percentage of police recruits are female? I do. Here’s a hint – it’s much less than 50%. How is that not discrimination?

      You’re the second person to bring up “Queen” Tamara. Today I took a stroll down a street named after Tamar Mepe. Correct me if I’m wrong, but doesn’t “Mepe” mean “king”? So you had a female ruler in the 12th century, but to this day you call her a king because ruling a country is “manly.” How is that not discrimination?

      When I have a conversation with a group of Georgian men and women, whenever the men talk, the women all shut up, but whenever the women talk, the men feel free to interrupt and talk over them. When I asked them about these habits, they told me that men have to have more respect given to them. How is that not discrimination?

      Georgian women have repeated a saying over and over again. The saying is this: When a woman says no, she means maybe. When she says maybe, she means yes. When she says yes, she is not a woman. I’m sorry, but when an entire culture does not understand the meaning of the word “no” there is a serious problem.

      There is sex discrimination in Georgia. It exists on a large scale, it is institutionalized in society and culture, it is widespread in the rural areas as well as in Tbilisi. I see it every day, everywhere I go. Men and women who come from the US experience this sex discrimination on a daily basis, no matter where they are in Georgia. Laws, agreements, and historical trivia don’t change the facts on the ground.

      • Once again, How long have you been here?
        It feels like you spent years in Georgia.
        You know too much ๐Ÿ˜€
        We will have to get rid of you ๐Ÿ˜€

        P.S. Seriously it was 100% percent PURE true what you just said now. I have been saying that exact thing for years ๐Ÿ™‚ Not many listens though ๐Ÿ™‚

  19. sophie says:

    Seriously, “the police recruits”:D and that’s the all proof you can bring up to proof that discrimination is everywhere? Have you ever thought that maybe that’s because women just don’t like the job? Definitely to work in a police is not something I as a women would have dreamt about, however there are still some percentage, who work there!
    In addition, in the Academy of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia you have not noticed that most of the staff is composed of women?
    And as for Tamar Mepe, it’s of course much more easier to translate the word “mepe” and connect all of that to discrimination , which is funny! Maybe they gave her the status just to indicate how strong she was? The very fact that She was allowed to rule the country during the 12th century when women all around the world did not have some very basic human rights, is already indication of how advanced towards the gender has Georgia always been! Not only Tamar, but there has been many females such as Queen Rusudan, Ketevan and many others who have always been actively involved in politics!
    Another point , or to be more correct the FACT you mentioned of man talking and women listening part, I might have to disagree , I am the law student and as a general rule lawyers are known for their long speeches and expressing their opinion freely, I can tell you that 90% of my class consists of females, the same would be with my work, and I don’t think any women in Georgia is scared to express it’s piece of mind weather man agrees or disagrees.
    And you only bringing some Facts here doesn’t prove anything at all, the facts like that can happen in any country of the world including the USA. I am talking of the legal grounds, women in Georgia are guaranteed by law all the rights and freedoms and if someone really feels or thinks there is a problem about it, they can refer to Courts, Police and many other organizations which are created for that purpose!

    “There is sex discrimination in Georgia. It exists on a large scale” As contrary to this statement i might as well say it’s not true, could you please just give us at least 1 link of an authoritative source claiming that discrimination against women happens on large scale in georgia!

    • When Indication of strengths of a woman is calling her king instead of queen ๐Ÿ˜€ THAT IS ALREADY DISCRIMINATION. Gender does not define strengths. Strengths is not defined my muscles.

      People, you are SO used to be discriminated everywhere and every time, you just can’t notice it any more ๐Ÿ™‚

      • sophie says:

        Truly, please just read at least couple of Human rights conventions and which define DISCRIMINATION! because you definitely have no idea of what does that mean!
        Maybe you have not payed that much attention but that “woman ” as you say, called Tamar, she was able to become the ruler of the country in 12th century and that’s not the proof enough that People never felt tolerant towards discrimination and just only the fact that people in 12 century used to call her “king’ as indication of strength and that maybe during that period people do considered that Man are Stronger physically than woman can be qualified as discrimination? that’s insane..
        You know, i do understand you trying here to prove some point but at least be reasonable while stating your opinion!
        And again, your claims of how we are used to discrimination, is another identification of lack of knowledge of either the definition of Discrimination and Georgian society!
        The only thing I asked the author was to at least give us one authoritative Human rights Organization surveys proving that women are discriminated in Georgia, I would like you to do the same instead of saying something really stupid!

        • Sophie, I can’t even describe how tired I am with quarreling with people like you, who lack sufficient education in gender issues but make bold statements.

          I am not going to go there. No nerves. No wish.

          I would like to hear your source of education in Gender issues though.. Since you think that only you know what discrimination because of one’s GENDER means :):)

          P.S. Oh, and one more thing. “Woman” is a term used to describe Females. It does not necessarily mean KING Tamar, which btw, was chosen as king because her father had no son.

        • sophie says:

          I lack the education in gender issues and you don’t? You were not even able to give me a definition of Discrimination and still it’s me who lacks knowledge!Can you indicate which of my statements were bold?
          But this statement of yours is definitely bold, laking any proof what so ever>>> “you are SO used to be discriminated everywhere and every time, you just cant notice it any more”<< at the same time I do not deny that this might be exclusively your opinion but you have to than add words like "I think". otherwise your statements are definitely far from being truth!

          Since I figured out you can neither provide me with the definition of "discrimination" nor can list any source proving your point I should stop this meaningless argument with someone who lacks legal knowledge.. But since I am really kind I can quote for you Article 1 of the "Convention on the elimination of all forms of racial Discrimination against Women""
          "exclusion or restriction made on the basis of sex which has the effect or purpose of impairing or nullifying the recognition, enjoyment or exercise by women, irrespective of their marital status, on a basis of equality of men and women, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural, civil or any other field."
          P.S. I don't care for what reasons they did allow Tamar to become the ruler, the fact is that they did allow, while you can not name any other country in Caucasian region or anywhere around us which did allow female to rule the country during that Period of TIME! and Tamar was only one small example I have brought here, no need to repeat on the issue 100 times, no one will even argue that 12th century societies all around the world have been very discriminative against women and the precedents of woman rulers have been singled out and already indicated advancement!

        • So according to you, I lack knowledge in the field ๐Ÿ™‚ The thing is that Gender is my specialty darling. ๐Ÿ™‚ what is yours, google? try to do it better next time ๐Ÿ™‚ and i don’t recall trying to give you a definition of Discrimination, because the request itself is hilarious ๐Ÿ™‚
          If you want some definitions Google it, dear ๐Ÿ™‚ I don’t see a reason why I should bother myself giving you one ๐Ÿ™‚ You are one of the countless people I have met with the same attitude.
          No offense, I am just bored.
          P.S. If you really want to know why calling a queen “KING” is a discrimination, say so and I will explain ๐Ÿ™‚ But for silly demanding statements like “YOU CANNOT DEFINE THINGS” sorry but i won’t even bother moving my fingers any longer ๐Ÿ™‚ bye ๐Ÿ˜‰

        • T says:

          OK girl, speaking of witch, but i see that provocation is your favor ballgame too ๐Ÿ™‚ kidding of cause ๐Ÿ™‚ i do not want to get in the middle of Tamar king/quine title definition, but one is clear to me,backed by historic documents other then Georgian too,that it was her legacy to be called the KING by all patriarch rulers of medieval world and none of other women rulers achieved this privilege not before and after her, or BTW there is a Thomas bible, were Christ explaining to sexist Peter about women worshipers and followers something like; making man from women been kind of noble quest from god, but i guess it was his mandatory verse for keeping Peter’s temper from jealousy under the control, but we never know ๐Ÿ™‚

        • Your point of view is more understandable to me right now than hers. So i will answer you T ๐Ÿ™‚
          Nobody denies that choosing Tamar as a ruler that time was pretty amazing thing ๐Ÿ™‚ But to bring this as an example that there is no discrimination in Georgia? ๐Ÿ™‚ makes no sense, because they did not accept her as a female ruler, they called him male name ๐Ÿ™‚
          And what is more, what exactly are we trying to prove by giving King Tamar’s example, that there is no gender discrimination in Georgia and there has never been one?
          Is this what you truly think?
          I don’t think so, because to me you sound like an intelligent woman ๐Ÿ™‚

        • T says:

          first of all, forgive me dear,but i do not think your opponent was someone without a clue and with just Googling experience, if it even so, since when self education become something u should be ashamed off…secondly, Tamar as the King phenomena has been appreciated by feminists them self, i mean real, educated ones with PHD degrees, as of outstanding example of feminist movement in history of world civilizations. so u got my point i think,
          regards to my hometown, u never know , we may even met it other, world is so small u never know…u never know ๐Ÿ™‚

        • sophie says:

          well thanks T for all the Additional Information and support)))
          I completely understand your point and agree with it!
          To Girlwithparanoia:
          You know, one of the obvious inidcations tat the opponent ran out of arguments is turning to personal insults, which is funny again.. ๐Ÿ˜€ but since you are so interested in my field of education, no I can tell you I am law student so it’s natural for me to be aware of various Convetion and the definition i gave you is not from wikipedia, but from CCEDAW, which you should at least be familiar with since you claim you are expert in gender issues!
          And definitly girl, if all you can do is being offensive than don’t bother replying and istead of assuming wo I am and indicating how many thousandof people “like me” you have met.. be able to debate, otherwise you look like little child trying to prove something by being offensive!!

        • Wait, I’m confused. Was Tamar a female or a male? It seems to me there’s never been a female ruler of Georgia, there’s only been kings. ๐Ÿ˜‰

      • How many arguments I’ve been on that! I always say, “I don’t care if in Georgian she’s called MEPHE, when you translate it, you must say Queen. She’s a woman. Depending on the society / time period, a queen can be just as much or more powerful than a king. Just in English, a female monarch is a queen and a male monarch is a king.” But no one ever seems to agree, regardless of how many kick-ass examples in history I have of queens (Elizabeth, Catherine the Great, etc). “But she was king,” they always say back.

    • panoptical says:

      This report outlines the problems with sex discrimination in Georgia in a systematic way. According to the report, “There is strong tendency to ignore the problem of womenโ€™s discrimination and to deny womenโ€™s problems in Georgia.”

      There is also an organization in Georgia devoted to eliminating gender-based violence. According to their website, “In 2005, the Caucasus Womenโ€™s Research and Consulting Network (CWN) published a study on domestic violence1 according to which 22.2% of respondent women reported that their husbands had physically abused them at least once. Approximately 5% of respondents described frequent abuse and 25.5% reported sexual assaults by their husbands.”

      That’s just two links from about fifteen minutes of research on my part, in English. I imagine you would be able to find out much more information about this subject than I can since you are a native Georgian and thus fluent in the language.

      Now, if you choose not to do the research because you don’t want to know the truth, that’s up to you, but the information is out there for everyone to see, if they would just open their eyes.

      • T says:

        i think i know about this research, seen on TV forgot the name of this women psychologist and sociologist, she was the guest last week” red zone” with Gogi Gvakharia on TV an d spoke about xenophobia…anyway, what i know from the reports they conducted, only improvement we have in the country for last few years is that moor women coming out from the closet and speaking out about discrimination, and it does not necessarily means that they have recognition of discrimination and inequality, this kind of attitude from woman’s part closely connected to demographics, political and economic instability and as elsewhere here to most hardship lands on women shoulder, then there is religion, which promotes women discrimination there own odd ways and i am stepping now in the area, which definitely will create disturbances and i would rather go back to my closet:) until next time, have fun ๐Ÿ™‚

    • panoptical says:

      Here’s an even better link: an international organization’s report on gender issues and violence against women in Georgia. Warning: it is a shocking and upsetting report.

      http://www.amnestyusa.org/document.php?id=ENGEUR560092006&lang=e

    • Sorry for the late response Sophie
      I take my words back. You do have background in the field, though from your comments I can’t really see it… But then again I am not the person to judge ur education.
      I agree I should not have continued personal insults which by the way was started by non other but you ๐Ÿ™‚ since it was you who started claiming that i do not know a thing about gender issues which was very.. ahemm.. Comical.
      But yes, you are right personal “insults” are never good.
      Sophie by saying I have seen thousands of people saying just the exact same thing as you and i am just tired of quarreling- I did not mean to insult you. It is just the truth. I am. and when you say “saying that does not prove anything” I have to agree, that’s what i was trying to tell you, I am NOT trying to prove anything. or rather I was not. Now i will briefly describe it.
      Tamar would never be chosen as a ruler if she had a brother. older younger, does not matter. You can shot me if it is not a discrimination ๐Ÿ˜€
      Even after choosing her a ruler, they called her a king. According to you that was because they were underlining her strengths.
      You think woman cannot be strong?
      You think to tell her she is strong, you need to tell her she is a man?
      You think is this case man and woman are really equal?
      since there is no law saying calling a strong woman man is discrimination – it is not? ๐Ÿ™‚
      Anyway, You get my point ๐Ÿ™‚
      Hopefully ๐Ÿ˜€

  20. Oh, well…. read most of your comments, things got a lot worst than I expected.

    The following message I shall be writing comes from the 21 years of experience living in Georgia, Republic of, and last 4 1/2 years in The United States of America. (You do the math and will get my age, if needed.)

    Neil, the author has expressed his own feelings and opinions about life in Georgia and you, group of “I’m so cool I can read and write English so well”s exercised your English skills beyond the norms of ethics, morals and etc.

    The problem do exists, but it needs to be seen from the right angle.

    The foreigners, in our case: Americans, Brits and Aussies are seen as the promoters of freedom of sex – sluts. The average Georgian guy, who isn’t spoiled by Georgian women and doesn’t get laid off as often as his “little bud” decides so, thinks that American girl who is craving for Georgian (excuse my French) dick, will be jumping in to his bed and be begging to “bang” her. But, wait … he doesn’t know how to speak English, therefore he has no idea how to properly attract a foreigner and instantly switches it to Sign Language, shortly after Sign Language becomes a dirty one, including touching, groping and etc.

    No, in American society means – NO, PERIOD., and if a Man/Woman says so, you have to obey command.

    No, in Georgian society means – No, SEMICOLON – keep trying, before my brother/father/friend or any male relative finds out and beats your ass off.

    The other day, my friend updated her status on Facebook, saying: “I love you”, jokingly, I replied: “I love you too”, in exactly 5 minutes I received a personal message from her BF “kindly” asking me to remove my comment and DO NOT REPEAT again anything like that towards her. WTF? why, who are you? just because she is your GF, doesn’t necessary means, me his friend for couple years, doesn’t have a right to show my FRIENDLY love to her?

    And this is the only little example of, how men are overprotective, like Georgian women couldn’t defend themselves and men finds it necessary to step-in, even there is no need of them to involve.

    Anyways, speaking of Americans, I love Americans, they respect others lives, privacy and “NO”;
    Fellow Georgians, dear citizens, please do not take personally everything that Neil says, he has a right to say and write that he sees, thinks and decides to say, even if that is not true and completely unacceptable for you. There is no need to demonstrate how good you own the language. Let it go …. ๐Ÿ™‚

    And Neil, thanks for your opinion, I do appreciate the effort you are putting in your job to educate Georgian police and helping them to improve their English skills.

    • temo says:

      Hey mister I am so cool and “I love America” (in Borat accent). This is a blog and opened to comments, the freedom of speech is not a luxury that is guaranteed only to Neil because he is American and this right does not exist somewhere else, but also to others who actually do write the comments to the blog.

      No one argues that there are some problems but the situation is not as grave as drawn here.

      With regard the morals and ethics, you are the one bringin up the male genitals, in your own post so before criticizing others, look at your own post.

      And the thing that Georgia and US have cultural differences does not make any of the said countries better or worse.

      I would give you another example how “horrible” Americans are, my two high school mates and me were playing football, than one of the guy’s sister came up which was really hot, and the guy says: dude your sister’s so hot I would bang her, the brother’s answer was mnaaah m8 u want be able to do that, she is too busy doing the other guy. Does this single fact give me the right to say that Americans do not care about their family and etc. etc.

      The truth is that some singled out facts does not make the whole Country’s gender issues look alike Iran or Saudi Arabia.

  21. Excuse me, Mr. “I’m so picky, that I don’t care if you have apologized for your “French” and I don’t even know the meaning of it” if you have read my post carefully, and I mean carefully you’d find, I have apologized before I said anything CENSORED.
    Sorry, I found your “horrible example” uninformative and unreasonable in this particular situation.

  22. James_Pawson says:

    OK, I need to chime in here.

    I have really been enjoying your blog up until now. It has made me confident about moving over there (2 days now!)

    But as with any diary, the author invariably says more about themselves, then they do about the events around them. And at this moment it appears you’re externalizing some injustice you feel personally, and allowing it to unfairly colour your opinion of Georgia.

    I studied feminism pretty intensely at school, and it sounds like you are a sameness-feminist. Your statement about the number of female police recruits as an indicator, in your mind, of discriminationโ€ฆ wow. If you can’t see how that’s a flawed argument, I’ll be really disappointed.

    I believe in difference-feminism. Yes, social factors may sway certain genders to act certain ways, but I think it is pretty solidly proven that there are just some things women don’t feel attracted to– like getting shot in a war zone, or dealing with criminals, or driving a fork-lift in a warehouse, etc. And yes, there is a fairly larger number of men who see an opportunity for pursuing personal happiness in all of those above examples.

    But let’s not characterize the social-factors that play a part in establishing genders roles as all bad, either. To do so, in light of the fact that you are a foreigner there, makes you sound like a cultural-relativist, who feels that your morals are superior to that of an entire (ancient) nation. That’s dangerous, unfair, and I hate to tell you– it’s one of those things people associate with “American Imperialism.” That’s the most polite way that I can express that sentiment. Others would not be so kind.

    I understand that you perceive some serious injustices in Georgiaโ€ฆ but maybe you need to take a step back, look at the bigger picture, and ask yourself if you have formed a reasonable attitude towards their society.

    • panoptical says:

      I’m glad you’ve enjoyed my blog up until now. I do not plan to devote a large amount of it to feminist rants, it’s just that the women here have been having such a tough time and the more I talk about it the more horror stories I hear.

      You suggest that I look at the big picture. I suggest that you do the same. I have explained that every day American women are being groped and harassed here. I have reported that American women are not safe when they go out without male escorts. I have mentioned some horrible incidents and my fellow TLGers have backed me up. We have even told a story of a woman we know who was the victim of an attempted rape, who was left bruised by the incident.

      So I wonder what motivates you, after reading about all that horror, to come along and cherry-pick one example of something I said that you disagree with based on your personal philosophy and imply that this example invalidates everything else I have said and suggests that I am in fact projecting some personal grudge upon all of Georgia.

      I don’t care if you say you believe in sameness feminism, difference feminism, or rainbow-striped polka-dotted feminism. If you aren’t outraged by stories of men systematically harassing and assaulting women, I’m going to find it difficult to believe that you believe in any kind of feminism at all.

      So that’s the big picture I’m looking at when I form my opinion of Georgian society, and that’s what I judge my reasonableness against. I’d be happy to debate the ins and outs and nuances of feminist theory with you on a purely intellectual level, but you have to understand – and you will, when you get here – that the day-to-day situation on the ground here in Georgia is very different from that on a liberal arts campus in the USA and what I’m talking about is far from theoretical.

      • Nino says:

        Wow, your blog has become quite popular ๐Ÿ™‚

        I think that all of us here (or at least the majority) agrees that what has happened to your fellow TLG-ers is unaccaptable and unjustifiable and my only advice is to report each and every case to police (now that you are teaching English to prospective policemen, in near future, the reports may be done in English as well :)) Honestly, I did not know about this issue, although I know quite a few American and other feoreinger women and it is good that you have brought it up and we are all aware of it.

        But I think that most of the frustrations expressed in the comments here come from the generalization of your statements – I get a sense that your comments are understood (including by me) in a way that ALL or MOST GEORGIAN MEN are sexists and harrass women. Honestly, I do not know where you get the insight that a woman can be interrupted by a man any time and a woman feels that a man should be respected more… Or no means maybe, maybe means yes, etc.

        I noted that some of the bloggers here have suggested being a bit more patient and observe more before jumping to bold and generalized conclusions. Again, harrassing women (regardless of nationality, race, age, etc.) is a crime and is unaccaptable.. But I would say that your comments are a bit upsetting as well..

        TLG programme is a big programme for Georgia and you are actually a part of a change here – It is good you have started this dialogue about harrassment and I would urge each and every one of your fellows to report any kind of harrassment to Police so that such cases be treated in a proper way.

        • James_Pawson says:

          Whoa, steady-on there Neal! Thanks for replying, anyhow.

          So yes, I am really just going on theory here– I have chosen treat your arguments like I would an academic article, and attempt to review by parsing out things that concern me. What else can I do without the benefit of “first-hand” experience?

          That’s just the thing; first-hand experience, or 2nd-hand accounts from people who I feel I can really trust, would be all that could really convince me of the general notions you are putting foreword.

          And as Nino pointed out, your sentiments are pretty intense, polarizing, and broad-sweeping.

          I was afraid that I would come off as cherry-picking, as you say, by avoiding your 3rd-hand accounts. Please don’t take this the wrong way, but I can’t accept those stories as an adequate basis upon which to judge gender relations in Georgian society.

          I am not calling you or your friends liars. But the “Person-Who” argument is one of the most common forms of fallacious reasoning, along with the Emotional Appeal. Any critical thinker would be very sceptical indeed of arguments premised upon them, as your are.

          And I already addressed you Appeal to Statistics argument (regarding the number of female police recruits.)

          Further, you have really made light of my comments on Sameness versus Difference feminism, going so far as to say that I am not a feminist. First of all, you are right, I am not a feminist. That does not at all mean I hate or want to oppress women. It’s just that the very incoherence of the “movement” indicated by the deep schism in feminism between those two camps I mentioned, makes it illogical to brand one’s self as a proponent of that ideology.

          I believe that one form of feminism is more valid and effective at promoting the happiness of *both sexes,* but I don’t need dumb myself dumb down for people with any “–ist” label. There are too many important social battles to be fought in this world. But because of internal debates and inconsistencies like those found in feminism, belonging to any “–ism,” makes identifying yourself with one a counter-productive enterprise.

          Also, you misread something else I said. I don’t think your recent posts actually indicate a personal grudge with Georgia; but I do think the share fervour, and even venom, with which you are positing such polemical statements, indicates that something is amiss. But I am not in your skin, and I have no idea that that is. Enough said, because I don’t want you to get even more angry than you already appear to be– are we all misreading you, or are you seriously that infuriated right now?

          Alas, it is on that basis, I think I will bow out of this discourse. It seems no matter comments are made, we might just be adding fuel to your fire, at the moment…

          Oh, and I need to stop typing, and go pack my bags! I wasn’t going to pack my now famous picture of Spock, that I always keep at my desk where I am working; but that vulcan will be embarking on this voyage after all! Logic is the one thing that I know will get me through homesickness, and maybe difficult classroom experiences, while I am there with TLG. It’s funny, I had already decided to put print-outs of these two articles in my carry-on to read on the plane! : List of fallacies , List of cognitive biases . Critical Thinking texts are like my scriptures.

          I hope that you and I will indeed me able to sit down for a beer or two, and discuss theory! That really is one of my favourite things to do.

          Chin-up, man!

        • merry says:

          Nino, I agree with you big time. But still, one of the underlying problems in this discussion seems to be that the harassment as perceived by TLG volunteers is not culturally considered harassment in Georgia and as young Georgian police officers (male and female) are a part of this culture just like the rest of us, it might make it difficult to TLG female volunteers to communicate their concerns in an effective manner.

          And that makes me think a comprehensive definition of harassment as perceived by arguing parties would be a useful start to any healthy discussion on the gender related issues. ๐Ÿ™‚

        • Nino says:

          Hi Merry,

          you bring a good point, indeed. I agree, sometimes men “compliment” women harassing them without realizing it – and it would be hard to report such cases to Police. I had a male colleague who would tell funny jokes about women – I am not a feminist really, but sometimes I felt really uncomfrotable with those jokes.. Changing the mindset takes a while and I hope that TLG programme could greatly contribute to that as well.

          Gender issues are big wordl-wide and it will not be changed over night. The otherday I came across with an article (just read the headline, not the full article though) – that pay gap is still quite significant in US among men and women.. I think this issue is even more intense in Georgia..

          But I was more referring to the cases mentioned by the author – such as grabbing women, touching them without consent, offering marriage and putting a woman in a vulnerable condition (taxi driver issue). I also understand that sometimes a victim may choose to let it pass without reporting to Police – but if these issues are reported to Police, this can contribute to addressing the issue greatly.

        • T says:

          exactly NINO ๐Ÿ™‚
          so Neil, please lecture your friends to pursue the claim against any possible harassment in case if this problem really something bothersome for u ๐Ÿ™‚

      • T says:

        Neil, report all crimes against your fellow American women to police, if u did not do so and continuing not doing so, i would wonder about your real hidden agenda about Georgia and it does not put u in very kosher place, believe me it will get ugly with, or without “patroni”

        • panoptical says:

          Police in Georgia are not allowed to prosecute cases unless the victim wants to press charges. There is unfortunately nothing that a third party can do.

  23. Giorgi says:

    This article was posted and re-posted on Facebook and has stirred so much discussion internally amongst Georgians that it deserves credit only for that one accomplishment! ๐Ÿ™‚

  24. L.V. says:

    Panoptical:

    This is getting over normality, obviously you have no idea of what Georgia is, what is our culture, traditions and modern life and based on very poor, unreliable and inadequate information you are making false assumptions and that will cause more and more people to have wrong image of Georgia just because of your poor sense of reality, unfamiliarity with the country and self bias. I think Georgia is noa a place you should be and whoever made decision to let you participate in TLG has made DEEP mistake.

    You should be out of country in no time.

    Obviously you dont feel beauty and exclusivity of my country and because of that you are giving very bad imagination to others who will be considering Georgia for their next destination. If you have problem getting laid it does not mean all what you have said about my country. I bet you didn’t get lucky enough in NY to get laid and thought, hey Im an American guy, let me try this country maybe I’m perceived for a better person than Im and maybe girls like me more there ๐Ÿ™‚

    I strongly think bringing you to beautiful Georgia was a huge mistake.

    • panoptical says:

      Wow, dismissing feminist claims with “you are just angry because you can’t get laid.” How original.

    • Georgian Male says:

      bevri rame stsori utseria. Many things written in the article, are correct. Georgian Male

    • American says:

      Dear L.V.

      Nothing in this blog made me think negatively about Georgia EXCEPT for comments like yours. As an American, I understand what the author has written and it has made me consider Georgia a lovely place to visit or even come to work someday. Even problems he wrote about make me more interested to see it for myself. However, I read ignorant comments that Georgians reply to the author, and it makes me reconsider. I’m not sure if I want to be in a country with people like you.
      American Girl

  25. ---> says:

    Neil,

    Here is one interesting aspect of the gender relationship in GE. Imagine that a woman and a man are applying to a position in a private sector.

    Question: WITH ALL OTHER THINGS EQUAL (this is important) who do you think will get the job in most of the cases?

    • T says:

      i guess men, what???? is there any different in states?:) but still i believe women in her early 30 is the best choice on the job market in Georgia and u know why? Georgian women in general better educated, harder working and disciplined then Georgian men, so if employer is looking for skilled workers, preference goes to women with above skills and no children, for obvious reasons…. for all women in the world motherhood is the priority, which is never forgiven by men, but could not ignored completely ๐Ÿ™‚

      • ---> says:

        Answer incorrect (partially correct).

        with ALL OTHER things equal (ALL OTHER – this is really important) a woman has a better chance to lend a job in Georgia.

        And why – you’ve already answered.

  26. user says:

    I just got back from a bar (its 12:30 midnight and this is usually and later when I get back from bars) where I was with other two girls (3 girls together) – the only man who approached us was not Georgian but some scandinavian rugby player.

    You are pathetically trying convince us – the locals that it IS dangerous to go out without a male company – I have been raised here, I live here and NEVER ever was harassed or insulted by a man on a sexual basis or any basis. I have NO male family members, I don’t communicate with my male relatives AT ALL.
    All you are trying to sell is what OTHERS sold you and not your personal experience.
    We do not really need those lecture about human and women rights – everything is cool here. Your TLG trainers are scared that you may have some troubles understanding Georgian culture which you are actually experiencing. And MIND that Georgian culture is totally different from US one and this doesnt mean its bad. If you decided to come to live in a foreign country you should be more openminded.

  27. Boris says:

    I agree with the your post at some point but you don’t have to compare Georgia with Iran :)) It’s too much..

  28. Guest! says:

    http://liberali.ge/node/2118

    Sorry for those who can’t read georgian but recomended for ALL Georgian Girls!

    • T says:

      Thank u Guest, yes her name is Marina Chitasshvili and this article proves my point about percentage improvement only in the area of speaking out about the issue, without touching the issue and nothing else, without knowing real picture there will not be any solution. However, it is not like only Georgian women thinks this way, but American too…. that how oppressed mind operates and without taking out abused victim from violent environment all talks are useless, abused women(not masochists) do not need the lecture how and with whom to live, they need alternative, which has to start from implementation of adequate laws and regulations, shelters and childcare, everything comes down to the point of financial resources and i do not mean financing some bull… speakers public talks from NGO, or priests demagogy from the church….

  29. Nini says:

    Well, I am not going to say much.Two hundred and something comments is probably more than enough. All I want to say is that yes, the problem does exist in Georgia and the more people recognize it the sooner we will start solving it. ps i am quite surprised to read about those girls’ experiences in Tbs. I understand that most of the cab drivers are perverts. But rape attempts in the pubs/clubs/bars? i am really surprised – i assume they were hanging out in expad friendly places which are quite a few in Tbs and i’ve been to many of them and not necessarily in a very “Georgian” way (let’s say going for a drink or two with a few friends or just a friend at midnight or later) and was never subject to sexual harassment, at least not that i recall.

  30. Pingback: Sighnaghi | Georgia On My Mind

  31. city_guy says:

    I am sure those incidents would happen in regions and some remote districts of Tbilisi too, where not only foreigners, but Georgians would be harassed. You guys should ask (get in touch) with normal (not them, who tells you, that “men have to have more respect given to them”) city youth, to be advised where to go and where – not. Same with taxi, if you take some private taxi god know where, Georgian girl might get into this trouble too.
    And always if such occurs, mark down the taxi number, or whatever, and call 022 immediately. If Police will not react or do something, at least everybody will know, that if he insulting, police will be there ๐Ÿ™‚ so don’t be afraid to call police. I guarantee, after this post and all the buzz around this post, police will be more informed about these cases and be more ready to help you.

  32. loe says:

    Funny, this was on TV, I mean – quotes from your blog. TLG received much criticism as “american teacher” was discussing sex issues in Georgia, like “What is ‘a man like this’ supposed to teach our innocent kiddos”. That’s only natural though, nothing else to expect from a society so sure about the superiority of its ‘values’, considering sexism, ah pardon – A very special type of ‘respect for women’, part of “Georgian Culture”.
    It all goes to how they’re brought up, Georgian woman is nothing but a baby making and a cooking machine to them, as you said, “upatrono” females like for instance tramps, foreigners only exist for satisfying their sexual requirements.
    Whatever the reason, be it poor education, parental influence, I don’t care. We’re given brains to think on our own, and apparently we aren’t using this amazing tool properly at this point.

    • panoptical says:

      Really, quotes from my blog were on TV? That’s awesome! Was it like, a news program or something? I’m sure they picked the least flattering quotes… Although I suppose they’d be happy to know that I’m teaching police officers, not children.

      Anyway, things will get better. If there’s one thing I have faith in, it’s that social change is inevitable and the majority of children in this globalized world will shed their parents’ prejudices. Even if the TLG English teachers did not bring these issues to light, just by teaching English they are enabling the next generation to read about these issues on the internet and watch them on TV. I’m just a bit impatient sometimes.

      • loe says:

        It was on a local channel that covers Tbilisi only.
        You can watch it here if interested

        Well, nothing too weird, or tragic, though. World history remembers it all too well. It took ‘a while’ to grant women right to vote, it didn’t happen long ago, did it. It takes time for Mary Wollstonecrafts to appear, or the appeared ones to be accepted in eastern countries. I’ve been brought up in a quite conventional Georgian family so I know how it was, and how it is now. Much difference? No, not really. But you can notice some progress, the process is slow, but ongoing.

      • ---> says:

        Agree with the conclusion in the second part of the message.

        Just one side note – Neil, remember: the concept ‘there is no bed publicity’ (C) Samantha ‘Sex & the City’ is not applicable to Georgia (yet).

  33. Lika says:

    Hi, Neil
    We’ve met couple of days ago on a trip you hated so much and, yeah, I was one of the group of people who smoked OUTSIDE (!) the van AND the restaurant… Hmm, but that’s not relevant here…

    As for this post… Well, you sound a bit too opinionated for a person who hasn’t really spent enough time in a country to talk like an expert, don’t you think?? I agree with some of your assumptions in the post, and I know Georgia has to work a lot about the legal side of the gender related problems BUT, let’s face it, I had a feeling you had HEARD more rumors than seen facts. AND with all due respect, mon ami, that’s a bit childish.

    And the part where you try to explain the “patroni” system is just ridiculous if not offensive…. You must be kidding, pal!

    • panoptical says:

      “I had a feeling you had HEARD more rumors than seen facts”

      In America we have an expression for just this very kind of comment: “Denial ain’t just a river in Egypt.”

      • Lika says:

        Well, nice expression by the way, but if you had read my comment a bit more carefully (and most obviously you hadn’t), you just might have noticed that I don’t DENY the problems that exist in GENDER related issues…

        Twain also said once: “All generalizations are false, including this one.” And, you, my friend, had a bit too many general ideas in your post, don’t you think??

  34. Ilyk Eyaj says:

    Neal,
    I read all of your posts about Gender relations/feminism or the lack of it in Saqartvelo.
    There are worse places to live in the world for women. I can attest to that because I have lived in many places where women are just viewed as a means to an end.
    I would like to say that I have had my fair share of ‘street harassment’ since I have been in this country and I did find those situations peculiar and startling.
    I have had to use some basic self-defense on two occasions and disable Georgian men. I didn’t want to do this but in my opinion, pacifism is idealistic but not always practical. So ideologically I am a pacifist but in reality I pass-the-fist.
    Looking back on those incidents now, since hindsight is 20-20, I can say that I did nothing to attract their interest. I do not speak to Georgian men, I never look them in the eye, and I do not dress provocatively. I view Georgian men through the same lens that I view American men who behave this way; as animals.
    I have endured street harassment in the United States a few times but it was always in low-income, socially marginalized locations. My reaction to men who behave this way in the U.S. is exactly the same, I will defend myself if necessary. When I am passing through the ‘ghetto’ in U.S. cities I do not talk to the men, look at the men in the eye or dress provocatively. I see Georgia as a giant ‘Crenshaw, Compton, East Oakland, South Chicago, Washington Heights, Detroit, etc.’ where the men have not been taught to respect women. Human beings who don’t respect other human beings are taking away their basic human rights. So these human beings have made the choice to become animals without a conscience, whether they are American, Georgian, Turkish, British, etc. If you behave like an animal, you will be treated like an animal.
    I still like Georgia and my experiences of close quarters violence here in Georgia hasn’t negatively colored my view of the country. I think that Georgia is a very good country.
    However, I do think it would be wise for female TLG volunteers to always travel with a buddy and use street smarts at all times. Some knowledge of close quarters combat would be useful but if that isn’t possible, then carrying pepper spray is. If TLG female volunteers can’t get their hands on pepper spray, then they should make it themselves.

    Any empty bottle of perfume or body spray will suffice.
    Fill it with crushed pepper or cayenne powder alone with water, vinegar, and oil. The oil is essential so that when the bottle is sprayed, the liquid will stick to the assailant’s eyes. The bottle should be small, compact and easy to use.
    Homemade weapons are also another option to consider. They should be blunt objects without sharp edges. Any weapons should be easy to carry, easy to use, and can disable anyone when used with great force. Truthfully anything can be used as a weapon; a hardcover book, a rolled up magazine, a hot drink, rocks, tree branches, etc. I would recommend these same tactics in the U.S. as I am doing here in Georgia.
    Just my two cents.

  35. Ilyk Eyaj says:

    I’d like to piggy back on the last comment I posted about weapons.
    Weapons should be blunt objects, definitely not edged weapons or sharp objects. If a person hasn’t been trained they won’t know what to do with it and the assailant can take the weapon away and use it against the victim.

    An excellent book to read about avoiding stalkers, rape, street harassment, sexual harassment, and violence against women is, The Gift of Fear by Gavin deBecker.

    I would like to bring up another valid point. It has been my observation that most of the TLG volunteers from the U.S. are from middle class suburban areas, and this is not a reflection on their personal finances but it is a reflection on their life experiences. Very few are from low income, high violence, socially marginalized urban areas and have probably had to endure very little ‘street harassment’ in the U.S. because of their socio-economic housing locations. I can say with confidence that the ‘street harassment’ in Georgia is as bad as any form of harassment you would experience in the ‘ghettos’ of the U.S. Since I am used to being harassed in the U.S. because I was teaching in a poverty stricken, socially marginalized location I am not as shocked or negatively affected by the harassment that is prevalent in Georgia. Harassment in Georgia is a very real problem but I think that if for example a volunteer is from a small town in the Midwest, there is very little chance she will experience the very real harassment that exists in pockets throughout the U.S. So if this hypothetical volunteer comes to Georgia she will be more negatively shocked by the gender relations and the attitude towards women than if she were a volunteer who came directly from the inner city in the U.S. Perception is everything. I am not at all trying to pretend that the problem doesn’t exist in Georgia, because it does, but it is also about life experience. Another thing, The ‘Hollaback movement’ is on the rise in Western countries from women who are sick of street harassment. It started in NYC and really gained fame in LA and has spread to Canada and France. Maybe the Caucasus region will have their own ‘Hollaback movement’ soon who knows?
    In conclusion I would like to say that until male patriarchy is abolished throughout the world, this type of inhumane behavior will continue. Since we know that it is not likely to end anytime soon, all women should be vigilant, use street smarts and know how to protect themselves.

  36. Mirenza says:

    I spent my entire summer in Georgia living with a dear friend of mine (she studied at my high school for a year through Georgia’s FLEX/ASSE program), and as a future ethnographer/archaeologist, I had a lot of questions for my hosts and Georgians I met about society and gender relations. I do think Neal and his female TLG friends have some pretty accurate insights—I lived in Tbilisi but also stayed in many rural areas (Ushguli, Mestia, Abastumani, Ruisi, Gori, Pasanauri) for different lengths of time; regardless of where I was, I did face a lot of pretty aggressive flirting–thank God none of the groping or touching other girls reported, maybe due to the fact that I didn’t spend much time in bars or clubs–as well as spontaneous marriage proposals.

    I was really unnerved by the proposals, some of which I realize were joking, but many of which contained a disturbingly serious element that I found not only desperate but insulting. I realize Svaneti is kind of a bad example because Georgians often compare it to the equivalent of American redneck country, populated by Borats, but the most disturbing examples are from there: one family my friends and I stayed with offered their 15 year old son to me (I am 20) and wouldn’t let up until I hid in my room, and I am still facebook-stalked incessantly by a boy I met in person for all of perhaps 10 minutes on a marshutka (“you cam in svaneti be my wife”). Apparently, a woman’s personality means nothing to at least these particular Georgians, in addition to considerations of cultural differences, education, and career ambitions.

    Similar but less extreme instances occurred while meeting my friend’s male classmates at her university, and her cousins, one of whom referred to me publicly as “Coli/Colo” (wife) from day one–a behavior that was considered adorable and was encouraged by the rest of the family (“Gio, ra magari kaci xar!”). When talking to mixed groups of college students, many of them condemned their country’s marriage-centric culture (getting married too early just to validate sex, etc), while at the same time expressing ardent desires to marry that would be unheard of in America, where “marriage” is practically a dirty word up through grad school.

    However, I do have to disagree with your analysis of boy-girl friendships, Neal—I spent a lot of time around high school and college students, and was constantly struck by their ability to have platonic friendships; I chalked it up to the fact that unlike in America, where nearly every relationship or association is tainted with a sexual overtone, Georgians can be in a way liberated by their lack of “dating”/hookup culture. This could be a phenomenon of the younger generations, but I guess I should also note, though, that many of these friendships took on a family-type relationship. Neither of my best (girl) friends had brothers and one was also fatherless, but they professed to have many “brothers” who “looked out for” them, especially in regards to relationships.

    Dzan didi madloba for the great blog insights, though! I can’t wait to get back to saqartvelo and hopefully the TLG program will still be around for me in 2012! Please tell me if you find a good khinkali recipe, and get a Pasanaurian to teach you—nobody makes ’em like a Dusheli

  37. Kety Tyson says:

    I would love to conduct sociological research on this issue. I have personal interest here – originally I am Georgian, married to American and living in the United States. There is no question that Georgia (as any other country) has its’ gender problems. But I am not interested only in present situation, I would love to find out historical roots for it. Right now I am working on the research ” Understanding of feminism in post-Soviet countires.” In a few weeks I will be in Georgia and would love to meet people who want to share with me their thoughts on this topic.
    Thank you for this blog – it’s tresure for social scientists.

    • Meg says:

      “Understanding of feminism in post-Soviet countries”. That is definitely a topic that I am interested in. Please leave a link if you have a website or any other online way to read your research. Thanks!

  38. Maka, Norway says:

    Hei Dear,

    I am Georgian and leaving in Norway. First off all I want to appologise to you for such irrespectfull treatment from Georgian men and for those comments you recieved from girls. I want to tell them that this is a shame and i am ashamed for them.
    I am a human rights lawyer and planning to work in Georgia to combat violance agains women. Not only foreigners but gerogian women suffere from gender inequlity and violancet.
    I want to tell everybody here altough i have not read all comments and i read part of the authors story ( i am doign research and have no time sorry:)) for now)
    The reason why i fled Georgia was the gender perseptions and mens attitude to women. That there is no sexual freedom. Same time i want to tell to autor that we georgians ourselfs suffer from this issue. And i dont want you to feel that this happened to you because you are American. I also want to tell you that there are realy some cool georgian guyes out there unfortunetely which i did not meet so much and so did you.
    I have to leave your blog now but if you are interested to discuss this issue further you can always contact me.

    Best regards,

    Maka

  39. Kai Oat says:

    A friend of mine was raped in Abkhazia several years ago. She is an American, a trusting good soul, went there in all innocence as a volunteer on an international project. It did not take long for her to get hurt. She carries this violence in her to this day.

    Unfortunately, we are talking about an aggressive culture that is based on force – you get respect and safety by being someone they’re afraid of. I find the very concept of sending TLG women to places like this unfathomable.

    I understand this stuff- the truth – makes Georgian readers of this blog uncomfortable. Unfortunately, the stories conveyed here are all too true. Take them to heart. You’ll do your country a great favor by trying to discourage the Georgian male attitude of disrespect towards other cultures, misogyny and wanton sexual predation. Are Georgian guys really so frustrated and incapable of scoring by being decent and smart? Does it have to be violence, pushiness or bribery? The ball is in your court.

  40. Pingback: International Women’s Day: Women in Georgia | Georgia On My Mind

  41. Anonymous says:

    do you talk about TBILISI? …. maybe this happened to you,.. and that’s very sad that now you have such a bad experience with georgia…. sorry, …
    but I Can not completely agree with you! this never happened to me!!!! I live in Tbilisi since I was born (i’m 26)…
    I Could always take a cab and any other transport… since childhood I walked and traveled ALONE most of my time: to school, to university, to work….without problems!

    maybe you talk about some deep villages?

    I Can go out tonight at 1 am and walk alone and I won’t feel any1 will say a word (and don’t think i’m that ugly)

    once again – i believe that could happen to you….. but it’s not common.

    sorry, haven’t read all the thousands of comments here.. maybe you already discussed this, but let me add one more opinion.

  42. Pingback: Rape Culture vs. Traditional Culture | Georgia On My Mind

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