It’s more than 90 degrees in Agra, India every day this week, with an average humidity of more than 70 percent. So if you’re planning on visiting the home of the Taj Mahal, you might want to bring a parasol, some 1,000 SPF sunscreen and the largest hat your head can support.
Just don’t wear a skirt – at least not if you’re a woman. That’s the message that female visitors are getting in the form of a welcome kit.
The government released the kit last year in response to the gang rape and murder of a student in Delhi and numerous attacks on female tourists, but it became the subject of much attention after India’s tourism minister Mahesh Sharma discussed it on Sunday.
“In that kit they are given dos and don’ts,” he said. “These are very small things like, they should not venture out alone at night in small places, or wear skirts, and they should click the photo of the vehicle number plate whenever they travel and send it to friends.”
Sharma received backlash for his comments, as critics say this is another example of blaming women rather than attackers.
Sexual assault is a pervasive problem in India, and active support has ranged from the formation of several all-female taxi companies to men wearing skirts to support women’s rights. But many people seem to agree that one common response is not an acceptable answer: blaming victims.