I'm not a woman, and I rarely travel with them for more than the briefest of peroids, so I'm not going to even attempt to talk about this from their perspective - other than to mention that they really are constantly being pestered, mentally undresed, fondled, touched, grabbed, exposed to obscene gestures, words and on occasion, acts.
As a male, I can at least try and see it from the Indian male's perspective... and really, I feel quite sympthetic.
You see, while the state of affairs in India no doubt keeps women in chains, it keeps the sexual desires of both genders locked away.
On more occasions than I can remember, I've had the following conversation:
Him: Have you?
Him: (somewhat embarassed yet eager look). Have you, you know...?
The fact is that (not including prostitution), sex is off limits to the Indian male. India is one large population of frustrated virgins (it's like a computer science department, only with more people, and is far less clean).
The western woman, as portrayed on TV, is some kind of cross between a sex goddess and a slut. Indian women (those on TV) don't even kiss, let alone do anything more, yet western women regularly run around naked, do all kinds of sordid acts, and much worse, do them with people they're not married to.
Thus, if you're an Indian guy, and you have the good fortune to meet a western woman (on the bus, on the train, in the street), the first thing you're going to do is try and talk her into having sex with you... You'd be an idiot not to. It would be like meeting Aladin's Genie, and not asking him for a wish.
Alas, western women are not really super sex goddess sluts, and so those who travel here are given the tough job of trying to dispel this myth.. or at least do their travelling in a country where everyone believes this myth.
So, every time an Indian male asks to take a photograph, to shake a hand, or asks if they have a boyfriend - western women must be on guard.
However, when the same thing happens to me, I don't have to worry about someone trying to get into my pants.. it really is just typical Indian friendlyness. I can smile, pose for a photo, and shake hands, without worrying what acts people will do with said photo later.
And so, by not travelling with women - I find that I have a much more pleasant time. I don't have to worry about my travelling partners getting felt up, I don't have to worry about alterior motives, and I can take a moment to smile and shake hands.
Strange how it all works out, isn't it?