So I'm a bit confused since I never faced this situation before and I would love to have anyone's opinion on the matter. First I would like to point out that Im an Indian American male raised mainly in the United States, though I was born in India. Im currently working on my PhD- the program has small class sizes, and there are a lot of foreign students, especially Indians and I have many friends from this group.
My problem is with a couple of Indians who were raised in India, but are here to get their PhDs (let's call them A and B). They act very strange around women and have said strange things about women that have made me, and my friends who are women and targets of their statements, uncomfortable. It is possible that they were raised in a culture in which their sexuality was repressed, and they don't really understand what they are doing. But it is also possible that they are feigning naivete. I know that a lot of guys in India are a bit sexually repressed, they ogle women shamelessly, they grope them. I know it happens in America too, but it's on another level in India. Im not sure if this is a problem with my friends, but I suspect it is. They are generally very nice and polite, but every once in a while they say things that bother me.
For example, A wanted to know whether a friend of mine was interested in him. I did my duty as a friend and asked her and she said no. When I reported her response to A and he said "that's what they always say, but invite them for drinks, and after a few, they'll be ready to sleep with you". That made me really uncomfortable. Both of them are approached me for information about my female friend's relationship status several times. It was insistent and almost belligerent. My friend told me that they cornered her when she was alone to ask about it. She is very uncomfortable around them. They sit with us at lunch, and I've asked her a couple times to ask them to stay away, but she says it's not a big deal and that she doesn't want everyone in the program to think badly of her (it's a very small program and he knows a lot of people). It's like she's accepted having negative attention constantly in her life.
Another female friend told me that she never wanted to talk about A again- it seemed like he lied to break up her relationship with someone- which might just be a personal matter, but she was so angry and ashamed that I'm suspecting that he may have done something more, though Im not sure what.
The thing is none of this has affected me personally, and if anything, they are both good friends to me. Just the other day, when I was upset, and A asked me to go to dinner with him and we talked and bonded. When women aren't involved he gives great advice.
The women they are bothering would rather just ignore them, but it bothers me that no one stands up to them. Should I convince my female friends to do something about it? They are getting angry at me when I press them. Should I talk to an authority figure about them? They are kind to me so I would feel guilty to do that. Should I attempt to convince them that they should treat women with respect? But that assumes that they are naïve, when it is quite possible (if A is capable of lying to destroy a relationship) that they are manipulative and know what they are doing.
This is a weird situation for me because they seem very respectable and nice in every other way. They aren't the stereotypes that I expect a sexual harasser to be. I feel guilty for bonding with A when he hurt my friends, and I would also feel guilty going to an authority figure.
Please let me know what you guys think I should do.
Thanks for all the responses. One thing I should clarify, these two friends do not grope or ogle as ar as I know, but Im just pointing out what a lot of Indian guys have been known to do, and Im not sure whether they are immersed in this culture as well.