In 2015, when a 25-year-old resident of the United States spoke to her friends about her plan to visit India, no one dissuaded her. They just asked her to be mindful of her safety, and ensure that she does not travel alone. Paying heed to their concerns, she decided to travel to India and booked her tour as part of a group.
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On Saturday, the US citizen paid a second visit to India — this time to record a statement as a complainant in a gangrape case against five people, three employees of a travel agency and two others. The woman, who was allegedly gangraped at a five-star hotel in Connaught Place, arrived in the capital on Monday to record her statement before a magistrate.
Speaking to The Sunday Express, she said, “For three months, I did not realise what had happened to me. There were signs earlier, bruises on my body. I tried to apply some kind of logic to figure out what had happened. But I had no memory of what happened during those two days I stayed at the hotel in Delhi. It was only once I went back to the US that memory of those days came back.”
On April 8 and 9, the woman had stayed at a five-star hotel in Connaught Place before embarking on a tour of Agra and Jaipur. As per the complaint filed by her with Delhi Police, five men drugged her and sexually assaulted her for two days. “I did not face any harassment or assault during the rest of my trip. At that time, I did not know what had happened. I had been drugged for two days. Three of these men were with us during our tour, but I didn’t know then,” she said. The woman returned to the US in mid-April.
In the FIR lodged in the case, the woman described the accused and said that it was towards the end of July that she started to remember what had happened to her in India. “I approached an NGO and told them about the incident. After this, a complaint with the Delhi Police was filed on my behalf,” she said.
While police have been investigating the case, the woman said she is not confident about the measures taken by them.
“I wish police had been more strict and forthcoming in their action against the accused. The perpetrators and those supporting them need to be punished. If police are supportive, more women who might have suffered similar situations would feel comfortable and safe in approaching the police and filing a complaint. If someone I know says that they plan to visit India, I won’t ask them not to do so, but I will definitely tell them to be extremely careful. They should never be alone,” she said.