India is unsafe for women. What’s worse is that not a single Indian will even try and defend this blanket generalisation. Because it is a fact. The statistics show it. Newspaper headlines everyday attest to it. And if you were to simply step outside and observe how men treat women, you’ll get your proof too. For now, here’s a popular travel vlogger whose story of the sexual assault she underwent during her trip to India will chill you to the bone.
And yet, there’s an eerie déjà vu to it. Like a horror movie you’ve watched one too many times.
Travellight is a popular YouTube travel vlogger, who took a trip to India with her boyfriend in July, as part of a new collaboration she was quite excited about. Only a week ago, she even posted a first impressions video of her sojourn in Delhi.
However, two days ago, the vlogger posted yet another video. The title made it explicitly clear that while her first impression of India might have been great, what followed was definitely ugly.
In the 18-minute video, titled ‘This Happened In India // Sexual Assault’, the vlogger can be seen visibly shaken as she tries to narrate her horrifying ordeal of how she was sexually assaulted on the streets of India, even when her boyfriend was right next to her.
It gets worse. She goes on to talk about how she spent her final few days barricading herself in her Delhi hotel room because the very hotel’s staff harassed her and gave out her personal information.
She talks about how in a five star hotel in Delhi, her personal information was shared by the hotel staff.
In another hotel, a more economical one, the hotel staff would wait outside her hotel room, and keep urging her to let them in. She even received calls on her hotel intercom phone where a man would heavily breathe, make moaning sounds, or ask her again to open the door.
She keeps maintaining that while the rest of her trip was a wonderful adventure, and she doesn’t necessarily want to say negative things about India, the last few days have her shaken to the core.
As is the case with victims of assault, she too tried to think over and over again of what she might have done wrong or how her clothing wasn’t even provocative to send out any wrong signals.
She managed to escape the hotel in the wee hours of morning. However, the PTSD from the trauma she endured was the baggage she carried onto her next few flights. She explains how she tried to keep silent and get over it, but then decided to post the video so that other women travellers wouldn’t be in the dark.
You can watch it here:
After receiving several queries in the comments, the vlogger went on to issue a couple of clarifications about the hotels she was staying in and police action being taken.
In an update, she wrote in the comments that the hotel that gave out her personal information was The Lalit in Connaught Place, New Delhi. As for the other hotel where she was harassed by the staff banging on her door, it was an OYO Hotel on Main Bazaar Road in Delhi.
She even clarified why she couldn’t seek out police help or the front desk’s assistance in the matter.
The video was shared on a Reddit thread and shared by Reddit on its official Twitter handle, following which OYO responded to the incident.
— Reddit India (@redditindia) September 9, 2018
Hi! We are aware of this shocking incident and are in touch with the guest to obtain the information required to conduct a detailed investigation. 1/2
— OYO4U (@OYO4U) September 9, 2018
Guest safety is our top priority and will take the strictest of action against the partner hotel involved in this incident. Appreciate your concern. 2/2 ~AK
— OYO4U (@OYO4U) September 9, 2018
No updates on what the ‘strict action’ has been so far.
The comments section on both the YouTube video and the Reddit thread are a mixture of fellow international travellers sharing similar terrifying stories and Indians hanging their heads in shame over their country’s treatment of foreign female tourists.
Some female travellers shared the ordeal they faced when they visited India, despite having a male fellow traveller with them…
Another female tourist from Japan revealed how it took Japanese embassy officials to rescue her and a friend from a similar situation!
Ashamed of their fellow Indians, many of them point blank asked foreign female tourists to not visit India at all, or if they do, then make sure they do so in large groups and with male companions.
This isn’t the first such incident to come to light, and sadly, this won’t be the last. Female tourists from abroad have often complained of India being unsafe. There have been rapes, murders and many similar horrifying incidents reported by tourists, which have gone on to become just another dark statistic for a country that believes in calling their guests an avatar of God.
What’s worse is how complacent the local law enforcement authorities get in these situations, when these guests come to them seeking help.
Here’s hoping the strictest action gets taken against everyone involved.