Tuesday, June 4, 2013

India: Foreign Women Must Be Suspicious of New Acquaintances, Forcible Rape Continues Unabated

Police in the city of Kolkata (formerly known as Calcutta) reported that a local businessman has been arrested in connection with the June 1 drugging and raping of an Irish charity worker, 21, after her birthday party.

The victim filed a police complaint stating that she was assaulted in a semi-conscious state after drinking a cup of tea at the 25-year-old suspect's home following a night out.

Police believe that the accused laced the tea given to the woman with drugs that caused her to become immobilized. 

COMMENT: The Irish national, an engineering student who came to India to volunteer with a local charity, has been sent to a hospital so that a forensic examination can be conducted.

The accused befriended the woman at a busy market last week and they decided to party together on Friday night to celebrate her birthday.  

A survey by a trade body released earlier this year found that the number of foreign women tourists visiting India has dropped by 35% after a good number of foreign travelers have been assaulted and raped, particularly after an Indian medical student, 23, was gang-raped on a moving city bus in New Delhi in December 2012.

A Swiss cyclist was gang-raped in central state of Madhya Pradesh in March, while a South Korean tourist was allegedly drugged and raped in the same state in January by the son of the owner of a hotel where she was staying.

Considering that solo female travelers continue to be attacked in India, as well as countries worldwide, I offer the following suggestions:

1. Have a healthy and suspicious nature when dealing with people you have never met before, or know only casually, particularly if you're a woman traveling alone. Note: This also applies to men;

2. Never meet new acquaintances in their home, particularly men, but only in public places until such time as their behavior and motives have been corroborated;

3. Never leave your drink unattended in a bar or restaurant;

4. Never drink to the excess unless you are with friends that you trust impeccably to come to your aid in an emergency;

5. Avoid being out alone, particularly late at night, as this is a time when predators are most active;

6. Always carry a mobile phone and input people you know and trust into the speed-dialer. This should also include your embassy or consulate, nearest hospital and local police; 

7. Acknowledge in your mind that sexual predators are commonplace in India and all nations; and

8. Do not place yourself in compromising situations unless your trust those you are with without reservation.

Kolkata AKA Calcutta is the capital of the Indian state of West Bengal. Located on the east bank of the Hooghly River, it is the principal commercial, cultural, and educational center of East India. As of 2011, the city had 4.5 million residents; the urban agglomeration, which comprises the city and its suburbs, is home to approximately 14.1 million, making it the third-most populous metropolitan area in India. As of 2008, its economic output as measured by gross domestic product ranked third among South Asian cities, behind Mumbai and Delhi.