Monday, January 27, 2014

Sri Lanka: Australian Exchange Student Raped by Tour Guide Who is Now a Fugitive

According to http://www.abc.net.au, an Australian exchange student, has reported been raped by a Sri Lankan tour guide after she may have lured by the guide from the main group of students.

Local media reported on Sunday that police in the southern town of Ambalangoda were searching for a man suspected of raping the young woman on a beach.

The Sri Lankan internet newspaper, called The Colombo Page, said the student was attending the Australian National University (ANU), and was among a group of 15 Australian students conducting studies in Ambalangoda.

Unfortunately, the Sri Lankan rapist has disappeared and is being sought by police.

COMMENT: The rape victim had been working as a volunteer at a turtle hatchery as part of an academic project since last month, another Sri Lankan website, THE DAILY MIRROR reported.

DFAIT is providing consular assistance and forensic medical support to the victim and is protecting the victim's identity.

The risk of young women being exploited by sexual predators abroad continues to be an ever-present threat, particularly for inexperience university women from all nations.

Admittedly, there is a fine line between honestly making potential crime victims aware of the threats they may face while abroad on work-study-volunteer programs and ignoring the subject entirely.

Having taught "Staying Safe Abroad" for university audiences for a number of years, my general conclusion is that university men and women be briefed honestly and without "sugar-coating." 

The main reason for being candid with university audiences is largely because if a student is victimized as a result of a violent crime while abroad, there may be major political "blow-back" on the institution of higher learning if a student sustains physical and/or emotional distress.

Angry parents, for instance, may complain later that a  pre-departure security briefing was "sugar-coated" with little candor.