British tourist who leapt from hotel balcony feared she would become rape statistic in India
New laws in India will make stalking, voyeurism and sexual harassment all crimes
The British tourist that leapt from the second floor of a hotel balcony after fearing she would be sexually assaulted said she had feared becoming another Indian rape statistic.
Jessica Davies, 31, had been staying at a hotel in Agra, near the Taj Mahal last week, when she was approached in the early hours by the hotel manager.
“At a quarter to four he was knocking on my door. When I opened the door he was stood there with two bottles of oil and approaching the door as if to come in saying he wanted to give me a massage and a shower,” Ms Davies told Sky News.
According to her account, Ms Davies, from Greenwich in South-east London, pushed him out and bolted the door, but he is alleged to have continued banging on it – insisting he was let in.
Ms Davies, who works as dental hygienist, said she feared that the manager, who was later joined by a second man, could access her room through her balcony door. She said there was a power cut, plunging the room into darkness, and that her phone was not working.
“I knew there was no other choice at that point, apart from to jump from the balcony, which I did,” said Ms Davies, who injured her leg as she leapt from the second to the ground floor. After screaming for help she was finally was given a lift to a police station by a rickshaw driver. The incident has left the hotel owner facing a charge of harassment. But India’s notoriously slow justice system means it could be months before charges are finally pressed.
Ms Davies added: “I think there is a problem in India. There is a taboo against women who are assaulted sexually and this needs to be made more aware. My hope is that help is made available.”
Last Thursday India’s parliament passed a sweeping new legislation designed to safeguard women, in response to the fatal gang rape of a young woman on a bus in Delhi in December. The legislation, which requires the President’s signature before it becomes official, makes crimes of stalking, voyeurism and sexual harassment. It provides for the death penalty for repeat offenders or for rape attacks that lead to the victim’s death.
Ms Davies, who returned to the UK on Friday, said she would return to India, but would travel with others in future. The British government advice urges women to “exercise caution” in India, even when travelling as part of a group.
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