American Tourist Gang-Raped In India: Shocking Sexual Assault On Female Hitchhiker Fuels Indian Protests; Does India Need Stricter Laws To Prevent Rape? [REPORT]

By Noelle Chehab June 4, 2013 3:53 PM EDT
An American tourist was gang-raped while visiting India on Monday, prompting outrage that the country has not taken measures to prevent sexual assault. (Photo: Reuters)
An American tourist was gang-raped while visiting India on Monday, prompting outrage that the country has not taken measures to prevent sexual assault. (Photo: Reuters)

An American tourist was gang-raped in India, marking the latest sexual assault crime the country has seen and prompting protestors to demand safer transportation.

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The American woman was gang-raped on Monday night after three men picked her up at a hill resort in northern India. According to police, the 31-year-old victim was trying to return to her guest house in Himachal Pradesh when the men offered her a ride around 1 a.m. The men than allegedly drove her to a remote area 10 miles in a different direction before they allegedly forcibly raped her.

A local police inspector said the American was transported to a local hospital after the gang-rape where her she received preliminary tests that confirmed she had been sexually assaulted. She was then taken to her guest house and where she two female officers have remained at her side.

The 31-year-old American tourist who was gang-raped in India is now in stable condition, and is staying at a guest house with female officers for protection. (Photo: Reuters)
The 31-year-old American tourist who was gang-raped in India is now in stable condition, and is staying at a guest house with female officers for protection. (Photo: Reuters)

"Her condition is stable and she is accompanied by two women constables," the inspector, who declined to be identified, said. "All medical help has been given, and the doctors have been taking care of her. We have told her we are like family and are available for any help," the official said.

Although it was initially reported that three men had been charged with gang-raping the tourist, subsequent investigations led to their release. "I think it was misquoted. I think they were detained for questioning, they were not arrested," Himachal Pradesh police chief B. Kamal Kumar said.

The gang-rape of an American tourist visiting India prompted nation-wide protests demanding that the government implement stricter laws to prevent rapes that are widespread in the country. (Photo: Reuters)
The gang-rape of an American tourist visiting India prompted nation-wide protests demanding that the government implement stricter laws to prevent rapes that are widespread in the country. (Photo: Reuters)

The gang-rape comes on the heels of similar incidents that have targeted women in a country infamous for sexual assault. According to The National Crime Records Bureau, over 24,200 rapes were reported in 2011, meaning that a rape occurs almost every 20 minutes. The U.S. State Department has issued a travel advisory for India to warn visitors of the dangerous conditions.

"Women should observe stringent security precautions, including avoiding use of public transport after dark without the company of known and trustworthy companions," the agency has urged. The warning comes after a series of tourists have been gang-raped while visiting India.

In December a 23-year-old woman was gang-raped while traveling by bus in New Delhi. The woman later died of complications from the injuries she sustained. Five men were charged in the gang-rape case, and one died while in prison. The incident prompted thousands of protestors to flood the streets urging authorities to curb sex crimes and make transportation safer. 

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