Seven men arrested in India for alleged gang rape of a tourist

CONTENT WARNING: The following article may be thought provoking for some readers.

Seven men are now detained in India for the alleged gang rape of a tourist and assault on her husband, authorities said, in a case that has shed new light on the endemic problem of sexual violence against women in the country.

On Saturday, police announced that three men had been arrested in connection with the incident and that four more were wanted.

Dumka Deputy Commissioner Anjaneyulu Dodde confirmed to CNN on Tuesday that four more suspects had been detained.

The couple, who were traveling by motorcycle from West Bengal state to neighboring Nepal, were found on Friday night by patrolling police officers, said Pitambar Singh Kherwar, superintendent of police for Dumka district in Jharkhand state.

They were taken to the hospital, where the woman told the doctor she had been raped, he said.

Police know the identities of the wanted suspects and have formed a special investigation team, Kherwar said. It is unclear if the three arrested suspects have legal representation.

CNN is not naming the female victim, in line with Indian law that prevents victims of sexual violence from being named. Police have not released the names or nationalities of the couple.

The arrests came after a couple of travel vloggers posted on their Instagram account on Saturday that they had “knives (pressed) to our throats” during an attack in India. The woman had been raped and taken to the hospital for DNA testing, they said.

The couple posts in Spanish and the woman says on her Instagram page that she is Brazilian.

On her Instagram story, the woman showed bruises on her face and said: “This is what my face looks like, but it’s not what hurts the most. I thought she was going to die.”

In a follow-up post on Sunday, the couple thanked their followers for their support, saying they are fine and that “the police are doing everything they can to catch” the remaining suspects.

CNN has contacted the couple for comment.

India’s National Commission for Women (NCW) condemned the alleged attack.

NCW president Rekha Sharma spoke to the victim and provided all necessary assistance, the organization posted on social platform X on Saturday.

Jharkhand Minister Mithilesh Kumar Thakur termed the alleged assault as a “condemnable incident”.

“If a crime has been committed, the guilty will not be spared,” he said Saturday.

India has struggled for years to address high rates of violence against women, with a series of high-profile rape cases involving foreign visitors drawing international attention to the issue.

In 2018, a British woman was allegedly raped while walking to her hotel in the western state of Goa, a popular tourist destination; Two years earlier, an American woman was allegedly drugged and raped by a group of men in her room at a five-star hotel in New Delhi. And in 2013, six men were sentenced to life in prison in prison for the gang rape of a Swiss tourist.

According to the National Crime Records Bureau of India, a total of 31,516 rape cases were registered in 2022, an average of 86 cases per day.

And experts warn that the number of recorded cases is only a small fraction of what the real number could be, in a deeply patriarchal country where shame and stigma surround rape victims and their families.

Resources for survivors of sexual assault in Canada

  • If you or someone you know is struggling with sexual assault or trauma, the following resources are available to help people in crisis:
  • If you are in immediate danger or fear for your safety, you should call 911.
  • A complete list of sexual assault centers in Canada that offer information, advocacy and counseling can be found on the website of the Canadian Association of Sexual Assault Centers.
  • Helplines, legal services, and locations offering sexual assault kits can be found in Alberta, BC, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Quebec, Ontario, and Nova Scotia. here.
  • National Residential School Crisis Line: +1 866 925 4419
  • 24-hour crisis line: 416 597 8808
  • Canadian Human Trafficking Hotline: +1 833 900 1010
  • Trans lifeline: +1 877 330 6366
  • Support in cases of sexual misconduct for current or former members of the Armed Forces: +1 844 750 1648
  • Read about your rights as a victim here.

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