An American tourist was gang raped after accepting a ride by a truck driver on June 4th in Manali, a popular tourist attraction site in the northern state of Himachal Pradesh. The thirty year old woman had supposedly left her friend’s house at around ten o’clock heading to meet one of her friends in a city four miles away from Manali. Not being able to get any means of transportation, she apparently accepts a hitchhike from a driver accompanying with two other men. After attempting to make her feel at home and getting far enough, the three men reportedly gang raped her and dropped her in the vicinity of a bridge in the town, Manali, at about 2:00 o’clock in the midnight.
According to reports, the victim is safe and in a stable condition. As of now police has not arrested the suspect, but proclaimed an order for all truck drivers to report to police for further investigation.
Although appalling, gang raping is at a high rate in India. A 23 year old physiotherapy student was sexually attacked by six men and died due to the severity of internal injuries in her attack. The incident provoked protests across the country and among human rights. Five of the criminals were sentenced to death and one sent to a detention center because of being young. However, almost half a year has passed and criminals are still awaiting the punishment.
In another incident, a five year old girl was harassed by a twenty year old man in May. Women from any age fall victim to such horrendous sexual attacks. The saddest part is that victims are forces to marry the attackers in order to avoid further libelous remarks about their families.
According to India’s tourism industry, the revenue gained through tourist has considerably increased over the last couple of years and is expected to have a 12% hike within 2016. But, the rape attacks on the American tourist and other nationalities have had a negative impact on tourism industry. Women are loath to travel to India. Statistics from tourist groups has showed a remarkable drop in the number of women tripping to India.
Lack of proper investigation, negligence of police officers in securing the lives of people, particularly women, and poor supervision of judicial system in India are some but not all of reasons why the number of sexual attacks is rising more than ever. A report by UN shows that 95% of women feel unsafe. Moreover, an Indian government report reveals a 17% increase in the number of rapes from 2007-2011. A female is seduced without consent every twenty minutes.
The attack on the American tourist has apparently been one of the reasons to push Indian officials to pass stricter laws, including lowering the age of sex in females from 18 to 16, in the hope of controlling any type of sexual attacks. Additionally, they have set death penalty for all gang rape attacks. Arguably or not, it seems that the India’s Parliament legislation is to overhaul the country’s criminal code