View of Manali, in the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh.
(photo credit: WIKIMEDIA COMMONS/ANOOP PANDIT)
A 25-year-old Israeli tourist visiting India was reportedly gang-raped near the country’s northern town of Manali on Sunday.
The Times of India on Monday cited a local police official who said the incident occurred in the early hours of the morning while the Israeli tourist was hitchhiking.
Police reported that the Israeli woman was searching for a taxi to travel to the Western Himalayan town of Kaza when the passengers in a vehicle without a license plate arrived and offered her a lift to nearby Manali.
The Israeli alleged that six men were traveling in the vehicle and two of them raped her at a location she could not later identify before dropping her off.
According to the Times of India, the woman arrived at a local police station around 10:00 a.m. to report the incident.
The woman has undergone a medical examination that is due for further review, police said.
Local authorities were scanning surveillance footage and conducting an investigation in the area.
According to local media, the incident was the third reported rape of a foreigner in four years.
In light of the report, the Foreign Ministry said the Israeli consulate in India was in contact with the victim as well as local police who were giving top priority to the case.
Orit Sulitzeanu, executive director of the Association of Rape Crisis Centers in Israel told The Jerusalem Post on Monday that the most important thing after such an incident is to ensure the well being of the victim.
“When rape happens abroad, in a country with a different culture and different laws it complicates matters even more,” she said.
Still, she said the “trauma is the same trauma.
“It doesn’t matter if rape happens in Israel or abroad, or whether it is someone you know or a stranger – it is an infiltration of the body and soul,” she said.
Sulitzeanu said that whether the Israeli woman remains abroad or returns to Israel, she needs prompt attention.
“She must receive proper medical assistance as soon as possible, and her family or support network needs to provide all the care they can give, from psychological support to whatever else she may need,” she said.
She added that it is important to remember that “no matter the circumstances of the rape, it is not the fault of the woman that she was raped.”
Sulitzeanu said she hoped the Foreign Ministry would also provide all the assistance necessary, just like it would in the event of a natural disaster.
She also offered the services of the ARCCI “should she want our assistance.”
She called on the government to pass a law for the rehabilitation of rape victims ensuring that every victim receive a basket of services from the State.
“Whether they were harmed in Israel or abroad,” she said.
Tovah Lazaroff contributed to this report.