London: The 31-year-old British woman who jumped off a hotel balcony in Agra to escape an alleged sexual assault has vowed to return to India to give evidence against her attackers but said she will “never” travel alone again.
Jessica Davies, a dental hygienist from Greenwich was speaking of her ordeal for the first time since her return to Britain after she cut-short her back-packing tour of Asia.
“I will go back if I have to in order to give evidence,” said Davies, who sustained leg injuries while jumping out of a second-floor hotel room’s balcony in Agra last week. But she added that she is “never going to travel alone again”.
Davies said she wanted to talk about her experience “because the shame of sexual assault makes many people too scared to speak out”.
She condemned the behaviour of fellow hotel residents as “disgusting”, as no one came to help her while she was screaming for help for over an hour.
The manager of the hotel, Sachin Chauhan, and a guard from the hotel Agra Mahal appeared in court last week to face charges of sexual harassment. However, the duo claimed that they had knocked on Davies’ door for a wake-up call.
She denied reports that she had asked for a wake-up call, saying she had set her phone alarm for 4.30am to catch a taxi for an early train to Jaipur.
Still in her pyjamas, she said, she had opened the door to find the hotel manager asking if she wanted to take a shower and offering a massage. “He was showing me this oil he had,” she told BBC.
“I held my key in the lock and I could feel them turning it from the other side,” she said, adding that she used furniture to barricade her hotel room door the men.
“By hook or by crook this person – or persons – were going to get into my room. I’m 100% certain. And there was only one way out, to jump two floors,” said Davies, who was half-way through a six-week trip, intending to go on to China.
The young woman insisted that she had been “exercising a lot of caution and wearing appropriate clothes” after hearing about some recent cases of attacks on women.
The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) issued updated travel advice for women travellers to India after this incident, calling on them to “exercise caution when travelling in India even if they are travelling in a group”.
The incident came just days after a 39-year-old Swiss tourist was gang-raped in a forest in Madhya Pradesh while her husband was beaten up.
Women’s safety has been a simmering topic in India ever since the brutal gang-rape of a 23-year-old physiotherapy student in New Delhi last December.