Danish woman is latest tourist to be attacked, robbed and raped in India

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A Danish tourist has been gang-raped near a popular shopping area in New Delhi after becoming lost and asking a group of men for directions.

She was also robbed and beaten in this latest sexual attack to scandalise the country.

The woman asked the men for directions to her hotel, police said. They lured her to a secluded area where they raped her at knife-point.

She eventually managed to reach the hotel where owner Amit Bahl called the police.

“When she came, it was miserable,” said Mr Bahl, at the Amax hotel in the Paharganj area, which is popular with backpackers.

“The woman was crying and “not in good shape,” he said. “I am really ashamed that this happened.”

The woman, whose name was not released, has since returned to Denmark.

The problem of sexual violence in India has gained widespread attention since the gang rape and murder of a 23-year-old woman on a moving bus in December 2012. Public fury over the case has led to more stringent laws that doubled prison terms for rape to 20 years and made voyeurism and stalking criminal offences

But for many women, particularly the poor, daily indignities and abuse continue unabated and the new laws have not improved street safety. Ranjana Kumari, director of India’s Centre for Social Research, said the country’s conservative, patriarchal traditions lead men to use rape as a tool to instil fear in women, adding: “This mindset is not changing. It’s a huge challenge.”

Experts say the rapid growth of India’s cities and the yawning gulf between rich and poor are exacerbating the problem of sexual violence, with young men struggling to prove their traditional dominance in a changing world. Cultural stigmas, police apathy and judicial incompetence have long made it difficult for women to even report rapes, but this has been changing.

Between January and October last year, 1,330 rapes were reported in Delhi and its suburbs, compared with 706 for all of 2012, according to government figures.