Dubai: No country for women? American travel blogger Jordan Taylor was recently visiting New Delhi, India, where she was allegedly harassed and tormented. Her viral ‘vlog’ about the incident started doing the rounds on social media and left online users outraged.
Taylor uploaded the video on her official YouTube channel @Travellight and the 18 minute clip has 163,389 views. It opens with a typed message, which reads: “I felt that it was right to share this, or rather, it would be wrong to just sweep it under the rug and silence myself on this matter.”
She also advised viewers under the age of 18 to not view the video because of the content. In the video Taylor said that towards the end of her trip, she faced sexual harassment while in Delhi.
She said: “Men just randomly passing by reached out and grabbed me… they were touching me, groping me....” They used explicit words and she felt very “overwhelmed”.
Additionally, she accused the hotel she was staying at for giving out her personal information to strangers and said that staff members harassed her.
She went on the trip as a part of a project in liaison with different companies promoting adventure and travel in India. Her boyfriend accompanied her but left a few days before she was set to leave the country. As Taylor recounts in the video, the hotel staff’s behaviour towards her changed because they “knew [she] was alone” and she said one person even “followed [her] up the stairs”.
She said they switched off the wifi, called her repeatedly and turned off the air-conditioning, hoping to get her to come out of her room. “I did feel very certain that if I did [leave], something very bad would happen.”
Taylor gets emotional in the video and takes several deep breaths before continuing with the story. As proof, she also took clips of the shadows patrolling outside her room and recorded a brief phone conversation she had with a hotel staff member asking her to “open the door for [him]” so that he could fix the air-conditioning.
She decided to leave in the early hours of the morning and managed to catch a flight to her next destination. Despite the experience, Taylor said she was proud of herself for staying calm.
Towards the end of the clip, the blogger clarifies that she did not want to “silence” herself but was in a dilemma considering the project she was working on. She admits that she did not want people to have a negative view of the country and told her viewers that the videos she does put up in the future, were taken before her ordeal.
According to a report by Indian website, Firstpost, the hotel has now been shut down. Reddit India (@redditindia) shared the video on Twitter, after which “the hotel-aggregator, OYO Rooms, through which she booked the hotel (OYO Hotel on Main Bazaar Road, Paharganj, Delhi) responded to the thread on Twitter and said that the company will look into the matter and ensure action”.
They responded through their official Twitter handle @OYO4U and posted: “Guest safety is our top priority and will take the strictest of action against the partner hotel involved in this incident. Appreciate your concern.”
On social media, users were appalled by Taylor’s experience.
Tweep @AudaciousQuest posted: “Disgusting. This is not random. This is common... They rape and make videos. The least the government can do is make women feel that the state intends to protect them. Under Modi, where do common people go? How do they save themselves from these predators?”
And @Kukki44 posted: “This is the mind-set of us Indians, for society will not reign them in and keepers of law and order will not punish them…”
Her YouTube video received more than 5,000 comments as many people praised her for her bravery.
@Udita Sharma posted on YouTube: “I am from India, and I am a travel photographer. I have faced the same situation in many places of India. Once in Gaya, Bihar in front of a police station … one man tried to grope me… Literally India is the most unsafe country. It doesn’t matter what skin colour you have. I have seen African girls being groped on street in Delhi. Here even if you raise a voice, everyone passing by will just ignore you.”
The video started a discussion about the safety of women in India and the reason for such incidents. Many users wondered as to why the Bharatiya Janta Party’s (BJP) was not making better reforms and laws to improve the safety of women in the country.