London, May 1 : The 40-year-old British woman, who was successful in securing the conviction yesterday of a man who raped her in Udaipur, Rajasthan, has claimed that she faced intimidation, harassment and the "woeful" inadequacy of the British High Commission for four months before achieving her objective.
The unidentified woman scathingly attacked the local authorities and the community for harassing and intimidating her so much that the trial was almost as traumatic as the rape.
She also accused defence lawyers of 32-year-old Parbhat Singh, the owner of the Pardeshi guesthouse in Udaipur, who was sentenced to 21 years in prison for raping her on the night of December 23, of intimidating, mocking and manhandling her in court, and added that her own lawyers also verbally abused and even sexually harassed her.
"Of course, I am happy that the man who raped me is behind bars. But I only won because I could spend 25,000 pounds, take four months off work and resist all the harassment and intimidation. An Indian woman would not stand a chance," she told The Times.
She also accused the British High Commission of providing "woefully inadequate" information and support.
"While I was appealing for help, Gordon Brown was in Delhi meeting a women's empowerment group, and yet I was unable to get support from my own Government," she said.
The High Commission, which sent a representative to Udaipur twice at the start of the trial, responded by saying that it had provided consular assistance to an extremely high standard.
The woman, who has been in contact with The Times since January, said that her ordeal began when Singh brought extra blankets that she had requested to her room. He forced his way in, pushed her on to the bed and raped her with such brutality that she passed out momentarily and suffered convulsions and blood loss over the next few days.
When she went to the police, she was forced to write a statement while Singh sat beside her.
She underwent a medical examination in a maternity ward as mothers gave birth around her and the ward head called her a whore because she was unmarried, but not a virgin. "That was almost as traumatic as the rape itself," she said.
When the case began in a "fast-track" court, the judge denied her an interpreter and defence lawyers surrounded her repeatedly, laughed at her and pushed her around. At one point, Rajendra Singh Haran, a defence lawyer, put an arm round her waist and said: "You sound like you know what you're doing. I'll come to you for sex lessons afterwards."
One junior member of her own legal team asked her about oral sex repeatedly and offered to come to her hotel room. Throughout the trial, local people approached her almost daily to threaten and cajole her into dropping the charges. Several local hotels refused to allow her to stay.
"The community appeared to be prepared to go to any lengths. They just thought, 'You're white, you're a tourist, you'll be gone in two weeks', " she said.
She said she believed that she had won the case only because of an honest judge and a sympathetic police chief.
The National Crime Records Bureau says that rape is the fastest-growing crime in India. There were 19,348 cases reported in 2006, a 22 per cent increase over 2005. Women's rights groups say that thousands more are not reported and the conviction rate, although rising slowly, still averages only 27 per cent.