(TheBlaze/AP) — A Swiss woman who was on a cycling trip in central India with her husband has been gang-raped by between four and eight men, police said Saturday. The attack comes three months after the fatal gang-rape of a woman aboard a New Delhi bus outraged Indians.
Authorities detained and questioned 13 men in connection with the latest assault, which occurred Friday night as the couple camped out in a forest in Madhya Pradesh state after bicycling from the temple town of Orchha, local police officer R.K. Gurjar said.
The men beat the couple and gang-raped the woman, he said. They also stole the couple’s mobile phone, a laptop computer and 10,000 rupees ($185).
39-year-old woman was treated at a hospital in the nearby city of Gwalior.
A gut-wrenching photo showed the woman walking while being escorted by police to the hospital. Her face was concealed with a hood, a common practice in India, where law does not allow rape victims to be identified publicly to protect them from the stigma attached to rape in the conservative country.
According to the National Crime Records Bureau, one woman is raped every 20 minutes in India. But according to Reuters, police estimate that only four out of 10 rapes are reported since women are afraid of being shamed by their families or communities.
Indian television stations showed scores of police searching the forest where the attack occurred.
Swiss Foreign Ministry spokesman Tilman Renz described the case as “deeply disturbing” and Swiss diplomats have called on Indian authorities “to do everything to quickly find the perpetrators so that they can be held accountable.”
Last month, the Swiss government issued a travel notice for India that included a warning about “increasing numbers of rapes and other sexual offenses” in the South Asian nation.
India has seen outrage and widespread protests against attacks on women since December’s fatal gang-rape of a young woman on a moving bus in New Delhi, the capital. The crime horrified Indians and set off nationwide protests about India’s treatment of women and spurred the government to hurry through a new package of laws to protect them.
One of six suspects in the December attack was found dead in a New Delhi jail this past week. Authorities said he hanged himself, but his family and lawyer insisted foul play was involved. Four other men and a juvenile remain on trial for the attack.
Associated Press writer Frank Jordans in Berlin contributed to this report.