A US woman says she was raped and thrown from a second story balcony while vacationing in the Dominican Republic
The Staten Island woman shared her story with Abc7 in the hopes of protecting other young people.
"People go on vacation," she said. "They put their guard down half of the time. They are trying to relax, but I want people to know, you can't have your guard down. You always have to be careful. It could happen at any time. This didn't happen at night time. This happened in broad day."
The anonymous alleged victim said she visited the Ocean Blue and Sand in Punta Cana in June.
Part way through her trip she says she met a couple staying at the resort at a poolside bar in the afternoon. They took interest in her and suggested sharing a few drinks.
The alleged victim said she quickly began feeling disoriented. "Things were starting to get blurry," she said. "I kind of heard buzzing in my ears, like ringing, and that's when everything started to fade."
The alleged victim said she headed to her lounge chair, feeling drugged, but the 28-year-old man with whom she'd shared a few drinks followed and grabbed her.
"I remember being taken against my will to the room," she said.
According to police reports, someone called 911 after seeing the victim fall from a second story balcony wearing no pants.
She was hospitalised with a damaged spine, a gash in her hand requiring stitches, severe bruising, and internal trauma.
She says despite her trauma, doctors in Punta Cana did not suggest a rape kit. Instead, she went to the police, who determined her injuries were consistent with rape and arrested the couple.
"This world is sick, and people have horrible intentions."
In statements to police, the female suspect admitted throwing the victim off a second story balcony. The accused claims she found the victim in the hotel room with her boyfriend.
The couple is facing charges of sexual assault, attempted murder, violence against women and robbery.
But a judge released them on the equivalent of US$1,000 (NZ$1505) bail each -- an amount the alleged victim finds offensive.
"It's a whole different country, different rules," she said.
Pathways to Safety International, a victim's agency, says reports of sexual violence abroad have increased 28% since #MeToo — but obtaining justice for those crimes can be extremely challenging and often futile.
Both the prosecutor's office and the police department in Punta Cana refused to comment on the case. The Ocean Blue and Sand also declined comment.