“Men just randomly passing by reached out and grabbed me… they were touching me, groping me. This one guy kinda leaned in […] and he just said to me, ‘I want to f**k you’, right into my face, even with Livio right there.”
This was just one of the harrowing experiences that Jordan Taylor, an American travel blogger had, when she was recently visiting India. In a vlog she made about the visit, Jordan, who goes by the name ‘Travellight’ on social media, recounted the multiple instances she was sexually harassed while in the national capital New Delhi.
She was forced to confine herself to her room in a hotel when the staff allegedly started sexually harassing her and trying to get her to open the door. This place had apparently partnered with hotel aggregator OYO rooms, which has now taken action against the hotel.
Jordan recounts that the harassment peaked when her boyfriend, Livio, left four days before she was to leave India. By this time, Livio and Jordan had checked into the OYO rooms partnered hotel, identified as the OYO hotel on Main Bazaar Road, Paharganj, Delhi.
Though the couple tried to make it appear as though Livio was still there, the hotel staff saw him leave for the airport early in the morning. What happened next was yet another example of how people continue to respect a man’s presence and claim over a woman above her own will. As soon as Livio left, the hotel staff’s behaviour changed towards Jordan, she says in the vlog.
“From that very morning they started acting completely different to me. At one point, one of them even followed me up the stairs. They called the room, and I know for a fact that it was hotel employees because this phone is only for hotel use […] and they said into the phone, ‘Heyyyy babyyyy!’ I hung up. They called the room again and it was just silent and not saying anything. […] The next day, they call the room, I pick up and they were just making sexual noises… breathing. There is no way that this was normal breathing into the phone,” Jordan narrates.
“It was extremely uncomfortable at that point,” she says.
Things took a turn for the worse two days before she was supposed to leave. Jordan was in her room when one of the men knocked and asked her to open the door. When she did not, he allegedly came back an hour later and banged something very hard on the door. But when Jordan still did not relent, someone allegedly turned off the AC from outside the room.
“I heard him flip it (the main switch) off. It was a very distinct sound. Immediately he knocks on my door and says, ‘Hello! The AC is broken. We need to come in and fix it. Open the door and we’ll come and fix the AC.’ And I just said no, I am not answering the door,” Jordan said.
When they tried telling her the same thing over the phone, Jordan said she knew they had turned off the AC and it was not broken.
After this, they stopped knocking but Jordan says she could see shadows outside her door from the gap at the bottom.
“He was right outside my door. There were more people who came, I don’t know who. They would knock and say open the door. Then they shut off the WiFi and said the same story – that they need to come in and fix the WiFi,” Jordan shares.
“I knew that they were lying because the AC wasn’t broken. I just felt so certain that if I did open the door… then. Because they were so desperately trying with lies to get into my room… I did feel very certain that if I did, something very bad would happen. And I still think that it would have,” Jordan says. The trauma is clearly visible on her face at this point.
After a few deep breaths and regaining her composure, she says that the harassment continued for a very long time, almost two days. “I would always see the shadows right underneath the door […] it would move away for a few minutes and they would come back. I knew they were always on the other side of the door. And this went on for two days,” she recounts, still rattled.
She ran out of water and could not go out to get food. “[I felt like] I am being hunted at the hotel I was staying,” she says.
“The best I can describe it is like I was in a horror movie. It’s in the place where you’re supposed to feel safe and you’re sleeping in your bed at night and you can’t even relax. You can never feel safe. There’s nowhere you can go, you’re trapped.”
“It was extremely traumatising,” she adds. Here, she inserts the footage of the shadows outside her door that she recorded. You can see it at 9:12 in the video.
Jordan’s ordeal finally ended when she left for the airport. She had noticed how the shadows outside her door were never there early in the morning, so she left around 3am for the airport.
She adds that while she was terrified in the room, she was also calm. She was thinking of scenarios like what if the people outside broke down the door and what she could do. “But all of that composure melted away when I reached the airport. I was having panic attacks, I was crying all over the world in different airports. At one point I couldn’t even get on to a plane because I felt like I would be trapped again. I felt like I couldn’t breathe,” Jordan says.
A major fallout of the experience was that Jordan was unable to do what she describes as her “dream project” with a company in India. She says it did not make sense for her to release this video of her experience of sexual harassment and at the same time release videos of adventure and fun with the company she was supposed to be working with.
Jordan also talks about being frustrated and angry about the situation, and thinking about what she could have done differently. “I was covered up, even more than the local women sometimes. Even my elbows weren’t showing!” she says.
Jordan ends the video on the note that she had a good time in India before all this happened and that she does not want her India vlogs, which she will release in the future, to have a negative connotation. She also says that she would like to visit again, but after a while.
Jordan’s video was tweeted by Reddit India on 9 September. And OYO rooms responded to a user’s tweet tagging them. They said, “What has been described by the guest is extremely upsetting and we deeply regret the experience. Safety and security of our guests is a priority for us at OYO. Guest safety is our top priority and will take the strictest of action against the partner hotel involved in this incident. Appreciate your concern.”
Guest safety is our top priority and will take the strictest of action against the partner hotel involved in this incident. Appreciate your concern. 2/2 ~AK
— OYO4U (@OYO4U) September 9, 2018
Jordan also posted an update on her video, saying that within 24 hours of her releasing the vlog recounting her ordeal, the offending hotel was shut down. “It came out that this has happened to other women who stayed there in the past as well! NO MORE. Action has been taken!” she said.
Watch Jordan’s full video here:
(This article has been republished in an arrangement with The News Minute.)
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