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Adventurous. Alone. Attacked.

Then, everything changed.

“At some point, maybe because everyone I was meeting was so kind, I think I put down my guard a little,” she said.

While she was camping in northern Bolivia on June 4, 2017, in an area people had told her was safe, three men with machetes dragged her out of her tent. They beat her, dislocating her arm in three places. While two held her down, one raped her. Then they broke her motorcycle, stole her belongings, urinated on her tent and left her for dead.

Afraid that they might come back, Ms. Komarova lay still all night. When the sun rose, she used her laptop, which her attackers had missed, to summon help.

But what she experienced was a climate of impunity, she said.

The authorities didn’t want to take her to a doctor; the doctor didn’t want to see her because she could not pay.

“Only after the Russian Embassy was involved did the police listen,” Ms. Komarova said.

But the embassy retreated after connecting her with the local authorities, saying she was not in immediate danger. She felt she was on her own.

Experts say such a response isn’t unusual. “Some of these law enforcers are themselves part of the problem, and they do not take these crimes as seriously as they need to,” Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka, of UN Women, said.

Bolivian and Russian authorities did not respond to several requests for comment.

With the help of the British Embassy, Ms. Komarova, made contact with an advocate who helped her file a criminal complaint and begin the legal fight against her attackers.

Source: NYT > World

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