A 17-year-old girl in East London was allegedly sexually assaulted at least three times on a walk home from a club after separating from friends, according to investigators.
Right before midnight on Sept. 29, the 17-year-old was shown on a surveillance camera being carried by a man in dark clothing down Cambridge Heath Road in Tower Hamlets, after which the two went through a doorway. Telegraph reports various items from the girl’s clothing were found close by, suggesting she was sexually violated.
Shortly later, another surveillance camera found the girl on Main Street, stumbling down the block while being followed by a different man on a bicycle. This man tracked the teen all the way to the Bethnal Green Overground station. A third camera depicted him moving towards the girl, proceeded by footage showing the second man walking away while the girl appears with her clothes looking rumpled.
Then, around 12:45am, two or three more men allegedly sexually assaulted the teenage girl on a separate street. The girl was later found on the ground on Corfield Street looking distraught, after which emergency services were called. Police think the young girl was drugged, although drug tests are still underway.
It’s unclear who carried out the assaults, in part because many men in the CCTV images are shown wearing dark clothing that obscures their faces. But police have since shared images showing two persons of interest in the assaults, hoping citizens will come forward to shed more light on the crime. In total, detectives think at least two encounters were “very serious” sexual assaults.
“This is a horrific multiple sexual assault on a young female who was simply making her way home after a night out,” Detective Suzanne Jordan told the Guardian. “We would like to thank the members of the public who intervened to help her and possibly prevented her ordeal from continuing even further.”
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Earlier this year, also in England, a 15-year-old girl was allegedly raped twice within hours—first by a man near Witton train station, then by a driver she contacted for help. The United Kingdom also has a noted sexual assault epidemic, with reported rapes doubling in four years while convictions continue to stagnate. Both cases seem to be part of a larger problem with rape culture, a problem plaguing the West in general.