AN American academic has described being gang-raped by an armed mob in Papua New Guinea after they had hacked her hair off.
The 32-year-old's husband and a guide were stripped naked and tied up by nine men armed with rifles and knives, who ambushed the group as they walked along a forest track.
They then stripped her, bound her hands, cut off her long plaited hair to the scalp at the back of the head, and gang-raped her for around 20 minutes before fleeing after something in the forest startled them.
The guide managed to break free and the three of them fled naked back to the nearest village, several hours away, she said.
She has decided to publicise the attack to raise awareness about violent attacks against women in the Pacific country.
The attack, which was confirmed by police, comes a week after an Australian was killed and his female friend sexually assaulted by a group of men and follows a spate of "sorcery" incidents including the torture of six women in an Easter "sacrifice", one of whom was burned alive. Earlier this month, an elderly woman was beheaded after being accused of witchcraft.
"This story should not come out because I am white," said the woman, who was on her fifth visit to Papua New Guinea since 2010, during which she was conducting research on birds and the impact of climate change.
"It should come out in hopes that it empowers Papua New Guinean women to stand up and say no more violence against women in this country.
"I hope my story can make a change."
The husband and wife returned to Port Moresby on Saturday, where they were met by a photographer working for AFP who helped them file police reports and organise a flight out of the country. The case was also reported to the US embassy.
After the murder of the Australian and rape of his female friend, Peter O'Neill, Papua New Guinea's prime minister, said: "This kind of behaviour totally undermines our efforts to make our country a safe destination for investment and tourists.
"We cannot allow the entire nation to suffer because of the behaviour of one or two sick people."
- Barney Henderson, Telegraph.co.uk