The travel writer Anna Karabash
was raped while asleep
at Six Senses Zil Pasyon resort in the Seychelles

The owners try hard to cover the case up


My name is Anna Karabash. I am an independent, self-supporting single mother. I'm also a rape victim. I was raped on the night of May 4, 2017 at the last place I thought I would ever be in danger: A five-star luxury resort called the Six Senses Zil Pasyon Hotel in the Seychelles Islands.

I am also a freelance journalist and a PR specialist working for businesses with social impact but after I reported the rape I was immediately treated like an imposter and a prostitute by the management of the hotel that invited me on a press-trip.
#MeToo and I won't be shushed
I was raped at knifepoint by a drunk male housekeeper while asleep in my bed after midnight. It was the most terrifying moment of my life. The rapist said he would kill me. I thought I might never see my son again.

What happened to me is happening to women in overseas resorts all over the world. There is an epidemic of women being drugged and raped in Mexico and the Caribbean, for example. Those are mainly American women. I am Russian. But we are all women and in this together. When I went public on Facebook my inbox exploded with messages from women all over the world who had been raped or abused at hotels – and who were unable to get justice. In almost all cases the rapist goes free, with the blessing of the hotel management.

I managed to escape the rapist and reported him to Six Senses management and the police. What happened after that was like being raped twice.
The Six Senses Zil Pasyon owners and management have smeared me as a lying golddigger. My case has made it to the Seychelles court but the country already has a corrupt reputation. The pre-trial investigation was handled out of hands. Footage from the hotel cameras that could have proven the sequence of events outside the villa on the rape night had never been enclosed as an evidence. The hotel management claimed this footage never existed. The attacker's blood tests that could have shown that the intruder was under the alcohol and drug influence had never been requested. They have made a mockery of my trial. They keep postponing the rest of the trial and even want to dismiss the case. I went there to testify and the defense attorney called me everything from a prostitute to a KGB agent. He ordered me to show the court the position my rapist placed me in when he raped me. The details are all in an article published in the Daily Beast.

I am not a rich and famous Hollywood star or a multi-million dollar corporation that can afford an army of top lawyers. Nor do I have the rights and privileges of Western citizens. So when the hotel and Seychelles courts defame me as a Russian whore or KGB agent I feel powerless. But as much as they hope I will go away, I will not.
The #MeToo and #TimesUp movement has inspired me and given me strength and I'm here to say #TimesUp for raping women in hotels and pretending it never happened.

I am going to win my legal case in the Seychelles.
The #MeToo and #TimesUp movement has inspired me and given me strength and I'm here to say #TimesUp for raping women in hotels and pretending it never happened.
I intend to put the worldwide hotel industry on notice that they need to take the rights of their female guests seriously and put protocols in place to protect women from criminal acts on their property.
Help me win
The owners of the Six Senses Zil Pasyon hotel have hired an ARMY of the best Seychellois lawyers to defend the rapist. Experts have estimated their legal costs for offensive against me at around $100,000. Moreover, the co-owner Laura Valabhji is very well connected lawyer in her home country, her husband Mukesh is close friend of ex-president Albert Rene, so the level of lobbying we are dealing here is sky-high and unreachable for mere mortals like ourselves. The owner of The Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas brand is a multibillion asset management firm Pegasus Capital Advisors. I work as a senior PR specialist in businesses with social impact, but the wages I earn are not enough to pay for legal expenses, travelling costs to the Seychelles and living expenses while we testify in court. I am a single mother of a 10 years old son, which puts on me extra financial obligations. Once the decisions in legal cases are announced, I will be ready to talk and give my time and resources to help women rights organisations.

But I know why I should talk and will talk. A lot of women who went through the same nightmare stay silent. They don't even go the the police. But this kind of crime is the most traumatising event for a woman for the rest of her whole life. A woman who was raped needs justice because it helps her to recover. If we don't win these cases in the court, nothing will change in hotelier paradigm; there won't be transparent security protocols, the humiliation of women who were raped in this country will continue. If we do not speak out, if we don't go to courts and fight for justice, nothing will make hotel's management responsible for our safety while we stay at their hotels.

If we do win, part of the compensation will be forwarded towards The Sisters Center, a Russian non-governmental non-profit organization that helps survivors of sexual violence, who helped me as well. A share of the compensation will go to to non-profit organisation PEN International who supported me last year. I am also planning to support Committee to protect journalists (CPJ) who helped me with a lot of contacts and professional advice.

Expenses and fundraising:
I have already paid 10 000 EUR to the lawyer who is in charge of the civil suit, Frank Elisabeth. This was donated by one of my clients as well as my initial medical expenses and travel expenses - 7 000 EUR - to testify in the hearings in the criminal case hearings that were held in the end of December 2017.
PEN International donated 1200 EUR grant which I spend to cover expenses to go through initial post-traumatic therapy.
Here is the list of expenses:
Flights, accommodation and living expenses to go to court in Seychelles in September 2018. Myself and three witnesses are traveling to the island to testify in a civil suit at the Supreme Court of the Seychelles on the 27 and 29 of September. People who is giving testimony from my side: myself, PR-agent who organized and accompanied me on the journey last year, my ex-boyfrend who had to come to the Seychelles the day after the crime happened. My psychologist I am still going through post-traumatic therapy course with will also be present. Aviasales bought me a ticket as pro bono help. We spent 6500 EUR to cover the rest expenses for the four of us.

In total, by now I have fundraised and spend for legal fight 27 000 USD since 5-th of May 2017.

What we need now:
Promotion of the website for the case. It is crucial to push it out there to make sure travellers and public are aware of what's going on. Our social media marketing program's goal is to make sure it is visible and accessible. It will cost 3000 EUR to run it until the end of 2018.

Elena Chernova, lawyer in Moscow who is in charge of the case management, is coordinating all our legal steps. Elena has agreed to work on a deferred fee basis as we are overstretched already - I will have to pay her around 2000 EUR until the end of the year for her services.

We haven't yet found a lawyer to take on the criminal case yet but the estimate is that it will cost around 2 000 EUR.

We need to cover expenses for documents transfer - to get in a proper way and send to the Seychelles - around 1500 EUR.

For international lawyer consultation and representing me in English speaking countries I supposedly will need 20 000 EUR more, but we didn't find a person to work with yet, so this figure could be different

We now need 28 500 EUR.

As of 1 September 2018, we raised via crowdfunding 7,145 EUR (approx. 559,000 rubles). Please donate from within Russia: 5336690062759024 (Sberbank, MasterCard, Karabash Anna). If you want to donate from abroad, please use PayPal: Karabashanna@gmail.com
paypal.me/annakarabash

If we do not speak out, if we don't go to courts and fight for justice, nothing will make hotel's management responsible for our safety while we stay at their hotels.
Timeline
4 may 2017 Anna reports to the police she was raped by a Six Senses Zil Pasyon staff worker on the Seychelles.

  • December 2017 Anna's lawyer Frank Elizabeth files a civil suit againsthotel owners in the Seychelles
  • July 2018 the defence lawyer requests to close the criminal case due to lack of evidence
        The criminal case is still pending. We have no information from General Prosecutor of the Seychelles about when there the decision will be made. General Prosecutor's office confirms Anna has no right to hire a lawyer to represent her in court and no right of appeal in the criminal lawsuit.

        • 27-th and 28-th of September 2018 Anna and her witnesses traveled to the Supreme Court of the Seychelles to testify in civil case.
        • Two witnesses are to testify on Skype on 4th of October.
        • Hearings on the civil suit are scheduled until the end of November 2018
        To be updated.

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