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Beware Solo Female Travellers: Sexual Assault at Nirwana

Sydney, Australia
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Beware Solo Female Travellers: Sexual Assault at Nirwana

I stayed at Nirwana Guest House with my girlfriend this January 2016. The room we had was very nice; clean, large, great aircon, TV with DVD player. I chose it because I wanted my girlfriend to have a nice place to stay while she was on the island alone: I stayed with her for two nights, then I had to leave Indonesia to go back to work. The night I left one of the hotel employees attempted to rape my girlfriend.

My very first impression of the staff (all men) was not good: the first guy I dealt with (his name was Awi) was very defensive when I asked about hotel policies on checking-in and checking-out, and he was very rude to me, and acted sleazy to my girlfriend and to some other females at the hotel at the time. I also saw, in the first 10 minutes, him have a fight with a girl who wanted to rent a bike. All of this made me uneasy, however, the room was a good price, and very comfortable, so I ignored him and tried to be polite whenever I dealt with him. Another staff member was friendly, with better language, but a third employee was very strange, always staring at us, never smiling. He often cooked breakfast, and had very little English.

This third staff member (I think his ‘English’ name was Anton) watched me leave on the third day, and didn’t say anything. I didn’t tell the staff I was going, as I had already paid for the room. My girlfriend said goodbye to me, came back to the hotel alone, left again to eat later in the afternoon. This third staff member saw her come and go. That night she listened to some music, brushed her teeth in the bathroom then went to bed. She left some lights on and fell asleep, and then woke up at some time to find the staff member turning off lights in her room, then try to get in the bed with her. She was very sleepy and it took a couple of seconds to realise what was going on. When she realised she shouted at him to leave but he wouldn’t. She struggled with him for some time, getting out of the bed, screaming and pushing him. It took a long time, as he was trying to push her back towards the bed, but she got him outside the door and then closed and locked it. For the next 10 minutes or so he wouldn’t leave, constantly knocking on the door saying ‘sorry, sorry, sorry’, and nothing else. My girlfriend was terrified, because there was no one else around (our room was in the corner on the ground floor, with no other rooms connecting to it) and he wouldn’t leave. What was worse was that he must have had a key, and she later saw the dirt of his shoes going into the shower recess of the bathroom, meaning he had come in while she was away, and had been hiding in the shower for a long time. As he had a key he could have easily tried to get in again. It was a bit after midnight at that point, and I was on the flight home, so she talked with friends on the phone to try to stay awake and stay calm until the morning. In the morning my plane landed and I spoke to her and told her to just get away, as we didn’t know what the staff were capable of. I already had a very bad impression of the first employee so I didn’t want her to try to talk to anyone, and she was worried they would try again. We both felt she should get as far away from danger as possible. Around 7am she very quietly took her small suitcase and went outside, and as there was no one there she ran to the main street, and then up to a very nice hotel (Hotel Nero) where we had stayed for one night before and explained what had happened to the woman at reception, who gave her breakfast and helped her organise a seat on a fast boat back to Bali. She left Gili Trawangan that morning and we will never go back again.

I am grateful that the employee was not stronger, and that he was a coward, and that he did not try harder, but the situation was traumatic for my partner and for me – I flew back to Bali to be with her the next day. I had a bad feeling about the place and the staff from the first moment, but you never think a bad feeling would lead to a rapist waiting in the room. Yes the room was nice, the location convenient, the breakfast okay, but I am disgusted by the hotel and I believe cowards like that do not change, they wait for other opportunities, which is why I am posting this long review of a horrible experience. I have tried to write it honestly and in detail so that you can see this is not a personal attack on the hotel but a detailed account of a very nasty situation that could easily happen again.

I hope all travellers, but of course especially single, female travellers, take serious note of this and avoid the Nirwana hotel. I wish I could do more to get some sort of justice, but if this prevents others from being in danger then that is good enough.

Mentioned in this post
Bali
Bali
Indonesia
Gili Trawangan
Gili Trawangan
Gili Islands, Indonesia
Jali Resort
Jali Resort
#1 of 45 hotels in Gili Trawangan
Marygio Resort
Marygio Resort
#2 of 45 hotels in Gili Trawangan
Le Pirate Beach Club Gili T Hotel
Le Pirate Beach Club Gili T Hotel
#6 of 45 hotels in Gili Trawangan
Jakarta
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61,585 posts
115 reviews
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11. Re: Beware Solo Female Travellers: Sexual Assault at Nirwana

DustyPhilosopher, Hi

My 2 cents:

1/ if you want your review to be published on TA, just change the text the wat that admins requested. That's the only way - do it from the first person. Avoid " he said " and " she said".

2/ by TA forum rules we do not discuss TA policy on the forums.

3/ we all totally share your frustration, believe every word and support your noble course to warn the future visitors about such matters. I personally bookmarked this OP and will suggest/ point to TA members if topic about solo feamale safety arises.

Kinds regards and respect

S

Edited: 2:45 am, February 04, 2016
Kangaroo Flat...
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174 posts
56 reviews
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12. Re: Beware Solo Female Travellers: Sexual Assault at Nirwana

Sadly, the fact is that there are people in business who will do anything to destroy their rivals' businesses including posting malicious reports. So we, the travelling public are caught in the middle. I commend you for what you have done and I condemn Lonely Planet for suppressing a genuine report of a real danger to travellers.

Melbourne, Australia
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4,696 posts
53 reviews
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13. Re: Beware Solo Female Travellers: Sexual Assault at Nirwana

Dusty sorry to hear about your girlfriends ordeal and I hope she never encounters anything like this again which should never have happened in the first place.

I recently posted a very negative review about a restaurant in Kuta Lombok and I got a similar reply back from TripAdvisor like you did asking me to make changes and resubmit it. I did exactly that and it has since been published.

I agree with Schonefeld, make the necessary changes and send the review again. Make sure to save it on word so you don't lose it.

In hindsight if you could have gone back in time other than not staying at that place would you have done anything different?

The obvious that sticks out to me is you shouldn't have left your mrs alone and left before her.

Good luck bro.

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Kuta
Kuta
Lombok, Indonesia
Perth, Australia
Destination Expert
for Cambodia
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22,876 posts
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14. Re: Beware Solo Female Travellers: Sexual Assault at Nirwana

I understand what you're saying ResmeN but the OP would ever have thought that his girlfriend would suffer such an ordeal while staying in legitimate tourist accommodation. Both of them had every right to assume that she would be safe and could continue her holiday in peace.

Many single women travel alone and very rarely come across such frightening situations, so to my mind the perpetrator needs to be discovered and dealt with, otherwise he will continue his criminal actions.

England
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362 posts
64 reviews
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15. Re: Beware Solo Female Travellers: Sexual Assault at Nirwana

This is terrible, so thank you for posting this to make others aware.

Please don't take offence, but surely, the first thing to do is to go to the police and report this. Did you or your girlfriend do that?

This is a serious allegation and one that the police have to deal with.

Melbourne, Australia
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4,696 posts
53 reviews
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16. Re: Beware Solo Female Travellers: Sexual Assault at Nirwana

travelkat88 I agree with all of your comments as this should have never happened.

I also came across many solo female travellers over the past few weeks in Indonesia and Malaysia. Good on them for going out & travelling.

One of my mottos in life is prevention rather than regret.

If something can be prevented in one way or another I'd do my best to prevent it.

Some things aren't preventable but that it life and you deal with things as they come up.

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Kangaroo Flat...
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174 posts
56 reviews
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17. Re: Beware Solo Female Travellers: Sexual Assault at Nirwana

In the circumstances outlined,sad to say, going to the police would probably have been more trouble than it was worth. There are no police on the Gilis and I doubt whether police would be particularly interested. Hard to accept, I know, but that is reality. What the OP has done is the most effective course of action. Pass on the word. NIRWANA ACTUALLY MEANS HELL NOT HEAVEN;NO ONE WANTS TO END UP THERE

Montreal, Canada
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102 posts
3 reviews
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18. Re: Beware Solo Female Travellers: Sexual Assault at Nirwana

Is this their page: https:/…

Jakarta, Indonesia
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53 posts
17 reviews
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19. Re: Beware Solo Female Travellers: Sexual Assault at Nirwana

I am very sorry what had happened to your girl friend, and also thank you for posting the story so as one of the solo female travelers I will be much aware of any kind of such dangers in the future. The fact after what you have experienced to get the review to be posted on this forum is also makes me interested and appreciate at least what TA has done to this. Hopefully that all solo female travelers would get valuable information from the story here and take some precautions while they are alone out there. Thank you

Sydney, Australia
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4 posts
5 reviews
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20. Re: Beware Solo Female Travellers: Sexual Assault at Nirwana

Thank you everyone for your posts. We appreciate the kind words and civility in the thread, so thank you for that. I took your advice and reworded the review, which meant removing what I felt was important information, but it has been published, which is most important. I was also able to post in Thorntree after removing mention of the establishment, which I was also frustrated by, but it meant the post got published and has lead to discussion and awareness, which was my original intention.

To answer a query, we did not notify the police, as there is no police presence on the island, and our first priority was for my girlfriend to get somewhere safe, not go to Lombok, which she had not been to and where she knew no-one, to go and report to a police force which we both had heard was anecdotally very laissez-faire towards sexual assault. I don't regret our decision but I was of course frustrated by the lack of justice. Booking.com would not post my experience of the place, saying it is a matter for police, and while I of course agree that sexual assault should be a police matter, from a practical point of view, the most effective course now is awareness and prevention, which is why I have posted. I will say it again, thank you so much for the kindness, civility and the useful information that has been shared here, and regardless of individual opinions about what happened, I want to make sure that travellers, of course ones that like my partner are female and traveling solo (which I strongly encourage and encouraged my girlfriend to do so, which is partly why this experience was so sad), are aware and act accordingly.

Thank you

Mentioned in this post
Lombok
Lombok
West Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia