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Sex attack prompts March woman to issue warning to women travellers to be vigilant

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A Fenland woman has cut short her eight weeks of travelling in the Far East after a friend was attacked in a back-packers’ hostel in the early hours of Sunday.

Lauren Lyon, the girl whose birth hit the national headlines when her mum became the oldest woman in Britain to give birth, was on a tour of Asia where she was teaching in local schools when the incident happened in Cambodia.

Now the 24-year-old from March has issued a warning to other young women to be extra careful when travelling and to avoid staying in hostels with mixed dorms.

Lauren Lyon teaching in a school in Thailand before moving on to Cambodia. (14114335)
Lauren Lyon teaching in a school in Thailand before moving on to Cambodia. (14114335)

Lauren, whose parents Dave and Pauline had her through IVF treatment when Pauline was 52 making her the country’s oldest mum at the time, posted her thoughts on her Facebook page and explained how a friend she was travelling with had been sexually assaulted in her sleep.

The pair were on a weekend break to Siem Reap and were staying in the ‘Funky Flashpackers’ hostel in a mixed dorm of 32 men and women.

Lauren, whose ambition is to work with children, has now cut her trip short and instead of moving on to Bali this weekend where she was also due to teach, she will be flying home.

march woman Lauren Lyon has cut short her teaching trip to the Far East. (14114205)
march woman Lauren Lyon has cut short her teaching trip to the Far East. (14114205)

Posting on Facebook she said: “At around 2.30am on July 21, after being asleep for less then an hour after a sober night out, in Siem Reap, Cambodia, I was a woken with a sudden shock to find my friend sat up in my bed screaming and crying hysterically.

“For the first few seconds, I was confused and could not understand why she was in this state. It then dawned on me what she was stating. She had been sexually assaulted in her sleep by a guy sleeping in our 32 mixed dorm bedroom.

“After a second, it then dawned on me that there was another girl sobbing in the bed only a few feet away from me. What happened after this is a little bit of a blur, but it only took a few seconds to realise that for around 15 minutes he had been trying to get in four different girls beds in the corner of our room.

“Going into ‘mummy Lauren’ mode and a few seconds into the realising what had happened, I asked another girl to come downstairs with me to inform security only to find security knew the man we were talking about. My main concern at that time was to look after my friend, as seeing her in such distress was traumatic.

“After the initial trauma, we soon found out this man had tried to do this the night before to a different girl. However, the hostel ‘Funky Flashpackers’ did not do anything to this man, but simply told him to ‘go to bed’, due to ‘multiple conflicting drunk stories’.

“More needs to be done to protect female travellers staying in Asian countries, especially in countries such as Cambodia. We have since been to the British Embassy who stated nothing much can be done, because the Cambodian police have very different social and cultural norms and values towards women, and therefore would not consider this a crime.

“I have decided that I am cutting my eight week trip short this time at the request of my parents who were really worried about me, and I will be leaving on Saturday to return home. This has not put me off travelling again in the future but I will not be staying in hostels and I would advise females not to stay in mixed bed dorms.

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