- Cora Smith, who runs the Instagram The_greatescape.blog along with her husband, Jay, travelled through the Dominican Republic for three months between March 2018 and June 2018.
- On Instagram, the couple, from Orlando, Florida, posted photos of beautiful beaches and waterfalls.
- But in a story published in a blog post last year and shared to INSIDER this week, Smith claimed she was nearly kidnapped and sexually assaulted in separate incidences within weeks of arriving in the country.
- Smith said she regrets not being honest in her Instagram posts, saying she was afraid of being honest.
- She decided to tell her story after Tammy Lawrence-Daley, 51, claimed in a Facebook post that she was attacked at the all-inclusive Majestic Elegance resort in Punta Cana, and several American tourists died at other resorts.
- Visit INSIDER’s homepage for more stories.
An Instagram influencer who has travelled the globe says she regrets not being honest about her experiences in the Dominican Republic as the country faces scrutiny over recent tourist deaths.
Cora Smith, who runs the Instagram The_greatescape.blog along with her husband, Jay, travelled through the Dominican Republic for three months between March 2018 and June 2018 to kick off a two-year trip around the world.
The couple didn’t profit off the trip to the Dominican, and the trip took place when they were just starting out their Instagram.
On Instagram, the couple, from Orlando, Florida, can be seen smiling on sandy beaches, hiking through waterfalls, and spending time with other tourists.
Smith told INSIDER, however, that her real life wasn’t as carefree.
Cora Smith claimed she was nearly kidnapped while going for a jog.
In a story published in a blog post last year and shared to INSIDER this week, Smith claimed she was nearly kidnapped and sexually assaulted in separate incidences within weeks of arriving in the Dominican Republic.
“We were very worried about bashing anyone or anything. In all honesty, influencers are too scared to tell the truth and feel they need to show the beautiful side,” she said. “Most people only want to hear the positive things.”
Smith did not go to police with her allegations, claiming that officers had previously threatened to take her husband’s money and put him in jail if he didn’t give them his wallet.
“The whole time I was there, every fibre of my being was questioned,” she said. “I was miserable. I was sad, I was depressed. It created a depression that stuck for the better part of the year.”
The Smiths, who are now in Ibiza, Spain, did not stay in resorts during their time in the Dominican Republic, and instead opted to stay in Airbnbs in Santo Domingo, Punta Cana, and Costambar.
On their second day in Santo Domingo, Smith said she took a run along the city’s boardwalk while her husband took a nap.
She claimed a man tried to force her into his car by driving along side her, and pulling his car up in front of her. She said he angrily sped off after she turned around and ran in the opposite direction.
Smith said she was afraid to leave her husband’s side for most of her trip.
In Punta Cana, Smith said three men on a motorbike assaulted her while she was riding her bike behind her husband. She claimed the men rode up next to her and grabbed her bike and groped her.
“They were violating me in every way you can except being raped,” she told INSIDER. “I kept trying to kick them away but I had no control of what was happening. They pushed my bike to try to get me to fall over. I’m yelling for my husband but he’s ahead of me and he couldn’t hear me.”
She said they eventually let go of her bike, and she was able to catch up with her husband.
From that moment on, she told INSIDER, she never left her husband’s side.
“We really kind of isolated ourselves to protect ourselves from the dangers of where we were,” she said.
Despite the incidents, the couple stayed in the country for three months. They said they couldn’t afford to change their travel plans, and found a community of expats in Costambar that helped them feel a little safer.
Still, Smith said she regrets not sharing her story earlier.
“You feel this obligation to be honest, but a fear of rejection if you are,” Smith told INSIDER of being a social media influencer. “I didn’t tell my story, and I think it’s out of fear.”
Smith spoke out after another woman claimed she was attacked in Punta Cana.
She said she wanted to tell her story after Tammy Lawrence-Daley, 51, claimed in a Facebook post that she was attacked the at all-inclusive Majestic Elegance resort in Punta Cana while she was vacationing with her husband and friends in January.
“It’s not a safe country, and it’s not just the five-star resorts,” Smith said. “I feel like I can’t sit here and listen to the prime minister and say ‘Our country is safe,’ because it’s not safe.”
The Dominican Republic is also facing scrutiny after several American tourists died while staying at resorts around the country. Other tourists have come forward claiming they were poisoned at resorts.
In a separate incident, former MLB star David Ortiz was shot at a bar in the Dominican Republic on Sunday night. He is now in Boston and expected to recover.
Have you had a negative health experience while in the Dominican Republic? Email:[email protected]
- Read more:
- The CDC and international health authorities are conducting tests at Dominican Republic resorts where tourists are falling ill and dying
- Surveillance video captured the moment David Ortiz was shot at a bar in the Dominican Republic
- A family says their relative died mysteriously in the Dominican Republic after consuming a drink from his hotel minibar
- A woman claims she vomited blood and sustained ‘chemical burns’ after drinking what she believed was soda at the same Dominican resort where an American tourist died
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