A travel blogger with nearly 27,000 followers on Instagram says she regrets not portraying her trip to the Dominican Republic in a more honest light, as she claims she was actually assaulted and nearly kidnapped during her stay.
Cora Smith, who makes up one half of the team behind @The_greatescape.blog along with her husband Jay, recently told Insider that they were initially wary of documenting the negative aspects of their 2018 trip online.
"We were very worried about bashing anyone or anything,” she told Insider. “In all honesty, influencers are too scared to tell the truth and feel they need to show the beautiful side. Most people only want to hear the positive things."
The couple had spent three months in the Dominican Republic – between March and June 2018 – but Smith says she was accosted twice within the first few weeks.
The first incident, as she told Insider and recounted in a 2018 blog post, occurred while out on a jog along a boardwalk in Santo Domingo. Smith says the driver of a car attempted to force her inside and even stopped in her path before she ran off in the other direction.
And later, in Punta Cana, Smith says three men on a motorbike stopped her while she riding a bike before proceeding to grope her.
"The man on the back of the scooter reaches out and grabs my butt," she recounted. "I was completely shocked and furious. He started to laugh at me in my face."
Smith says she attempted to kick over the men's bike, but when she did, "the guy reaches out and grabs my chest" and "full on groped" her.
"They were violating me in every way you can except being raped," she told Insider, explaining that she kept repeatedly kicking them until she was able to break free and away toward Jay, who was biking up ahead.
Even while they were in the Dominican Republic, Smith says she feared telling local authorities about the incidents after a run-in with police, during which they were more interested in trying to take her husband’s cash.
Smith had even shared part of the story in a blog post shared in 2018, but photos from the couple’s trip focus on the beaches, architecture, landmarks and murals the couple encountered.
"I didn't tell my story, and I think it's out of fear," Smith said.
She added that she wanted to share her experience after hearing the story of Tammy Lawrence-Daley, a Delaware woman who claims she was attacked by man wearing a hotel uniform of the Majestic Elegance resort in Punta Cana and left for dead.
Police in the Dominican Republic are said to be investigating the incident.
"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,” Smith said.
Cora and Jay Smith are currently in Ibiza, Spain, Insider reports. They have also recently been sharing photos from Indonesia, Thailand and Peru.