On a recent visit to India she was sexually harassed, and took to her blog to write about it:
A few days ago I was sitting in a bus stop in Mumbai, India. The local guy that I had paid no particular attention to moved closer. From the corner of my eye, to my horror, I realised that he had pulled out his penis and was masturbating, staring intently at me. I felt sick.
As much as I hate to admit it, this isn’t the first time it’s happened to me. In fact, chances are, if you’ve ever been to India, you’ll have bumped into at least one traveller who has experienced this sort of behaviour, or heard of someone else who it has happened to. I’ve spent countless hours with other travellers picking apart why men do it; why they seem to think it’s okay, why dignity seems to disappear when there’s foreign female flesh on show.
The post quickly went viral, and within days Hemmings had received hundred of messages from people in India sympathising with what happened to her.
Many messages apologised for the behaviour of the man:
The experience that you've had, all I can offer you is a small hug and a little bit of love. I know it's not a lot, But, it's the least I can do.
I don't even know why I'm writing this to you. Maybe it's an apology on behalf of all the Indian men who have been huge idiots... but all I can do, is hope that this email would probably, for as much as it is worth, alleviate your pain. Think of this email as a voice from the country, telling you, "Don't Worry Lucy. We are all here for you.
Your blog post came up on my Facebook page. I felt very bad that you had such an experience in India. It is rally painful when some of my fellow Indians behave in such a beastly manner, and end up damaging my beautiful country's image overseas.
Several people were happy to know that Lucy still has a positive view of the country.
I am eternally thankful to you for clearing the misconceptions about India to others and for helping them understand that we have a beautiful culture. (India is not "Slumdog Millionaire"!!!)
This is just one of the many faces of our country... it is a beautiful country, one we are proud to call our homeland. And we would gladly share it with you, while striving to protect you from any further bad experiences.
Hemmings told i100.co.uk that the response took her by surprise.“I'm really pleased that it has had such a great reaction and that people are engaging in discussion. I really believe we need to create a safe space where we can talk about difficult issues.”
Sexual harrassment is a problem everywhere, but Hemmings' post appeared to strike a chord with some of her Indian audience:
It's not just with foreigners but this has happened with my friends too. But the good news is we are developing, there is a a silent revolution going on where we are accounting for our actions, leaning to behave and respect women.
Just to let you know there are good men in India who are trying everyday to make the country a better place to live in, and of course it is a trial and error process.
Hemmings said that she wrote the blog post to try and make sense of how she was feeling after the upsetting experience and offer advice for women travelling on their own.
“My biggest fear about sharing my experience was that people might be put off India,” she said.
Her feelings about the "absolutely incredible" country haven't changed.
“It is a huge shame that I experienced what I did, but the overwhelmingly supportive response I've had from Indian men and women has cemented my feelings of respect for India,” Hemmings said.
To date more than 650 people have reached out to her about the blog post.
“Good and bad people most certainly exist in every country, and India has an absolutely astonishing amount of good people!” Hemmings wrote on her Facebook page.