Belfast women were last night urged not to go out on their own at night following another sex attack in the city.
An 18-year-old girl, who had been drinking with a friend in Botanic Gardens, was raped as she tried to make her way home during the early hours of Sunday morning.
The teenager was walking past the Ulster Museum when she was dragged into the bushes by her attacker. It is understood the perpetrator also stole her mobile phone.
The terrifying incident has shocked the local community and prompted South Belfast SDLP MLA Carmel Hanna to urge women in the area to be "careful about their personal safety".
Mrs Hanna said: "This is an awful crime and I hope that the police have sufficient forensic evidence to bring the perpetrator to justice. I would appeal to all young women to be careful about their personal safety, especially late at night, never go home alone and keep their wits about them and to look out for each other.
"I think it's vitally important that the message gets across, young women need to be aware of their safety and to not go out on their own at night.
"These predators are out there. They just look for opportunities to pounce."
The Assembly member also urged anyone with information regarding the attack to contact police so they could apprehend the attacker.
"We must do everything we can to facilitate the victim," she added. "I think there are two messages here, one that women need to be more aware of their personal safety and two, people need to help police so they can catch them and bring them to court."
Belfast Lord Mayor Jim Rodgers also urged anyone with information to come forward.
"I hope that the culprit can be apprehended very quickly — someone must know who he is. This is just a horrendous incident and something like this is a terrible experience for any young woman. I hope she makes a full and speedy recovery," he said.
Detectives investigating the incident have said they want to speak to anyone who was in Botanic Gardens or walking past the Stranmillis Road entrance around the time of the attack.
The Botanic Gardens attack comes just two weeks after police launched a rape investigation after an incident in broad daylight in Colin Glen Park in the west of the city. A 15-year-old boy has since appeared in court on charges of rape and false imprisonment.
In February, a 14-year-old girl was raped as she walked through Lanyon Place at around 8.30pm and in November last year, an 18-year-old American student was raped at knifepoint outside the Bogside Inn in Londonderry.
At a DPP meeting in west Belfast last month, Superintendent Karen Baxter revealed that between 2001 and 2007 there were 100 recorded rapes in the area but that only 23 had been "cleared".