Cruise Ship Rape Lawyers Support Amanda Nguyen and the Sexual Assault Survivors’ Bill

Lipcon, Marguiles, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A

On June 26, 2018, Amanda Nguyen — a 27-year-old rape survivor who was raped while attending Harvard University — testified before US Congress, advocating for the adoption of the Sexual Assault Survivor Bill of Rights by various states.  She has also petitioned the United Nations to pass the same Bill.  Earlier this year, Ms. Nguyen was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for her work in galvanizing Americans across the political spectrum on rape and sexual assault issues.

Ms. Nguyen had a personal role to play in the creation of the Sexual Assault Survivor Bill of Rights.  When she was raped in 2013, she had a rape kit performed, but waited to press charges until a later date (as she was not emotionally ready to handle the ramifications of pressing charges against the perpetrator).  Massachusetts law gave rape survivors a 15-year statute of limitations period, but the rape kit would be destroyed within six months if she did not file for an extension.  There were inadequate instructions about how to file an extension, and Ms. Nguyen found the process unnecessarily obtrusive and discouraging.  She noticed, also, that laws differed substantially from state-to-state.  Had she been raped in California, for example, Ms. Nguyen need not have filed an extension at all.

On October 7, 2016, after raising awareness and petitioning Americans for support of her Sexual Assault Survivor Bill of Rights — which established more consistent rules for the procedures surrounding rape and sexual assault — Congress unanimously passed the legislation and it was signed into law at the federal level.  There is still much more work to be done, however.  As of this time, only 14 states have passed the Sexual Assault Survivor Bill of Rights.

We are highly encouraged by the efforts of Amanda Nguyen and other rape and sexual assault survivors who struggle everyday to make the world a more just and peaceful place.  Ms. Nguyen is an inspiration to us — her commitment to survivors, and to bringing about real change, gives us hope for the future of women’s rights, and the rights of all those who have been victimized in a sex crime scenario.  We believe that Ms. Nguyen has been deservedly nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize, and we support her petition to the United Nations to advance the rights of women on a global level.

The Sexual Assault Survivor Bill of Rights is necessary to establish a consistent framework for survivors, guaranteeing them equal rights regardless of where they are victimized — including cruise ships traveling in international waters.

Though rape and sexual assault are widely underreported, data on cruise ship criminal activity demonstrates that rape and sexual assault account for the majority of crimes committed aboard such vessels — even more disturbingly, perpetrators frequently target minors when committing cruise ship sex crimes.  As experienced cruise ship lawyers, we have spent decades battling the problem of rape and sexual assault first-hand, and helping victims obtain justice.  The pervasiveness of rape and sexual assault on cruise ships cannot be understated.

Rape and Sexual Assault is a Serious Problem on Cruise Ships

Those who embark on cruises expect to be safe.  The last thing on their mind is the threat of injury, rape, or sexual assault.  This puts passengers in a uniquely vulnerable position — after all, they are not prepared for the possibility of an attack.  However, our specialization in handling cruise ship sex assault cases has led to our realization that there is an epidemic of sexual assaults occurring aboard cruise ships.

Cruises typically feature a “celebratory” or “party” atmosphere involving a great deal of alcohol consumption, which can expose passengers to a serious risk of rape and sexual assault without adequate security measures in place.  Cruises also take place away from easy-access to land infrastructure, and therefore away from an immediate police response — those who wish to perpetrate sex crimes are shielded by this distance.  Cruise lines must implement adequate emergency response measures to prevent rape and sexual assault, such as regular security patrols of the vessel during and after on-board drinking events.

Cruise ship operators are, at the end of the day, attempting to provide a product to the masses and turn a profit.  As such, cruise ship security is often inadequate, and the medical resources aboard the ship, in our experience, is often not sufficient to respond to a rape incident — for example, if rape kits are not available aboard the cruise ship, then this could harm one’s ability to prove that they were raped or sexually assaulted by their attacker.  Further, when crew members victimize passengers (or even other crew members), the cruise line may choose to terminate the employment of the crew member and allow them to return to their home country without having to face prosecution.

Failure to properly implement such protective measures may give you — the victim — the right to sue and recover significant damages in a claim against the cruise line.

Despite the fact that rape and sexual assault are serious and addressable issues on ocean liners, cruise companies frequently prioritize their profits over the wellbeing of their cruise ship passengers.  As such, with the support of friends, family, and legal advocates, victims must take steps to obtain the recovery resources they need — for example, victims should notify relevant authorities and secure necessary medical care.  Further, a rape kit may be performed to ensure that evidence is gathered and preserved for eventual criminal/civil litigation.

We Provide Assistance to Victims of Cruise Ship Rape and Sexual Assault

If you have been subjected to sexual assault or rape while at-sea, then you may be feeling overwhelmed, and for good reason — the physical, emotional, and financial repercussions of rape and sexual assault are well-studied, and it can take many years for the process of healing to truly begin.  It’s important that you get in touch with a qualified team of attorneys who understand how to navigate the challenges typical of cruise ship rape and sexual assault litigation, so that you can focus on getting better.

Here at Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina, and Winkleman, P.A., our attorneys have over a century of combined experience handling maritime and admiralty claims involving the negligence of a cruise line, including rape and sexual assault cases.  We are deeply committed to the support of the rape and sexual assault survivors worldwide, and we believe that effective representation in such cases demands understanding and sensitivity.  This approach has helped us obtain numerous multimillion dollar verdicts and settlements on behalf of victimized clients.  Over the years, we have been variously recognized by top national publications for our results-oriented legal advocacy.

If you have been victimized in international waters, you are still entitled to the protection of the law.  Though our office is located in Florida, we have a long and successful track record litigating claims that arise in international waters.  We are more-than-capable of securing favorable verdicts and settlements on your behalf, regardless of where the original incident occurred.

Interested in learning more about your legal rights?  We encourage you to contact one of the experienced cruise ship rape lawyers at Lipcon for further assistance — we will evaluate your claims and help you determine how best to move forward with litigation.