Cruise Ship Sexual Assault: Cruise Ship Rape Lawyer Stresses the Importance of Ongoing Dialogue and Conversation

Lipcon, Marguiles, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A

Bill Cosby accused of rapeWith 16 women having come out in recent weeks accusing Bill Cosby of sexual assault and abuse, it’s become extremely clear that sexual assault needs to be brought to the forefront – especially sexual assault on cruise ships. Not only is it important for cruise ship rape victims to understand the importance of coming forward with their testimonies, it is equally critical that cruise lines start implementing greater safety measures to prevent these tragedies in the first place.

There are several similarities between the incidents with Cosby and those that happen on board cruise ships. For example, Time Magazine reports that many of the women who accused Cosby of sexual assault remained silent about the abuse during the comedian’s long career, spanning from the 70s to the present. Some of the women say that Cosby drugged them before assaulting them. More shockingly, Cosby’s history of rape would not have reached the public eye had the comedian Hannibal Buress not mentioned it in a comic routine.

Like Cosby’s victims, there are numerous sexual assaults and rapes on cruise ships that never see the light of day. Whether it’s because the victim is afraid to come forward or the cruise line fails to properly investigate the situation, assailants do not always get identified or charged with their actions. Furthermore, cruise lines have an interest in underreporting sexual crimes. For example, although Carnival Cruise Lines reported five rape incidents involving crew members and two incidents of sexual assault for 2013, experts believe these numbers may not be accurate.

A recent report suggests that while 959 crimes were reported to the FBI, only 31 crimes were released publicly. And, the U.S. Coast Guard will only disclose FBI investigations that are no longer current. This means that the number of crimes that actually get reported to the agencies may be significantly lower than the number of crimes actually taking place on these ships.

Additionally, as we stated before, victims themselves may not always report the crime to authorities. According to the National Institute of Justice, many experts agree that rape and sexual assault are among the most underreported crimes. A survey of college women suggested that 3 percent were victims of rape in a given nine-month time span. This number might seem low, but when one considers a campus of 10,000 students, this means that in a given nine-month period as many as 300 women might be rape or sexual assault victims. Yet, not all of these women are coming forward to the authorities.

As with cruise ship rape victims, any sexual assault victim feel afraid to come forward with the truth out of fear they may be ridiculed or blamed for their assailant’s actions, fear they might not be believed, or fear that the perpetrator will come after them. Many cruise ship rape victims are threatened by their attackers, which are oftentimes crew members, so, in fear that they will be hurt further if they do report the incident, they stay quiet.

Unfortunately, while cruise ships provide the ideal environment for fun, adventure, and relaxation, that same environment also provides an ideal setting for sexual assault or rape due to the number of confined spaces, large number of people, and overall “party” environment, where guests are much more likely to become intoxicated and vulnerable to an attack.

If you’ve been sexually assaulted or raped on a cruise ship, it’s important you understand that you are not alone. A cruise ship rape lawyer can help you seek justice and make sure your story is heard.