Though cruise vacations are intended to be fun and relaxing, they are often plagued with crime, particularly cruise ship rape crimes. Statistics show that cruise ship rape and other forms of sexual assault are the most frequently occurring crimes on cruise ships. Yet, only a handful of these cases are made public. Many times, unfortunately, cruise lines will underreport sexual crimes or may even fail to fully disclose allegations brought up by passengers or crew members to the Coast Guard and FBI.
Even though not every cruise ship rape incident becomes public knowledge, these types of crimes continue to occur at an alarming rate, affecting people of all ages (including children). As per our cruise ship rape lawyer and firm’s founding member Charles Lipcon’s tell-all guide to safer cruising, “Unsafe on the High Seas,” of the 206 crimes that were reported on cruise ships between 2003 and 2006, 86 percent were sexual in nature. In that same time period, around 31 million people went on a cruise vacation. Given that only a portion of these crimes are brought to light, the unfortunate truth is that the real rate of cruise ship rape and sexual assault crimes is probably somewhere in the thousands.
So why are cruise ship rape crimes underreported? There are actually a few reasons.
For one, many of the victims of cruise ship rape and sexual assault are minors. Though some of these incidents become highly publicized through media outlets, others are not. Sometimes, it comes down to a matter of privacy. The identities of minors who are involved in any type of crime, not only those that are sexual in nature, are usually withheld. Sadly, however, there are times when minors are either threated by their assailants into keeping quiet, which leads them to avoid telling anyone about what they have suffered – even their family members. Then there are also instances when a minor does attempt to report a sexual crime, but because of their age, may not be taken seriously. Tragically, it can take years (if ever) before young cruise ship rape victims come forward or are able to obtain justice for the wrongs they have suffered.
Another main reason as to why cruise ship rape crimes are underreported is because cruise line negligence. Sometimes, cruise lines fail to properly document, investigate, or report sexual assault allegations. This can boil down to a failure in promptly communicating allegations to authorities like the Coast Guard and FBI, or it can be the result of the cruise line deliberately choosing to withhold information and evidence. Reporting a sexual crime can not only negatively affect a cruise line’s reputation for safety, it can also cost the cruise line a lot of money if they are found to have been at least partially responsible for the crime. A perfect example of rape case for which a cruise line might be held liable is when the assailant is a crew member who was hired despite having a sexual criminal record. Another example would be if a cruise line failed to have sufficient security measures in place, such as a lack of security personnel or security cameras on a ship, to prevent a sexual attack from happening.
When a cruise line doesn’t fully disclose sexual crime allegations to the appropriate authorities, not only can a victim be denied justice, but the assailant can also avoid repercussions. If an investigation isn’t initiated right away, the perpetrator may have enough time to disembark the ship in a foreign port and disappear before they are apprehended by police.
Though there are many shocking facts about cruise ship rape crimes, it’s important for victims to know they do have options. Anyone who has suffered a sexual attack or whose loved ones were hurt by a sexual predator has the right to contact a cruise ship rape lawyer for legal assistance. An experienced attorney can help victims file a case and can even help them obtain compensation.