Most of us don’t step onboard a cruise ship thinking we are going to get attacked. What’s going on in our minds is how much we can eat and drink – not to mention shop, dance, get a tan, etc. No one really focuses on all the things that could possibly go wrong and no one ever thinks that with so many people onboard an average cruise itinerary, that THEY will be the ones to become prey to an assault.
The harsh reality is that crimes do take place aboard cruise vessels and the most heinous crime on cruise ships is actually sexual assault. While cruise ship rape victims can be men, the majority are women and victims can even be young children. Incidents involving a sexual attack can also occur on any vessel, from a more party-going ship like Carnival to a luxury vessel like Regent. Sexual predators do not discriminate when it comes to ships or their victims and many lure unsuspecting passengers back to their rooms by befriending them and encouraging the fun to continue in the stateroom, or may even go as far as spiking a person’s drink.
Assailants can be other passengers but they can be crewmembers as well. While a physical attack may not always be prevented, one involving a drugged beverage can. Having represented over 1,000 cases since 1971, our cruise lawyers have seen too many people become the victims of sexual assault on the high seas and we have a few recommendations to help keep you safe.
For one, never take your eyes off of your drink. If you stand up to use the rest room, dance or go to the pool, take your beverage with you or request a new one. If you notice your drink has a strange hue to it, smells different or is fizzing, ask for a new beverage and request the bartender make it in front of you. Whether it is the bartender putting a drug in the drink or the server bringing it to you, actually watching the beverage get poured will give you peace of mind that nothing has been added to it. Of course, this can also happen on land, but for some reason, people let their guard down on ships.
We also suggest always traveling with a buddy and never walking the halls of a cruise ship alone at night. It is much easier for a sexual predator to attack someone when they are alone than trying to pick someone out of a group. Keep a means of communication with you at all times as well, such as a walkie talkie, and while your cell phone may not work at sea sometimes, you can still use it to take pictures you can use later as evidence to file a cruise ship rape or sexual assault claim.
Of course, the assault should be immediately reported to the security officer on the ship and you should go to the ship’s doctor for an examination with a rape kit. You should not wash or shower or brush your teeth prior to immediately seeing the ship’s doctor so that evidence can be preserved and not washed away. The FBI should also be contacted as soon as possible so an investigation can immediately begin.
In the event that you or someone you love does become the victim of a sexual assault on a cruise ship, turn to our cruise attorneys to file a case and protect your rights. Our attorneys will work to bring the assailant to justice as well as pursue a civil claim for your pain and suffering.
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