The Role of Alcohol in Cruise Ship Rape Cases

Lipcon, Marguiles, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A

cruise ship rape lawyersAs cruise ship rape lawyers, we here at LMAW know all too well that sexual crimes on the high seas and in foreign ports happen all too often – far more often than cruise lines will usually admit to. Even though sexual crimes go widely unreported at times, as it stands, sexual assault is still the number 1 crime on cruise ships. But can it be prevented?

To a certain degree, the answer is yes. Traveling in numbers, avoiding secluded areas on a ship, and always keeping an eye on beverages to prevent date rape drug contamination are ways to reduce the risk of sexual assault on a cruise ship. However, one of the most common (and controllable) factors increasing the likelihood that passengers may suffer a sexual crime is alcohol intake.

Many cruise passengers enjoy their fair share of alcoholic beverages throughout a sailing. After all, one of the best things about cruising is not having to worry about drinking and driving. Yet, even though the risk of getting into a motor vehicle accident or being arrested for DUI is out of the picture, the negative effects of alcohol are present whether the individual consuming it is on land or at sea.

Alcohol is known to lower inhibitions, reaction time, judgement, and motor skills. The more one drinks, the greater the impairment becomes. Many cruise passengers will know when they’ve had one too many and call it a night, but others may not realize their limit or may purposefully try to surpass them for the sake of having a good time. No one ever thinks they’ll become the target of a sexual predator, but once a passenger becomes intoxicated to the point that they are no longer able to think or act clearly, their chances of becoming a victim of cruise ship rape and sexual assault increases exponentially.

Intoxicated passengers may not be able to act with the same level of caution they normally would when sober.  As a result, they may not spot a dangerous situation as easily or be able to ward off an attack. While inebriated, cruise passengers are far more likely to interact with strangers and allow them into their cabin, leave drinks unmonitored, and engage in more daring or “risky” behavior.

What’s worse is that since cruise lines derive a huge portion of their revenue from alcohol sales, it is very unlikely that a ship’s bartender will cut passengers off – even when it’s obvious that they’ve had too much alcohol. Plus, with the introduction of enticing and money-saving drink packages, passengers are far more likely to over-consume alcohol on their cruise.

Potential sexual assailants know this, and often target passengers who are already showing signs of inebriation or who are in the process of consuming alcoholic beverages. Because of this, it’s important that prospective cruise travelers know their limits when it comes to alcohol and try to remain within those limits. Alcohol plays a huge role in cruise ship rape and other sexual crimes, but luckily, it is a factor that can be drastically minimized.