The Threat of Cruise Ship Rape: Cruise Destinations Posing the Greatest Risk of Sexual Assault and How Passengers Can Stay Safe

Lipcon, Marguiles, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A

cruise ship rape lawyersSocial norms and enforcement of sexual crime laws differ vastly from country to country. In some nations, women face heavy sanctions either personally or institutionally when reporting sexual assault or rape. Unfortunately, reported rape statistics aren’t always the best indicator of a country’s safety when it comes to women traveling abroad, especially those traveling on cruise ships. Some of the most popular cruise destinations pose the greatest risk of sexual assault for female travelers, and the laws in these nations may not even protect victims after they are attacked.

So, how can prospective female cruise passengers stay as safe as possible when sailing to a foreign country? Here are a few tips from our attorneys.

First and foremost, one of the best ways to lower one’s chances of becoming the victim of cruise ship rape and sexual assault while in another country is by staying informed. One way to assess the potential risk of sexual assault in a foreign country and determine how to proceed following an attack is to research the nation’s policy toward reporting sexual crimes.

Policy.Mic recently compiled a list of five countries that will actually throw women in jail for reporting assault. The countries listed were: Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Ireland, Somalia, and India. In Ireland, for instance, a woman was imprisoned for refusing to testify in court against those who attacked her. Women who report rape crimes may find themselves trapped in a nation where they may face legal action against them—just for being a victim.

Despite these unfavorable laws, several cruise ships call on these ports, so staying aware of each country’s laws is vital, especially in the event that an attack does occur. As opposed to reporting a crime to that particular nation’s police, victims should report the matter to cruise ship authorities, contact U.S. law enforcement officials like the FBI, and seek legal counsel with a cruise ship rape lawyer.

Though many cruise passengers become the victims of a sexual crime while on board, travelers are especially at risk while on land, which is why passengers should always exercise caution when venturing both inside and outside of a ship in order to reduce their chances of being attacked. Our attorneys recommend the “buddy system,” especially for female travelers. Always remember, there’s safety in numbers. Assailants are much more likely to target a single tourist than a group of people, so it’s always wise for party members to stick together when exploring foreign countries and when roaming a ship.

Another thing to remember is that non-western countries are not the only locations where women could be at risk of rape. According to the International Business Times, Sweden has the highest rape rates in Europe, with 69 reported cases per 100,000 people. This is three times the reported rape cases in the United States. New Zealand and Belgium also topped the list.

Unfortunately, women who become the victims of a sexual crime while abroad may face increased challenges in getting the justice they deserve. Each country’s laws are unique – and some are unfavorable toward victims. Sadly, many women choose not to report rape out of fear of legal backlash or social humiliation, as many times, it is the victims who are blamed for the very crime committed against them as if they somehow chose to be attacked or were “asking for it”. However, this should never discourage victims from coming forward and seeking help with U.S. authorities. The U.S. Consulate may be able to offer women assistance if they find themselves facing trouble abroad.

Yet, the reality is that in many cases, women are just as likely to be sexually assaulted on domestic soil as they would be on a cruise ship, in a foreign country, or while sailing in international waters. Even in the U.S., many sexual assault crimes remain unreported, sometimes due to lack of information, lack of support for rape victims, or even because of a cruise line’s own negligence in following through with investigation procedures and failing to report an alleged crime to the appropriate authorities. Finding the right support after suffering a violent crime like sexual assault is important, and a cruise ship rape attorney who understands both domestic and international sexual assault laws can help victims seek justice.