NBC News Profiles Cruise Ship Sexual Assault

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Many people are surprised to learn that sexual assault is the most commonly reported crime aboard cruise ships. The vast majority of victims of these crimes are women and children, often teenage girls. Today an NBC News article tackles this disturbing trend.

The piece profiled 42-year-old Anne Smith, who took her two daughters on a Caribbean cruise. As the cruise was winding down, her 16-year-old daughter told Smith that she believed the ship’s personal trainer had molested her while taking her measurements after a personal training session. "It was my final consultation to see how I had improved and so he took my measurements and he was like lifting my shirt and all that and pulling down my shorts," she told NBC News. Though an investigation was conducted, no charges were ever filed against the alleged perpetrator.

The article states that out of 92 crimes reported aboard cruise ships in 2016, 62 were for sexual assault, an equivalent of about 67%. The article goes on to state that a 2013 congressional report found that a third of victims were minors.

As with all sexual assaults, there are certain steps victims of cruise ship sexual assault should follow. These steps include:

1. Report it to the ships infirmary and demand a rape kit exam.  Do this before you take a shower.

2. Contact the FBI while you are still on the ship. The ships officers are supposed to facilitate this communication.  Talk to the FBI yourself. The cruise line personnel will give a biased, sometimes inaccurate description.

3. Take photos and preserve evidence. You cannot depend on the cruise line to do this. 

4. Get the names, street addresses, email addresses, and cell numbers of all witnesses to all aspects of what happened.

5. Get counseling when you get off the ship.