Cruise Passengers Allege They Weren’t Protected From Sexual Assault

A young woman, now 21 years old, has shared her story of alleged sexual assault while on a cruise. To protect her identity, she will be called “G.” G. was 11 years old when this unfortunate incident occurred, and she was on a cruise vacation with her grandmother and younger sister. She was excited for the trip, like any child would be.

Even before the ship set sail, G. faced a traumatic experience. While looking for the Wi-Fi password, she approached someone outside the restaurant for directions to the lobby. Instead of receiving help, she was groped. Scared and shaken, G. made her way to the lobby, fearing she might encounter the same person again.

As G. walked towards the lobby, she entered an elevator. To her horror, the same employee followed her and blocked the elevator doors. He asked her for a kiss, and when she obliged and kissed him on the cheek, he demanded more. He kissed her on the mouth, leaving her feeling violated and helpless.

G. tearfully confided in her grandmother about the horrific experience when they reached their room. They reported the incident to guest services at the ship’s lobby. G. described the incident and the employee’s appearance, and they promised to investigate.

A fellow passenger named Taplin witnessed the elevator surveillance footage, which supported G.’s account of events. G. later identified the assailant as a waiter from one of the ship’s restaurants.

Taplin tried to investigate the case but faced obstacles. She urged a senior officer to contact the FBI while the ship was still docked in Florida, but he chose to set sail before informing the FBI once they entered international waters.

Later, Taplin was present during an interview between the senior officer and the accused crew member. According to a BuzzFeed News report, the crew member denied kissing the girl and only admitted to giving her a high five and a hug. Taplin claimed the officer used vulgar language and made violent threats during the meeting.

The next day, when the ship arrived in the Bahamas, local police officers were called. Taplin alleged that the police berated and threatened the accused crew member to pressure him into confessing. Instead of being arrested, he signed a statement admitting to touching the girl’s breast. The crew member was then sent back to his home state of Goa, India, without facing further consequences.

For the rest of the vacation, G. felt terrified and unsafe on the ship. She stayed close to her grandmother and only felt secure during a stop at Disney’s private Caribbean island, Castaway Cay, where she knew her assailant would not be present.

G. claimed that after reporting the assault, Disney took minimal action. They instructed the employee responsible for cleaning her room to create towel animals and placed a princess bedspread on her bed as a gesture. But apart from informing her family that the accused crew member had been deported, they received no further updates from Disney.

What do you think?

Written by Western Reader

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