Cruise Culture

[Trigger warning.]

So, I'm reading this article about the FBI reporting that "sexual and physical assaults were the leading crimes committed onboard cruise ships in recent years," and it's the usual depressing litany of failures to properly protect people from sexual assault and subsequent failures to properly serve resulting victims. And then there's the Blame Game, in which everyone who has a finger to point points it, in a wild attempt to identify who's really at fault for all these failures:
The number of attacks on ships is probably higher than reported, sexual assault experts say, because rape victims are afraid to come forward on an isolated ship with perpetrators in close quarters.

They also say cruise travelers are at a higher risk for attack because of readily available alcohol and a partying mentality on the vessels, which haul an average of 2,000 passengers each from across the globe. Of the attacks investigated by the FBI, a majority involved the use of alcohol.
Note the vague "involved the use of alcohol," which could mean a victim was drinking or that a rapist was drinking (or both), but because, of course, we can't actually ever have a real discussion about how alcohol might lower the inhibitions of rapists, most readers will naturally go immediately to the well-worn trope of drunken sluts deserving to get raped.
Cruise lines disagree, saying people are safer on the ships than they are in their own communities. The companies provide 24-hour security and screen passengers' belongings.

"The cruise ship is a closed community," said Michael Crye, executive vice president of the Cruise Lines International Association. Security officers "have absolute access to everyone onboard," he said, because each person has been documented before boarding the ship.
Note the complete ignorance of what actually causes rape—not a lack of security, not people being allowed willy-nilly to carry unexamined junk around with them, not a sense of community, not being known to authorities, but the presence of a rapist who's determined to rape someone, a rapist who knows that the illusions of safety thought to insulate "good people" from rapists, coupled with massive canons loaded with victim-blaming and set on a hair-trigger, will make raping someone and getting away with it incredibly easy.

Who's responsible for sexual assault on cruise ships? The same people who are responsible everywhere else—rapists and rape enablers, the people who see a borderline-incapacitated person being plied with more alcohol, who see someone already incapable of giving enthusiastic consent being dragged off to private quarters, who see someone being hounded by a stranger whose attentions they don't want, who see someone being bullied into dancing, sitting near, kissing, spending time with a person with whom they clearly don't feel comfortable, who listen to someone telling rape jokes, who hear someone making inappropriate comments about what they'd like to do to someone younger, drunker, more vulnerable, who see someone slipping something into another person's drink, who see any one of a million different clues that Something Bad Is Going to Happen, and do nothing, say nothing, just let it go. Or worse: Egg it on.

All the muttering about stepped-up security and making sure there are rape kits on board and blah-blah-blah isn't going to make a damn bit of difference to stop people getting raped (except insomuch as some of it may well help prosecute rapists and stop them raping again). What could make a difference is fundamentally changing the culture of cruise ships to one in which the possibility of rape is not an ominous shadow in the background but its prevention is an actively, openly addressed issue: "We encourage all our guests to have a raucous and rollicking good time—but not at the expense of anyone's safety or dignity. Be a responsible and respectful partier, make sure your partner says yes, and speak up if you see someone in danger. We have a zero tolerance policy on sexual assault."

The only possible excuse for not putting that shit everywhere on board a ship, knowing that rape is a problem, is because you don't want to be a downer and ruin all the carefree fun of your passengers. Except…there's only one kind of passenger who'd really have a problem with that, isn't there?

You can't claim to care about discouraging rape if your main priority is making sure you don't lose rapists as repeat customers.

Anyway…in a final bit of cluelessness, there is this:
Authorities say passengers should report crimes immediately to a cruise line security officer or staff member on board.
Never mind that the first rape recounted in the article is a woman who was raped by a crew member.

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