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Sexual Assault on Vacation

Sexual assault on vacation can happen to anyone, so you must be cautious and prepared at all times. In Jamaica alone, 78 American tourists were reported to have been either raped or sexually assaulted between 2011 and 2019. The island is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the western hemisphere for its beaches, music, food, and culture.

Fearing and being wary of sexual assault does not mean that you refrain from visiting other places or countries. You can still enjoy some vacation time alone or with friends. Just make sure that you have the best armor for this kind of threat and it consists not of metal and steel, but of information and awareness. You also should have the number of a sexual assault lawyer on you at all times. 

In the content that follows, we have prepared a handful of information that could help in case you are in danger of being sexually assaulted. They can aid you in keeping a clear head, so you can assess the situation and know what to do. Just keep in mind that sexual assault is never the fault of the victim. You don’t have to feel bad if you find yourself in this situation.

What is Sexual Assault?

Sexual assault is any unwanted attention or sexual contact made through manipulation, trickery, pressure, bribery, force, threats, or violence. Physical or non-physical in nature, it can include sexual harassment, attempted rape, rape, incest, and child molestation. All types of sexual assault are considered crimes.

According to the U.S. State Department, sexual assault includes “a wide range of victimizations, distinct from rape or attempted rape. These crimes include completed or attempted attacks generally involving unwanted sexual contact between the victim and offender. Sexual assaults may or may not involve force and include such things as grabbing or fondling. Sexual assault also includes verbal threats”.

With these definitions, it has to be stressed that sexual assault, whether you are on vacation or not, is never the fault of the victim. If you have been forced to do something sexual against your will, even if it was just unwanted touching, then you have to know that it was illegal and already defined as sexual assault.

Dating someone, having had sex with someone you have already broken up with, or your willingness to engage in light sexual activity with somebody does not immediately mean sexual consent. Even if you have this guilt feeling about letting things “go too far”, it is still your right to say no, to be heard, and for your wishes to be respected.

Even if you may feel frightened, or ashamed after, know that any time you don’t want to have sexual contact or intercourse with someone and that person forces you to do it anyway, then that is already sexual assault or rape. 

Signs of Sexual Assault

Now that you already have a grasp of what sexual assault is and understands that you should never see yourself as the one to blame in this kind of situation, it is time to learn more about the common signs of sexual assault. This information will heighten your awareness of any situation you might be in, especially while you are vacationing.

  • Taking advantage of you while you are not likely able to provide consent like when you are drunk or sick.
  • Making unwanted advances like touching, grabbing, or fondling.
  • Forcing you to engage in any sexual activity for money, whether in person or on film.
  • Filming or taking pictures of you in any sexual context without your consent.
  • Threatening divorce, separation, or break up for refusal of sex.
  • Denying you the right to protect yourself against pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases.
  • Manipulating or forcing you to do anything degrading, unwanted, or painful during sexual intercourse.
  • Attempting or doing actual unwanted oral, vaginal, or anal penetration using any body part or object already constitutes rape.

If you found yourself in any of the situations above, the best thing you can do is tell someone you trust. It must be somebody who can help you on what to do next especially if you are thinking about filing a sexual assault case. Sexual assault allegations can be threshed out easily if you have a sexual assault lawyer on your corner.

Tips for Safe Travel and Sexual Assault Prevention

Tips for Safe Travel and Sexual Assault Prevention

With the signs of sexual assault already in your cache of information, we can now head on to what you can do to ensure safe travel and to protect yourself against possible sexual assault. Although there is no be-all and end-all as to what you can do to protect yourself while on vacation, the tips below will help.

Before Your Trip

  • Be familiar with your destination. Scout the areas within the immediate vicinity of your destination through the use of such tools as Google Maps. Find out the nearest police station and hospital from where you are staying. See if there are bus stops nearby or a shopping center where you can call a cab easily. This way, you have everything covered for your trip back to your hotel, especially when you’d go out at night.
  • Research all types of ground transportation. Ensure that you know of the reputable ridesharing and taxi companies in the area. Check their modes of payment and get hold of their hotlines in case of a bad experience. It is also best if you find a mobile app with real-time updates for public transportation at your destination. This way, you can avoid waiting for a bus in a secluded area.
  • Plan for your safety while abroad. Know where the nearest U.S. Consulate or Embassy is and save their contact information. They have consular officers on standby 24/7 for emergency assistance. You should also look into the resources provided by the U.S. State Department for international travelers. There is a Smart Traveller Enrollment Program where you can register your international trip for free as well. If your trip abroad involves a cruise ship, make sure to read the cruise line’s safety information before boarding.
  • Share your travel information. This is one of the most important things you can do. So, before you leave for your trip, be sure to share all information about your trip with family or somebody else you trust. Aside from your itinerary, also share the contact information and address of your accommodations as well as your flight numbers and other transportation information.

When You’re Already There

  • Be cautious about getting into “vacation brain” mode. Although it is nice to just let your worries fade while on vacation, it should not mean that you also let your guard down. A lot of vacation destinations can provide a false sense of security, so you must still be careful wherever you are. Give yourself time to trust people you meet along the way.
  • Be mindful of what you drink. It is not wrong to drink as long as you’re smart about it. Look up unfamiliar ingredients on the Internet and keep track of how much you’ve already drunk. Always be aware of danger signs like uncomfortable situations or feeling more intoxicated than you should. When this happens, go to a safe place as soon as you are able. 
  • Be prepared with a Plan B. Although it is not likely for you to have a backup plan for every type of situation, at least think through the scenarios below to know what you can do to get yourself out of a bind.
    • If you get lost, have you written down the address of your accommodations or memorized it using the local language?
    • If your phone battery dies, do you have some numbers memorized or have a portable charger on hand? If you are not in the US, have you already activated the international service?
    • If you get separated from your travel group, do you have a designated place where you’d meet or where they’d look for you?
    • If you are driving, do you have an actual map you can use if your GPS bugs down?
    • Do you know the contact numbers and location of the nearest police station and hospital?
    • Are you familiar with where you are? Have you taken note of local landmarks such as restaurants, drug stores, or 24-hour convenience stores? These can help you orient yourself with your surroundings and will let you know where to go for help.

What to Do in an Emergency Situation

Should you find yourself in a situation abroad where you need urgent assistance, contact the U.S. Department of State as soon as possible. They can hook you up with different resources that could offer help wherever you are in the world. Below are the numbers and things you can do in case of an emergency:

  • If you are abroad: +1.202.501.4444
  • If you are in the U.S. or Canada: 1.888.407.4747
  • You can also contact or go to the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate in the country of your destination. They have consular officers available 24/7 for emergency assistance. If you have been a victim of sexual assault or any other crime, a U.S. consular officer can help you work through the process. Although they could not provide legal assistance or investigate any crime, they can assist you in navigating your travel country’s criminal justice system. If you report a crime to the local police, be sure to ask for a copy of the police report. You can also contact a US lawyer who can guide you through the process.

Getting sexually assaulted while you were on a vacation in Miami, somewhere else in the US, or abroad is never your fault. If you find yourself in this situation, know that there are several channels where you can get help and one of these is calling a personal injury lawyer from Diamond & Diamond in Miami at 1-800-567-HURT.

Other Things You Could Do to Prevent Sexual Assault on Vacation
Refrain from giving out mixed messages.Make sure that your “yes” means “yes” and your “no” is “no”. Your words should not conflict with other signals that may be misinterpreted like postures, gestures, eye contact, or tone of voice.
Avoid isolated places.Don’t put yourself in a situation where you can be made vulnerable. If you are still unsure about someone, then suggest that you go out on a double or group date. Go to crowded places where you can be comfortable in getting to know each other better. 
Trust your instinct.Your gut feelings rarely lie. If you feel like you are being pressured or in danger, then you are probably right. When this happens, you need to react and protect yourself. You can either confront the person or leave immediately. 

Did You Know

“An American falls victim to sexual assault every 68 seconds? On average, 463,634 Americans, age 12 or older, become victims of sexual assault and rape every year in the U.S. alone.”

FAQs on Sexual Assault on Vacation

Yes. A lot of sexual assault cases were committed by somebody the victim knows. Having had sexual relations in the past with someone does not give them the right to do it again without your consent. Even if a victim is in a romantic relationship with someone, they could still be classified as a sexual assault victim if they did not consent to any sexual act.

No. You can report a sexual assault incident to the police or a lawyer at any time, regardless of when it happened. Although the sooner you file a report, the sooner the police or your lawyer will be able to collect evidence and gather the information that could help your case.

A sexual assault lawyer can help you navigate this kind of legality. You should never be inhibited from reporting that you have been a victim of sexual violence. If you are still a student, colleges and universities have amnesty policies for minor violations such as visitation rules or underage drinking, especially when linked to such incidents as sexual assault or rape.