June 19, 2008 - (Washington, DC) - Evelyn
Fortier, RAINN's Vice President of Public Policy, testified today before a U.S. Senate panel at a hearing about crime on cruise ships. In her testimony before the U.S. Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Surface Transportation and Merchant Marine Infrastructure, Safety, and Security, Fortier described the plight of United States citizens who are sexually assaulted on cruise ships (many of which are foreign-flagged vessels), and highlighted the lack of protections available to victims in the aftermath of an assault during a cruise voyage. Fortier also noted that sexual assault was the leading crime reported to and investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation on the high seas over the last five years, and provided recommendations to Congress and the cruise industry on how to enhance the safety of cruise voyagers.
Other witnesses at the subcommittee hearing (entitled "Cruise Ship Safety: Examining Potential Steps For Keeping Americans Safe At Sea") included International Cruise Victims founder Kendall Carver (whose adult daughter disappeared during a cruise voyage and has never been found), Dr. Ross Klein, an academic who has studied the rate of crime on cruise ships, and a spokesperson for the cruise industry. The hearing was chaired by U.S. Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts.
RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) is the nation’s largest anti-sexual assault organization and was named one of “America’s 100 Best Charities” by Worth magazine. RAINN created and operates the National Sexual Assault Hotlines (800.656.HOPE and rainn.org) in partnership with over 1,100 local rape crisis centers across the country. The hotlines have helped more than 1.2 million people since 1994. RAINN also carries out programs to prevent sexual assault, help victims and ensure that rapists are brought to justice. For more information about RAINN, please visit rainn.org.