Tags: in-flight | sexual | assault | fbi

In-Flight Sexual Assaults Have Nearly Doubled, FBI Warns

In-Flight Sexual Assaults Have Nearly Doubled, FBI Warns
(Dreamstime)

By    |   Friday, 22 June 2018 06:58 AM

In-flight sexual assaults have nearly doubled since 2014, the FBI has warned, with the majority of victims being women and unaccompanied minors on overnight flights. Men have reported unwanted advances, too.

Authorities said the incidents on airplane are the worst it has been in the past 17 years and some of the victims are too afraid to come forward, WBZ-TV reported.

The FBI said 38 such incidents were reported in 2014, but that number had increased to 63 in the agency's last fiscal year.

"It's increasing at an alarming rate," said FBI Agent David Rodski, according to the television station. "The vast majority of victims have been in center seats, or predominantly window seats, actually — typically towards the back end of the aircraft.

"… The aircraft at night, lights are down, people may feel emboldened or powered. That armrest is one of your best defenses in that situation."

The FBI alert comes after an April press release raising awareness about the issue.

"Unfortunately, people don’t think things like this happen on airplanes," said Caryn Highley, a special agent in the FBI’s Seattle Division who investigates crimes aboard aircraft. "There is a perception on an airplane that you're in a bubble of safety."

The New York Post reported that in one incident in April, a Delta passenger claimed an intoxicated woman grabbed him repeatedly before takeoff, while in May a woman flying Southwest Airlines charged that another passenger was watching pornographic material on his iPad and masturbating for the "entire flight."

The FBI suggested things to look out for and to do:

  • Offenders will often test their victims, sometimes pretending to brush against them to see how they react or if they wake up. If such behavior occurs, reprimand the person immediately, and consider asking to be moved to another seat.
  • Recognize that mixing alcohol with sleeping pills or other medication on an overnight flight increases your risk.
  • If your seatmate is a stranger, no matter how polite he or she may seem, keep the armrest between you down.
  • If you are arranging for a child to fly unaccompanied, try to reserve an aisle seat so flight attendants can keep a closer watch.
  • If an incident happens, report it immediately to the flight crew and ask that they record the attacker's identity and report the incident.

"Flight attendants and captains represent authority on the plane," said FBI Special Agent David Gates, who is based at Los Angeles International Airport. "We don't want them to be police officers, but they can alert law enforcement, and they can sometimes deal with the problem in the air."

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In-flight sexual assaults have nearly doubled since 2014, the FBI has warned, with the majority of victims being women and unaccompanied minors on overnight flights. Men have reported unwanted advances, too.
in-flight, sexual, assault, fbi
434
2018-58-22
Friday, 22 June 2018 06:58 AM
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