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Inflight sexual harassment - how often does this happen?

(5 Posts)
SCC1 Fri 19-Oct-12 14:25:02

I was recently on a long-haul flight from the UK during which I was sexually harassed by the man sat next to me. It was a pretty traumatic experience and I'm interested to find out how many other women have gone through something like this.

The guy was drunk because airline staff had served him ten glasses of wine (he was ordering them two at a time), and his behaviour towards me had been getting increasingly inappropriate. I had asked the flight attendants not to give him any more wine, but they continued to serve him regardless. In the end, he put his head on my shoulder, tried to kiss my face and then grabbed my arm and asked me if I would perform a sexual act on him for money.

I panicked, burst into tears and ran to the back of the plane where I begged the flight attendants to get him away from me. It was a Chinese airline and the staff didn't speak very good English, so they didn't really understand what had happened, nor did they appear to do anything to deal with the guy. They moved me to another seat, but when the plane landed they did nothing to make sure he couldn't come to find me again, and we were both going to be waiting in the airport for connecting flights. I ended up hiding in the toilets near my departure gate because I was scared he was going to see me.

I've complained in writing to the airline and I'm still waiting for their official response. Having done some research though, I've found out that the only thing the airline needed to do, legally speaking, was to move me to another seat. It's the airline's discretion as to how many alcoholic drinks they can serve a passenger, and if the problem passenger hasn't been arrested (it's at the discretion of the captain to decide whether to call the police when the plane lands) then there's no onus on the airline to ensure the safety of the victim once the plane has touched the ground.

So all in all, if something like that happens, you're at the mercy of that airline's cultural attitude towards sexual harassment and whether the staff care enough to make sure you're safe when you leave the plane.

Has anyone else ever experienced anything like this, or know anyone who has? There are a few news articles out there of similar cases: - feel awful for this woman, she wasn't even moved to a different seat. - this one is terrible, the guy was arrested thankfully!

ConsiderCasey Fri 19-Oct-12 14:33:16

I was on an overnight bus once when I woke to find my neighbour's hand creeping further up my thigh! I was more annoyed than scared. I was in a country where the local men thought european women were easy and therefore fair game and that constantly irritated me.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Fri 19-Oct-12 16:34:35

Sorry that happened SCC and that the staff didn't speak enough English to help, despite the flight starting from the UK.

Were the drinks free or paid for? Maybe they have sales targets which would be awful.

StewieGriffinsMom Fri 19-Oct-12 16:39:02

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

sashh Sun 21-Oct-12 04:43:47

It's not just planes.

If you are on a cruise ship you can't call the police, and you may not be in the jurisdiction of any country.

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