On a recent international trip with friends, I decided to go on an outdoor excursion. I never would have imagined that our tour guide, who came with stellar reviews on TripAdvisor, would ultimately rape me, and that TripAdvisor would do next to nothing to prevent him from doing it again.
I’m just one of countless women who’ve been ignored or mistreated by TripAdvisor after reporting a sexual assault at a business on their site. In the era of #MeToo, this company is not taking violence against women seriously.
My assault was deeply traumatic and probably one of the worst things I’ve ever experienced. But the humiliation I was put through when I turned to TripAdvisor for help was almost worse. When I asked for help warning other tourists about my attacker, the company simply suggested I leave a review. Not only was this solution woefully inadequate to warn other tourists – my one star review would quickly get lost among minor complaints about the guide – but it required me to relive the painful details of my assault and out myself publicly in a place where my assailant could likely find me.
TripAdvisor is the largest travel site in the world. Join me in demanding that it act as a leader within the industry, by taking action to protect its users and demand safety from the businesses it promotes.
The company has already bent to public pressure on this issue by implementing a system to warn users about businesses with “health, safety, and discrimination issues.” But the system is proving ineffective and insufficient.
Now is the moment to demand policies which actually protect customers from sexual assault and incentivize travel businesses to do the same. If enough of us speak out now, the poor publicity TripAdvisor is receiving compounded by our pressure will force the company to do something.