Demand Action on Sexual Assaults on Planes
Reports of sexual assault on airplanes are on the rise, but airlines and oversight agencies remain ill-equipped to address reports of on-air assault, to maintain the victim’s safety while on-board, or to help them secure redress thereafter. A recent Slate Magazine article highlights the lack of training of airplane staff, and how the staff’s inaction prevented the victim from holding the perpetrator accountable; letting him walk out of the plane straight to freedom. Not only is this victim now fearful of running into the perpetrator and of flying, but the failure to report him means he can continue to prey on unsuspecting persons. Moreover, the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) failure to collect data on reports of sexual assault on airplanes obscures facts necessary to tackle this problem. As someone who travels frequently for work, and who works with a team of exceptional young people who are also required to travel frequently on long-haul international flights, I worry for my safety and theirs. Asking people whose livelihood depends on frequent international travel to refrain from sleeping on the plane or using sleep-aids is simply not reasonable. Further this advice does nothing to protect children or people who already don’t sleep or use sleep aids on these flights. We need to know that there are protocols in place to assist and protect victims in the case of a sexual attack and that the airlines take passenger safety – in all its forms – seriously. This petition asks Representative Eleanor Norton to reintroduce a bill (HB 4295) requiring the FAA to collect data on sexual assault on airplanes, asks the FAA to begin collecting this data immediately (even in the absence of this legislation), asks the major US airlines to show leadership by developing protocols and training specifically addressing on-air sexual assaults, and asks the TSA and Homeland Security to take reports of sexual assault seriously and develop their own protocols for dealing with reports of passengers assaulted on airplanes. An airplane should not be "free zone" for sexual assault. People deserve protection from sexual assault at all times and in all places.