Sharing the Struggle: Sexual Assault at 30,000 feet

Dear June,

Recently, I was on a flight with a young woman who claimed to be afraid of flying so she asked if it was ok if she held my arm throughout the flight to ease her fears.  The request seemed harmless so I agreed.  During boarding she told the flight attendant we were on our honeymoon then nudged me jokingly.  Once in flight the “fear of flying” façade dropped and she became a sexually aggressive drunk.  She bit my neck, pulled up her skirt to put her leg over mine, tried on multiple occasions to unbutton my shirt and threw a drink when I refused to kiss her.  I usually enjoy talking to strangers on my travels but this situation has made me weary.  I didn’t want to get her in trouble but the airline kept feeding her drinks and the propositions kept coming even though I had made it clear I was not interested.  What can I do if something like this were to happen again?

Feeling Violated @ 30,000ft

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FV@30Kft,

If no one else will call this spade a spade, I will.  You were sexually assaulted on a flight where the staff overserved your attacker.  Had the roles been reversed you would have been prosecuted. This woman took advantage of your kindness and make you a target.  Once you made it clear to her that you weren’t interested in engaging with her she should have backed off immediately.  It sounds like instead of licking her wounds the liquid courage kicked in and she redoubled her efforts.  She counted on you not wanting to get her in trouble.  Her gamble paid off because now she is free to behave similarly in the future.   

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You have every right to feel weary because you were violated.  You are a victim in this scenario and your perpetrator suffered no consequences.  If this should ever happen to you again request to be reseated immediately.  Once you are reseated, tell the flight attendant what occurred and that you would like to press charges once the aircraft has landed.  Let the flight attendant know that if she is served any further alcohol that you will be including that in your statement to the police.  Address the flight attendant by name so he or she knows you intend to mention that detail as well.   

This may seem harsh, FV@30Kft, but consider this; she planned her attack and executed it with precision.  Before becoming drunk she spun a story of weakness.  She was a damsel in distress and in need of saving.  All a ploy to get close to you.  Lying to those around you and saying the two of you were on your honeymoon to throw off suspicion and put the two of you in cahoots.   

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If you can’t do this for you, do it for the next person she targets.  Sexual assault is gender blind.  You don’t get to feel bad for her because were the roles reversed, no one would blame her for taking action against you.   

It is my sincerest hope that you are never faced with this type of situation again.  Too many people, male and female, are subject to sexual assault on a daily basis.  I want to say thank you for writing in.  I feel that men have been socialized to laugh these things off, minimize it or simply keep quiet.  It’s important that we shed some light on this issue.  Just as sexual assault is gender blind, the fight against sexual assault should be as well.

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Take Care of Yourself,

June Spence

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About June

June was born and raised in the south where “bless your heart” is an insult. Self professed serial dater and an expert in all matters of the heart. June also enjoys volunteering, dancing and sewing.

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