A woman referred to as “Jane Doe” was allegedly the victim of rape while on board Sky Princess, part of the Princess Cruise fleet, in December 2021.

Now, she’s taking legal action.

According to The New York Post, “the 27-year-old California woman has filed a lawsuit against Princess Cruises alleging that an art auctioneer aboard the ship raped her – and that she contracted HIV during the assault.”

Sadly, sex crimes on the high seas do happen.

According to an article published by Cruise Law News in 2019, “cruise ships reportedly experienced an unprecedented crime wave, with 35 sexual assaults involving 27 passengers during the summer.”

Quartz reported, “kidnappings or homicides are rare, but vacationers at sea are at risk of some serious offenses: most notably sexual assault. According to US government data, sex crimes far outweigh any other major offense on board.”

What Happened?

In December 2021, Jane Doe was on the cruise when she was invited to an auction on board by an employee for Park West Gallery.

The Post explained, “when she arrived for the auction a few days later, the man asked her to stay after the event but she declined.”

It was shortly after this that things allegedly went south.

The Situation Allegedly Got Worse

According to the lawsuit, Doe was bored on the ship.

When the alleged perpetrator asked if she was enjoying her time, “she responded that there weren’t enough things to do for people her age.”

Doe had quite a bit to drink, and this affected her speech and balance.

Referencing the suit, The Post reported, “she was slurring her speech, and she was bumping into walls and other items because she could not control her balance.”

The Auctioneer Asked For Her Room Number

When the auctioneer asked Doe for her room number, she willingly gave it. But according to the suit, it wasn’t with the hope of sex.

The suit stated, “she reasonably believed he was asking because he was going to arrange for a Princess employee to help her with activities involving younger passengers.”

The Rape Allegedly Happened In The Art Gallery On Board The Ship

After inviting Doe to the art gallery on board, the auctioneer allegedly gave her a drink and engaged her in conversation.

After groping her, “he pushed her into a closet and raped her while using a condom — even though she said ‘no’ repeatedly, the legal filing alleges.”

At some point, either the condom came off or the alleged rapist removed it himself.

The Woman Felt Sick Not Long Afterwards

On January 8, 2022, when the cruise concluded, Doe fell ill. After a series of tests, she discovered she had HIV.

The Post explained,  “both Princess Cruises and Park West Gallery are named as defendants in the suit.”

Doe’s attorney, Michael Winkleman, said, “we’re honored to represent Ms. Doe in her quest for justice against the cruise line and art concessionaire and we hope it serves as a wake-up call to the public about the real risks people face on cruise ships.”

Paul Schwiep, who has given outside counsel to Park West Gallery, said, “the nature of the acts alleged in the complaint warrant a very serious examination that separates the facts from fiction.”

He added, “in the company’s 25 years of successfully operating on cruise ships, there has never been an allegation of this kind made against an auctioneer.  We are in the early stages of conducting what will be a very thorough and searching investigation of what has been alleged.”

Princess Cruises didn’t offer a statement, as litigation is pending.

However, this is not the first sex crime to have allegedly happened on board one of their ships.

The Post reported, “three alleged incidents of sexual assault on Princess Cruise ships were reported to the US Department of Transportation from April 1 to June 30, 2022.”

What Is Rape Trauma Syndrome?

Rape Trauma Syndrome might explain why Doe didn’t come forward right away.

According to RAINN (Rape Abuse and Incest National Network), the syndrome consists of three phases: Acute Phase, Outward Adjustment Phase and the Resolution Phase.

When these happen, the victim experiences shame, anxiety, depression and fear interchangeably.

They may or may not want to discuss the specifics of their trauma. Some are able to press on as best they can, while others are wounded for life, and may require therapy.