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The Doctors discuss a scary report by the FBI which says the number of midair sexual assaults reported on commercial flights has increased 66% from 2014 to 2017. While the numbers aren't huge, in 2014 there were 38 investigations and in 2017 there were 63, it is a large increase and it's likely many incidents are not being reported. These assaults are occurring more often on redeye and longer flights, and often involve alcohol. ER physician Dr. Travis Stork surmises that they may be happening when the victim is in the window seat, possibly using a blanket.
The victim, if heavily asleep, may not realize it or they may be so petrified that they don't report it. However, doing so while still in-flight is vital. Dermatologist Dr. Sonia Batra says although one in five flight attendants were aware sexual assault was happening while in flight, a lot of them aren't trained on how to handle it. The passenger should report it in flight, because this allows the pilot to radio to the ground, and it becomes a federal issue. Upon landing the FBI will be involved and able to investigate. If victims wait to report the assault, they may lose the ability to control the situation.
Dr. Batra says this is apparently more commonly happening to unaccompanied minors and women. If you fly often, take caution. The Doctors recommend sitting in a window seat and avoiding blankets or anything that covers you up. They also advise taking caution with sleep medications and alcohol. If you feel you are next to someone inappropriate or worse case, sexually assaulted, let the flight attendant know.