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TripAdvisor Says It Will Make It Easier To Find Sexual Assault Warnings On Reviews

By Victoria M. Walker

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TripAdvisor said on May 14 that it will now make it easier to find sexual assault warnings on reviews, months after a 2018 Detroit Free Press investigation found that negative reviews were difficult to locate on the site.

“One incident is horrible — 1,100 is horrific. Having read through many of these accounts, it really motivated us at TripAdvisor to make sure we do right by these survivors and help them find a way to share this information with others,” TripAdvisor spokesman Brian Hoyt told the Free Press.

According to the Free Press, 1,100 sexual assaults were cited in 2018 by TripAdvisor.

According to TripAdvisor UK, the platform will flag reviews about sexual assault, deaths, sex trafficking, armed robbery, and assault in 28 languages. A notice will appear at the top of the review that will make it easier for travelers to see what the review is about.

A Change.org petition titled “Stop covering up sexual assaults” had over half a million signatures on Thursday morning.

“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,” the author wrote.

In the initial Free Press story, published in November 2018, a South African au pair said she was drugged and raped at a Sandals resort in Jamaica. She said she reported the rape to the resort, but said her host parents signed a nondisclosure agreement about the assault. The host family was paid $25,000, according to the woman. No charges were filed.

“Why are you bribing people to keep quiet?” the woman told Free Press at the time. “I feel like they allowed this to happen because they let someone get away with it. They cover their backs so quickly that they don’t actually help the victim.”

The Free Press also found that resorts in Jamaica have covered up sexual assaults, working with local police to discourage victims from coming forward. For instance, according to the Free Press, a woman who said she was sexually assaulted by a resort employee in 2017 said she was pressured into signing a nondisclosure agreement.

“I said, ‘Do I need to make a police report?’ They said, ‘No. You don’t need to do that. We’ll take care of everything,’” according to the report. That woman said she signed a nondisclosure agreement with Sandals Ochi Beach Resort.

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Victoria M. Walker

Victoria M. Walker is an award-winning multimedia journalist and full-time lecturer in the Department of Media, Journalism, and Film at her alma mater, Howard University. She was previously the breaking news and viral content video editor at The Washington Post.

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