Discussion in 'News - Breaking News & Political Forum' started by rabs77, Apr 10, 2019.
I wonder if the couple from Maryland had some bad drugs or something. I'm only saying that because there were no signs of violence. I hope that their family can find out what happened and get closure. My prayers are with them.
Someone on my timeline was at the resort the same time as the MD couple! They even posted photos with the couple in the background. They said the Entire time there the workers and some of the guests at the resort would give them this creepy “Get Out” type of stare. They said one of their friends passports went missing and was somehow magically found in another guests room. That same friend reported being followed on the resort one night. He said it all made sense and blew his mind when he got back and heard about this couple being murdered! Crazy!!!
What resort were they at? I want make sure my friends know to avoid it.
I'm gonna wait until the bodies come home before I accept the resort/DR police version of this story. If that white lady's story is any indication, they seem quite content to cover up anything that makes them look bad.
They were at Grand Bahia Principe La Romana.
Welp. Dominican Republic is off my list. Considering I'm mostly a solo traveler.
This was my experience during a recent beach hotel resort stay in Spain. The Spanish employees were fine but the white European guests creeped me out so bad with the constant staring and occasional pointing and whispering. I kept texting my family telling them I feel like the guy in Get Out. I was by myself and it came to a point where I would take my food to my room instead of eating at the resort restaurants because being treated like a walking exhibit became too much. I heard staring is a thing in Europe (although black people are targeted more) so I didn’t feel unsafe just annoyed but had I read more stories like the ones in this thread before my visit I probably would’ve freaked out. Glad to hear your friend is safe and I will never step foot in the DR!
Yes I am never stepping foot in the DR ever again! Insane!
I don’t know what’s going on with the men working in resorts worldwide but there’s more reports of women on vacation getting sexually harassed/attacked by hotel staff than I’ve pever heard of before. It’s not just black countries because India, Mexico, N Africa ain’t never really been safe but the islands didn’t have that kind of reputation. It’s like over the last few years, the rapist coalition had a meeting and have decided no bleeps are given and the resorts and local police co-signed.
I honestly don’t know what to think about the white man who killed the hotel employee in Antigua. There was just something kinda “oh well” about all the other black employees including security not intervening.
This is sad and scary.
I won't be going back to the DR.
I wish I would have been able to travel more when I was young because now-a-days and stories like this make me not want to travel. I used to think the resorts were safe and that everything would be fine as long as you stayed on the resort. These people are dying on the resort and leaving the resort.
My first thought with the MD couple was carbon monoxide poisoning. It’s more common than we think at vacation locales. I could see foul play too though.
DR has been off my list for several years due to their treatment of Haitian immigrants and dark skinned folks.
Same. The only people I heard talk about the DR were black men and it hinted of sex tourism so it was never of interest.
what trips me out is the fact that some of these deaths/beatings are happening on pretty well known and respected resorts. You think you're safe on the resort grounds, but obviously not. I also have to bring up the rapes that happened to a few white women on some Jamaica resorts. They weren't some old rinky dink hotels. They were resort brands that I usually stay at. It's very frightening. I've been a solo traveler for a few years, and I've always had fears going alone to these out of country all inclusive resorts by myself. (i used to go with a spouse). I don't feel safe going by myself now. I would feel as if the staff on the hotel grounds would know I'm by myself and I can be targeted.
The DR is definitely off my list... Haiti's right next door, but folks flock to DR and pour their money there..
Something's definitely fishy going on concerning tourists in DR but seems the black American visitors are easier targets. Two black couples dead; one white woman beaten up. I'll have to go check to see if DR has made it on the black list yet. Puerto Rico and the VI have been off/off the list.. it behooves travelers, esp. blacks, who are traveling alone to check out things like that. We're not welcomed everywhere...
They are saying autopsy revealed the couple had respiratory failure and pulmonary edema. Also blood pressure medications were found.
This sounds like a near drowning or chemical exposure. I highly doubt both of them died from near drowning. I also don't believe blood pressure meds have anything to due with their deaths. What else would cause excessive fluid in the lungs that would kill them both at the same time?
Can a US medical examiner go there to do the autopsy please?
Didn't bother me, but I ain't about to let those folks spoil my vacation...I stare back or point back, and don't back down...stayed at a Spanish inclusive resort, as we left one area, this one lady kept jumping up to lock the glass door behind us. I must of went back like 6 times, knocked on the door, making her get up and open it, until she got the message..
They’re grasping at straws by trying to use blood pressure or suicide using bp meds as a cause. I’m thinking carbon monoxide poisoning or some form of chemical exposure. I wouldn’t trust any investigation being conducted by the hands of DR inhabitants. This is so sad.
That sounds very fishy. They just both died of respritory failure and pulmonary edema??? I hope that the families can request another autopsy when the bodies are returned to the U.S.
Detroit been putting women travelers on notice about Jamaica since last year after two black women were raped at gun point by a hotel employee. One of them got the gun away and shot the dude and the resort was like "what you want us to do"?
The DR, I just know of us either a honeymoon destination or sex tourism sites.
I'm fat so I wasn't going to no islands no way. none of this was on my radar.
1 American is raped a month in Jamaica at the resorts??? If that's what's reported then there's definitely more. Whoa.
That's it. I'm good on traveling to the Caribbean anytime soon. I know they aren't all bad but until they get the message that we need to be safe, I'm keeping my money in my wallet.
I checked Jamaica's status on the US Travel Advisory List. It says that sexual assaults happen frequently including at all inclusive resorts. I don't think the word is out because I haven't heard anyone talking about this.
Man I am going to Jamaica in two weeks. I have not been excited about it. I blame ya'll for that. But thanks for keeping us updated and aware.
This is crazy. I think they need to name the resorts so we can know where not to go.
Man all inclusive resorts were made so tourist wouldn't have to leave the resort and think about getting robbed and attacked. Now we have to worry about getting attacked on the resort too! Dis Tew Much.
I hope you have a good and safe trip.
When I went to Negril I was hanging at the bar with my friend and decided to head back to room because I felt extremely tipsey. Shortly after there was a knock at my door and I opened assuming it was my friend why was it the damn bartender!
Story time. I went to Negril a few years ago with my girlfriend to celebrate her 40th. We were drinking at the hotel bar and I decided to go to the room because I felt myself getting really drunk which was weird because I only had two drinks. Anyway 30 mins later I hear a knock at my door and it’s the bartender! He made my drinks strong on purpose! Thank godness my friend was right behind him!
Sounds like he drugged you. I’m glad nothing happened to you.
SANDALS Resorts in Jamaica have done cover ups and paid off victims.
and I thought Sandals had better resorts because the prices are a lot higher.
Trip advisor now has a search button for attacks at hotels and resort according to the article. This is the right direction.
I went to Jamaica last year and Punta Cana several times over for the past few years. I never had a problem and felt safe. I also took the normal precautions that I would take anywhere that I travel. I love traveling to different places and will continue to do so.
TripAdvisor will now flag sexual assault warnings on travel reviews
TRESA BALDAS | DETROIT FREE PRESS Updated 10:49 p.m. EDT May 17, 2019
Jamaica resort rape victim speaks out
The rapes of two Detroit women at a Jamaican resort has highlighted a pervasive problem on the island getaway: sexual assaults are ignored.
After two Detroit women were raped at a >ve-star resort in Jamaica last fall, neither had any idea how common their horror was.
They didn't know that there were scores of other victims like them. They didn't know that crimes like theirs happened at fancy hotels worldwide, or that 1,100 sexual assaults were cited last year alone
in TripAdvisor reviews. That's three tourist rapes a day.
All the Detroit women knew was their terror, until a Free Press investigation revealed a more widespread problem that prompted TripAdvisor, the world's largest travel company, to change how it alerts travelers about sexual assault reports at hotels, resorts and various destinations.
In the wake of mounting public pressure and the Free Press investigation, TripAdvisor announced on Tuesday that it will now Pag sexual assault warnings on reviews, making it easier to >nd out which hotels and resorts have been cited for sex crimes at the hands of employees. Rather than have to read through tens of thousands of hotel reviews in search of sexual assault complaints, TripAdvisor users will now be able to click through a >lter on each property to see whether there are any reviews with safety warnings involving rapes, robberies or druggings.
The new safety measure, which was announced on Tuesday, comes months after a Free Press investigation found that sexual assaults are a long-standing and unchecked problem in Jamaica and that several resorts have tried to cover it up. Multiple victims spoke to the paper about confidentiality agreements and payoffs by resorts, and reported their assaults on TripAdvisor — though the negative reviews were buried deep on the website and difficult to find.
Jamaica resorts covered up sexual assaults, silenced victims for years
Resorts in Jamaica are facing a 'historic' sexual assault problem
That won't be the case anymore, says TripAdvisor, noting it did some digging of its own after the Free Press investigation and made an alarming discovery: In the last year alone, TripAdvisor found 1,100 reviews that referenced sexual assault claims by travelers worldwide.
“When your article hit, we started re-evaluating our policies," said TripAdvisor spokesman Brian Hoyt, noting the 1,100 reviews citing sexual assault raised eyebrows. "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."
Hoyt added: "Your article is a case study for why we are doing what we are doing."
The Free Press investigation also triggered an island-wide security audit of resorts in Jamaica, which is expected to be completed in June.
Victim speaks out
For two Detroit women whose sexual assaults in Jamaica triggered the newspaper's investigation, TripAdvisor's changes bring comfort —but not closure.
"It makes me feel good that something is being done about it. I just wish it could have been done before this situation," said one of the victims, 33, who spent six months in therapy after being raped at gunpoint by an employee at the Hotel Riu Reggae in Montego Bay last September.
This is the part that she really wants to get out — that she was raped in a five-star resort, the one place she believed she was safe.
"Be on the lookout," the woman warns other travelers. "(Crime) isn't just outside your resort. it's actually at your resort, where you feel the most comfortable."
The woman had gone to Jamaica to celebrate her birthday when on Sept. 27, at 11:15 p.m., a gunman crawled up the balcony outside her second-floor room, barged into the room and raped her and her friend. The nightmare lasted for about 15 minutes until the women got hold of the gun and shot the attacker twice before he jumped off the balcony and fled.
The suspect, who was wanted for a string of nearby rapes, was arrested, charged and pleaded guilty. He will be sentenced next month.
For his victims, life has never been the same. The Detroit mother who shot him just returned to work last month. She is still afraid of the dark, of being alone and of having doors open. She has relived the nightmare daily. The first months were the worst.
"It was rough. I had nightmares. I'd get up. And I would have night-sweats," said the woman, noting her fear and anxiety started to rub off on her 3-year-old. "She said, 'Mom, you don't have to be scared. It's okay.' "
The rapes of the Detroit women are now documented on TripAdvisor, detailed in several reviews posted by visitors who were at the same resort that night and heard the gunshots. When you click on Hotel Riu Reggae now, the safety filter shows up. The reviews citing the rapes are there.
The Detroit victim takes some comfort knowing that her ordeal shined light on the sexual violence that continues to harm women travelers, and brought about change.
"I guess I was used by God," she said. "It has to stop at some point, with somebody."
Petition demands change, gains support
Also facilitating change at TripAdvisor is the mounting public pressure over its review platform illustrated by a Change.org petition this week, demanding it make sexual assault warnings more visible to users on its website.
An estimated 500,000 people signed the petition on behalf of a woman named Kay, who said she was raped last October in the Horn of Africa by a tour guide who came with stellar reviews on TripAdvisor. The suspect has since been arrested and charged, and is awaiting trial.
After the attack, Kay tried to warn future tourists by leaving a review on the tour guide's TripAdvisor business page. But her reviews were deleted, she said, and her emails to TripAdvisor received no response for three weeks.
A petition drive followed.
"The world’s largest travel site shouldn’t recommend women hire rapists for their next vacation," Change.org said in a statement. "TripAdvisor needs to know that Kay isn’t giving up until they make meaningful changes."
TripAdvisor does not recommend or rank businesses; all of that is done by users who visit the site.
On Wednesday, Change.org officials tried to deliver Kay's signatures to TripAdvisor's office in New York, but the company refused to accept the signatures, said Juliana Britto Schwartz, an associate campaign director with Change.org.
"No one would come down," said Schwartz, who believes TripAdvisor has "some trust to rebuild with users."
Specifically, Schwartz said that TripAdvisor needs to come up with a way for sexual assault victims to anonymously report their attacks to the travel site, whether it be through a hotline, support center or staffer who talks directly to sexual assault victims. Currently, TripAdvisor only accepts first-person reviews, which critics believe scares some victims away from reporting their crimes.
In Kay's case, Schwartz said, her friends posted reviews about the alleged rape, but TripAdvisor removed them because they were secondhand. Kay's review was flagged because it was anonymous, and it took her three weeks to reach someone at TripAdvisor for help.
"There just isn’t a process and it shouldn’t take this long, " said Schwartz, who commended TripAdvisor for making some changes, but said more are needed.
"There's a piece that is missing," Schwartz said. "If survivors are dis-incentivized from reporting, then information isn’t out there for users who are trying to learn about safety while planning a trip."
TripAdvisor said it has offered to help Kay get her story out.
“We offered Kay to write a review, she turned it down," said Hoyt, TripAdvisor's spokesperson.
According to Hoyt, TripAdvisor took down Kay's first review because it was not written in the first-person, but rather in the third-person. Company policy requires that if people want to write reviews, good or bad, they have to be firsthand experiences, not someone else saying they heard "this or that'' happened to someone on vacation: that amounts to hearsay.
According to Hoyt, Kay is concerned about anonymity, though TripAdvisor has tried to accommodate those concerns, he said.
"We offered to help her set up a second anonymous profile where she could leave a nondescript review of what happened to her, and she refused that as well," Hoyt said. "We've given her multiple opportunities to write. ... If Kay wants to write a review of what happened to her, we'd let her. She has chosen not to do that."
According to Hoyt, Kay wants TripAdvisor to pull the business listing of the person she says raped her. But the company won't do that, he said, because it has a policy to list every tourism business, good or bad, and make travelers aware of what's out there.
"We have a lot of businesses that are poorly reviewed on TripAdvisor and they would love to get pulled. But we have a policy that every business that's open be listed," Hoyt said. "If we pulled bad businesses off the site, it would enable them to operate in the shadows without any transparency."
Related: Jamaica audits resorts in wake of sexual assault scandal
New Jamaica travel alert
The Free Press investigation into tourist sexual assaults started out as a crime story about two Detroit women who said they were raped at gunpoint at a Jamaican resort last fall, but weren't believed by resort staff and police. The gunman was caught and charged — he was wanted for multiple rapes in a nearby parish — though police initially painted the case as a sex-romp gone wrong. Jamaican tourism and police officials also maintained it was an isolated incident and that sexual assaults rarely happen there.
State Department data told a different story: From 2011-17, 78 Americans reported being raped in Jamaica — that's roughly one U.S. citizen raped a month. The victims include a Michigan woman who said she was gang raped by three resort lifeguards, her teenage friend who said she lost her virginity to a resort rapist, a Georgia mother who said she was sexually assaulted in the water by a resort employee and an au pair who said she was drugged and raped at a resort.
The State Department also has issued numerous travel alerts warning tourists about Jamaica, the most recent one in April, which states: "Exercise increased caution in Jamaica due to crime. ... Sexual assaults occur frequently, including at all-inclusive resorts."
But the details of the assaults inside the gated resorts were hard to come by. The State Department wouldn’t release specifics. Jamaican police and tourism officials were evasive.
So the Free Press spent weeks digging through U.S. court dockets and tens of thousands of reviews on TripAdvisor, where it plugged in search terms like “rape,” “assault,” and “sexual assault” to see whether any hotel or resort had been flagged for such crimes.
Though hard to find, the stories were there. Buried within the mountain of reviews, here is some of what we found:
An 18-year-old au pair vacationing in Jamaica with a West Virginia family said she was drugged and raped at the Sandals-owned Beaches Negril Resort and Spa on July 4, and the resort did nothing to help her. “This resort is not a safe place for women and children,” she wrote in a lengthy TripAdvisor review before talking to the Free Press.
The West Virginia mother also took to Trip Advisor to vent and warn others about what happened to her au pair, writing: "My 18-year-old (au pair) was given a drink directly from the bartender at Club Liquid. It was drugged. She was then taken to a bathroom by another 'guest' and raped. CHOKED. SCRATCHED and RAPED." The woman ended up removing the review after receiving notification from TripAdvisor that it had been “flagged” by another user. A Sandals payout followed: the woman and her husband received $25,000 in exchange for them signing a nondisclosure agreement , promising not to ever discuss the incident or post about it on social media.
An Atlanta mother who went to Montego Bay to celebrate her 50th birthday said she was sexually assaulted while in the ocean by a Sunscape Splash resort employee. “The water was up to my neck. I was very nervous so he kept telling me to relax … he began touching me very inappropriately, even though I said "no" he continued,” she wrote in her TripAdvisor review. She said the resort staff manipulated her into not pressing charges, warning her the criminal process would be lengthy and expensive, and convincing her to "go home and forget about it." Sunscape Splash did not respond to requests for comment, though the company responded to the Georgia woman’s review on TripAdvisor, stating: "The safety of our guests is always our top priority ... Please reach out .... for me to better address your specific concerns."
A Kansas City woman who said she was sexually assaulted during a sailing excursion by a Sandals Ochi Beach Resort employee in October 2017. She alleges the resort rushed her into signing a nondisclosure agreement in exchange for a $4,500 trip. "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.' "
A North Carolina couple whose honeymoon was ruined after a Sandals resort dancer named 'Showtime' allegedly sexually assaulted the wife on the dance floor, putting his hand up her dress, grabbing her genitalia and then forcing her hand on his private part to show his arousal. Sandals gave them a replacement, seven-night trip "as a goodwill gesture" and a complimentary couple's massage. In return, the couple signed legal forms releasing Sandals from any liability.
A woman in Minnesota wrote that she was sexually assaulted by a hotel employee at an unnamed all-inclusive hotel, but that her attacker was fired after she reported the incident. "I called the U.S. Embassy and they took my matter seriously. I had a bit of victim blaming by locals but am glad I reported it nonetheless," the woman wrote in a Nov. 1 TripAdvisor review. "I recommend caution even inside resorts — and do not ever walk around alone."
In the spring of 2014, a British mother claimed the management at Beaches Negril failed to call the police about the attempted rape of her 18-year-old daughter during a wedding trip. The suspect was a Sandals employee, but management allegedly told her, "Our hands were tied. Your daughter didn't want anyone to know." The mother demanded accountability. But after months of phone calls and emails to Sandals, the woman said Sandals offered her family three nights free accommodation at their resorts, but with a confidentiality clause. She called Sandals "despicable." Three weeks later, the Breathless resort responded: "It is both concerning and alarming to read the details of your experience which is not reflective of the kind of experience we aim to and are known to provide valued guests such as you." The outcome of that case is not known. Breathless did not respond to requests for comment.
In 2016, a Canadian traveler wrote that an entertainer who worked at the Grand Bahia Principe resort in Jamaica sexually assaulted her during a family trip in 2016. But the resort worker kept his job despite her complaint, she wrote on TripAdvisor, stating the resort "did absolutely nothing about this incident" and did not return her calls after she returned home. Grand Bahia Principe responded to the allegation on TripAdvisor, stating in 2016: "We're surprised and concerned by your comments you have reported. We do sincerely apologize for any issues in your vacation and we will be sure to forward your concerns to our management team to investigate this matter." Grand Bahia Principe did not return calls seeking comment.
TripAdvisor not new to controversy Safety and Security matter most
TripAdvisor has long maintained that it is a transparent, informational travel platform that for decades has helped people plan vacations using others' reviews — good and bad. However, it caters to travelers and businesses alike: Travelers can post negative reviews, and businesses are encouraged to respond.
The review platform, however, has triggered much controversy in recent years.
In 2017, TripAdvisor apologized to a Texas woman for deleting her review that detailed her rape by a security guard at a Mexican resort. TripAdvisor said the review was removed because it contained graphic language that violated community standards, but that it has since been reloaded on the website and that no reviews alleging sexual assault have been taken down.
TripAdvisor's apology followed a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel investigation that revealed how TripAdvisor had deleted reviews from travelers reporting alcohol-related blackouts, rapes, injuries and deaths while vacationing at resorts in Mexico.
TripAdvisor has maintained that it did not delete any actual first-person reviews, but rather only took down comments that were posted in forums for violating various community standards that no longer exist.
"We understand that traveler needs and safety concerns will continue to evolve, and our platform will, too," said TripAdvisor President Lindsay Nelson. "We also recognize that we won’t always get it right, but we will continue to ask for feedback from our community and make changes as we go."
Nelson said informing travelers about safety issues is a top priority for TripAdvisor, citing a recent industry study that found 67 percent of travelers say a destination's "safety and security" matter most.
“The need for better access to safety information while traveling has never been greater,” Nelson said.“For many women, members of the LGBTQ community and persons with accessibility needs — obtaining information on travel safety can be a matter of life and death.”
I started another thread for the article because I want to make sure everyone sees it. It’s despicable that this is happening and that there’s a massive coverup.