Supporting merchant seafarers who have experienced sexual harassment or sexual assault
If you have been assaulted or raped
Keep a record of what happened and when. This may be very painful, but it could prove invaluable if you decide to press charges, or ask your company to take disciplinary action.
A crime has been committed against you and you should be able to report this both to the company and to the police. In reality you may be in a country where this isn’t possible, and it may not be safe for you to follow official reporting procedures on board. You are the best judge of what will be the safest course of action for you, helplines such as seafarerhelp.org can talk you through your options. Additionally, you may be able to have a confidential conversation with a volunteer or chaplain at the Mission to Seafarers, Stella Maris etc, who will be able to offer support and will probably have more of an understanding of local laws, organisations and culture.
You may find yourself thinking about events that happened years ago, and want to talk about them now, or take legal action. It is not unusual for it to take years for survivors of sexual abuse to talk about what happened. If you were alone at sea, you may have done anything that was necessary to ensure your safety and survival at that time, without even consciously realising it. If you feel you would benefit from professional help, Rape Crisis services in your home country may be a good place to start. They can advise you on legal matters and arrange counselling.