“My name is Allison Dvaladze, and I stand here today as a survivor of sexual assault.”
Dvaladze said she was groped on board a Delta flight to Amsterdam in April of 2016.
“I just think that nobody knew what to do," she said. "There wasn't a good protocol for how to respond to it.”
Reports of in-flight sexual assault are growing, and many more go unreported. Washington Sen. Patty Murray is pushing to change that.
“If someone breaks the law, we want to be sure survivors have the support and guidance they need to seek justice,” Murray said.
Murray has introduced the Stop Assault while Flying Enforcement, or SAFE, act. The National In-Flight Sexual Assault Task Force provides clarity for survivors seeking to report their attacks and requires training for airline workers and better data collection of incidents.
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Reflecting on her own experience, Dvaladze said, “In addition to training for crew, it's essential that airlines train all their staff so that if one of these incidents is reported, after a flight, it’s not treated as if it is lost luggage.”
Sea-Tac Airport will post signs informing visitors how to report sexual assaults and human trafficking.
Alaska Airlines has put a reporting app on the company smartphones that employees carry.
Terry Taylor is a 45-year Alaska Air veteran. She leads the flight attendants union.
“I think we're moving forward. I think there's recognition that it's simply not OK. Our company will absolutely support us if anyone bothers us.”
Taylor said her daughter, also an Alaska Air flight attendant, has already used the app to help a passenger report a sexual assault.