Canadian travellers are being warned of a number of sexually assault incidents that have taken place at various resorts in the Dominican Republic.
The Government of Canada's Global Affairs department issued a special travel advisory earlier this year for women in particular, saying that it has received reports of "assault, rape, and sexual aggression against foreigners" involving hotel employees.
CBC's investigative team Go Public found a slew of complaints on Trip Advisor regarding the lack of security measures in place at the resorts to ensure the safety of travellers. One woman named Christine Dayman from Toronto told CBC that she was pinned against a wall and raped by a hotel worker at a well known resort in Punta Cana. The incident happened on March 16, 2018 as she was walking back to her room.
"He pounced on me. I was in such shock . . . I couldn't process what was going on," she said.
Dayman reported the incident to hotel staff, but says they did not offer any assistance to her whatsoever. They didn't notify the police or offer medical assistance — all they offered her was a later check-out time, as she was leaving on that same day.
Loretta Merritt, Dayman's lawyer, says there have been six other women in the past 18 months who complained about being sexual assaulted at other resorts in the area, most often by a hotel employee. Such complaints were issued despite the hotel chain's statement that it "does not tolerate any forms of inappropriate behaviour" and "sexual assault by hotel employees is unequivocally unacceptable.
The Government of Canada advises that any Canadians who fall victim to sexual assault while in the Dominican Republic should report the incident to the nearest Canadian consulate or embassy and to file a report with the local authorities.
It should be noted that the travel advisory has not changed or been updated since May 1; however, the warning is listed as "Still Valid" on the Government of Canada website.
Read the Government of Canada's full section on women's safety while travelling in the Dominican Republic here.