In the Blog

When are rape victims ever “asking for it?”

August 26th, 2009     by Andrea Hoang     Comments

I thought the answer was “never.”

But a hotel chain and a Canadian university seem to think otherwise.

A woman who was raped in front of her children in the parking garage of a Connecticut Marriott is being called “careless and negligent” in her own rape after filing a lawsuit against the hotel.

Despite being held at gunpoint, and having her children threatened if she didn’t comply with her attacker, the firm that manages the hotel chain said the woman “failed to exercise due care for her own safety and the safety of her children.”

Earlier in the month , a female student at Carlton University in Ottawa was assaulted after leaving a chemistry lab at night. She is now suing the school for more than half a million dollars.

The school claims that the student was negligent in her safety, and didn’t keep a good lookout for danger. Carlton officials also defended its stance by adding that the woman did not register with the school’s safety department and failed to lock the door after her professor had left the room.

It is frightening to know that a victim of rape and assault can be considered at fault for her own attack, and that these alarming notions are recognized in court. In the Marriott case, the perpetrator confessed immediately, so it wasn’t a question of whether or not the attack occurred. Still, the hotel chose to shift the blame onto the victim.

Hopefully a judge will see through these disturbing defences, but stories like this are what may one day cause another woman to hesitate before reporting abuse.

Tags: body politics

« Sew-a-go-go

Never thought I’d say this but… »