After a woman was raped at gunpoint in front of her children at a Connecticut Marriott, she decided to sue the hotel where she was staying for not properly securing their grounds. The hotel promptly responded with this remark:
[The victim] failed to exercise due care for her own safety and the safety of her children and proper use of her senses and facilities.
This is just the sort of thing that should be intolerable. The hotel’s actual responsibility in the matter is not what is appalling, instead it is the way they reacted to it and the completely thoughtless way they blamed the victim for what happened to her. It was never appropriate for them to issue such a statement, whether they were trying to “save face” or not. The alternative, issuing an apology statement and agreeing to increase their security on their premises, would have been sufficient, though I guess in this case they were only seeing the dollar signs they would lose. It’s hurtful and ignorant. What were they thinking? Wasn’t there someone sitting around saying – hey, maybe this isn’t a good idea? Apparently not. Despite all of the information we put out there, despite the many times we have said it’s never appropriate to blame the victim, instances like this still happen. To add insult to injury, the hotel also disclosed the woman’s identity by issuing subpoenas to family, acquaintances and coworkers.
The attorney for the woman also said:
Under the facts of this case, blaming the victim is without any justification whatsoever. It never had any place in this litigation and it has re-traumatized the victim.
Once again, I ask, is it ever appropriate? The only perpetrator in this crime is the rapist. He is totally and completely to blame for the horrific crime he committed against this woman and her family.
So what can we learn from all of this? That our work is never done. It’s still just as important to raise awareness about the dangers and ignorance associated with blaming the victim. This is obviously something that needs to be focused on more. Victim blaming should never be seen as a valid defense, in any crime.