Blame the victim
When I saw this on the front page of my morning paper today, I almost tossed my granola.
In a statement of claim, the 25-year-old Ottawa woman says university officials were negligent by failing to take adequate security measures, including equipping laboratory buildings with such security devices as swipe cards and ensuring that door and tunnel entrances to the building were visibly monitored by security cameras.
But in a statement of defence, the university alleges the victim was herself negligent by failing to keep a "proper lookout" for her own safety and failing to register with Department of University Safety as a student working late.
The university alleges the science student chose to remain on the premises alone and chose not to lock the door to the laboratory in which she was working. She knew, or ought to have known, the steps she could take to notify the safety department of her intention to work late on her own, the Ottawa university says.
"She failed to take appropriate or any action for her own safety," says the statement of defence.
The woman is seeking $525,000 in damages for injuries she suffered in the Aug. 31, 2007 attack as well as mental suffering and psychological harm, out-of-pocket expenses and the future loss of income.
According to the victim's statement of claim, her physical injuries included three fractures to her jaw, a fractured cheekbone, broken tooth, bruising to her neck and chest and a black eye. She has also sought counselling to cope with the psychological harm from the sexual assault, but still experiences "intense anxiety," according to her statement of claim.
The fact that the university has since spent $1.6 million upgrading its security systems is very telling.
Was she taking a risk by working alone late at night? Of course.
Pay up, Carleton.
H/t to friend Pete Blais.