Student and sex-assault support groups have condemned a lawsuit defence used by Carleton University that alleges an assault victim was partly to blame for an attack on her.
The Carleton University Students’ and Graduate Students’ associations, the Student Federation of the University of Ottawa, the Graduate Students’ Association and the Sexual Assault Support Centre of Ottawa have condemned Carleton’s assertion that a 25-year-old female victim was negligent with her safety.
In September 2007, a woman was brutally assaulted while working in Carleton’s Steacy Building. No suspect was ever arrested. The woman is suing Carleton University for $535,000 to compensate for physical and emotional injuries.
On Friday, it was reported that Carleton is fighting the lawsuit and suggesting that the woman did not take the necessary steps to protect herself because she failed to register with the security department and did not lock the door after the professor departed.
“It is ludicrous to suggest that this assault was in any way caused by the actions of the victim herself,” said Erik Halliwell, president of the Carleton University Students’ Association.
“The institution has a responsibility to ensure that Carleton students have a safe environment in which to learn and work.”