Rape isn’t an easy thing to discuss, but it is something that you need to be aware of. You need to learn how to protect yourself and how to avoid situations that may put you in danger. There are also things that property owners should be aware of. A new precedent has been set regarding who is responsible for rape in public places. A case in Boston serves as an example of this precedent where rape victim, Kira Wahlstrom has been awarded $4 million by a jury in Massachusetts, when she filed against the owners of a hotel parking garage.
Ms. Whalstrom’s attack occurred only 12 days after another victim was attacked by a homeless man, Jose Ruben Rivera III, the same man that assaulted Ms. Whalstrom. Even though the property owners hired additional security after the first rape, the guard was nowhere near the parking garage where the attacks occurred and therefore could not assist the victim. This fact led the jury to find the property owners culpable in the attack that Ms Whalstom suffered.
The award in this lawsuit is the largest in history and with interest it amounts to $6.6 million. This lawsuit in particular illustrates the responsibility property owners have in protecting you when you are on their property. This decision will set a precedent, making property owners take an active role to protect patrons on their property.
Dark premises are problematic as they provide hiding places for perpetrators. Parking garages are especially dangerous public places as noted in a statistical analysis compiled by RAINN. Below are some of the statistics:
- 7% of rapes occur in a school setting
- 13% of rapes occur in a familiar setting, such as the victims home, a neighbor’s, a relative’s or friend’s home.
- 18% of rapes occur in public places such as parking garages, parks and commercial venues.
- 43% of rapes occur between the hours of 6:00pm and midnight.
- 24% of rapes occur between the hours of midnight and 6:00am.
These statistics show that you must be on your guard when walking through dark premises, parking garages and other public places. If you find yourself in the horrific position of being a rape victim, and the incident occurred in a public place that was a dark premises, you may be able to seek reparations from the property owners with the aid of qualified attorneys who can help you file a lawsuit.
Property owners need to take basic measures such as adding bright lights and extra security to prevent the rapists from targeting victims in that space. By neglecting to do such basic tasks, property owners are negligent in protecting victims and should be held accountable.
Filing a Lawsuit
Although the process of a trial can be hard on you as a rape victim, these lawsuits are important as their outcome helps create change. These changes have long lasting effects that make properties safer so others don’t become victims. Additionally, rape victims understand how devastating suffering the offense is and their voices can make a big difference in future safety laws. As other property owners view the outcome of the trial, and see that juries are finding property owners responsible for the safety of those that are on their property, more will become proactive, taking measures to prevent rape.