Skip to main site content.
Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Victim blaming

College says rape victim is partly responsible because she had been drinking

By WITW Staff on June 7, 2016

A Massachusetts college is blaming a student who was raped during a study abroad trip for engaging in “risky behavior” that led to the crime, including drinking and following a security guard at her university-leased apartment onto a dark rooftop. The allegations were made in court documents filed by attorneys for Worcester Polytechnic University, which the victim is suing for failing to provide a safe environment for students. The student was completing a research project in Puerto Rico in 2012, staying in apartments leased by WPI in San Juan, when she went with the building’s security guard onto the roof and was raped by him. The suit accused WPI of failing to complete background checks on security guards at the building.

The victim, identified only as Jane Doe in the suit, testified in a deposition that she had one drink with three to four shots in it before the incident occurred. Attorneys asked Doe whether she had been taught “don’t take candy from strangers,” or how to protect herself from sexual assault, and whether she thought it was “risky behavior” to go to the roof with the security guard. In the court documents filed by WPI, attorneys said Doe disregarded information and training provided by WPI as well as common sense and therefore failed to protect herself from harm. The woman’s lawyers have fired back at the move, saying the school is doing nothing more than harassing, intimidating, and re-victimizing her.

Read the full story at The Boston Globe.


Stanford sexual assault offender Brock Turner’s mug shot finally released

Victim’s and father’s statements in campus sexual assault case draw strong reactions online

“The only thing that causes rape is rapists.” Solving the problem of sexual assault on campus