For anyone travelling alone, especially in a foreign country, this seems like a basic lesson in personal safety. Please don’t get me wrong. What I am about to say is not equivalent to advocating that anybody be sexually assaulted, ever. What I am saying is that each and every person is responsible for their own personal safety and that ultimately, having done everything they could to insure their own safety, the only person they should ever look to blame is the one who assaults them.
Unfortunately, we live in a society that is looking to blame anyone and everyone, especially if we think doing so might result in a check. Take for instance the case of Alison Fournier:
Fournier, who is represented by [Gloria] Allred and the New York firm Cuti Hecker Wang LLP, is suing the company for negligence and negligent infliction of emotional distress for an amount to be determined at trial.
Fournier was traveling to Helinski for work and said that she specifically chose a Starwood hotel because of the company’s reputation.
According to a release that Allred sent out, a man approached Fournier the night of the incident, expressing a sexual interest in her. According to Allred, Fournier had made it very clear that she was not interested in him and retreated to her room to get away.
That same man, according to the suit, later went to the front desk, said that he was Fournier’s husband, and obtained a key from hotel staff to her room.
The staff did not ask him for any identification or proof that he was in fact Fournier’s husband, according to the lawsuit. He then proceeded to her room and tried to molest her. She awoke, grabbed a housecoat, and ran screaming from the room.
“To this day, I still suffer from the memories of that night and I am still not able to put it behind me,” Fournier said.
She said that, because of the incident, she left her career and moved from New York to be closer to her family.
The suit alleges that there is no indication that Starwood has taken any action to investigate the incident at Hotel Kämp or to disassociate itself from the Finnish hotel.
In a statement given to ABC News by Starwoods Hotels and Resorts, Worldwide, the company said it is investigating the incident.
After Ms. Fournier ran from her room in her housecoat, were the police called? If not, why not? If so, did the police find the hotel’s actions criminally “negligent”? What of the man? Why isn’t he named in the suit? After all, he did fraudulently obtain the key and, more importantly, allegedly climb into bed naked with Ms. Fournier.
Again, assuming that all of the facts presented above are accurate, nobody ever deserves to have anything like this happen to them. But hotels make mistakes. Unscrupulous individuals fraudulently obtain keys. This is why hotel doors have security latches, why you should never stay in a hotel that doesn’t have one, and why you should always close the latch when you are in the room. And not sue the hotel because you didn’t.