How to Recover From a Sexual Assault | Flight blog

The following is excerpted from Flight — my new blog about recovering from gender-related violence, wellness, and finding your way back to joyful living.


This past December, I decided to tackle my insomnia with a fresh approach.

Sleepless nights have plagued me, off and on, at least since I was pregnant with my youngest.  In the months following her birth (in 2014)—thanks in no small part to a sexual harassment situation at work that nearly shattered my mind—my battle with insomnia escalated to the point that, at its worst, led to me emerging from the bed on several mornings to meet my responsibilities (i.e.,  pumping/nursing, getting little ones ready, going to work etc.) and otherwise ‘starting’ my day after I had already been awake for 24 hours.

Mercifully, with time and changes in circumstances, my sleeplessness had waned (and waxed) since then.

But, as this most recent holiday season got underway, I found myself again unable to sleep.

 

Sleep Baby, Sleep

The thing about insomnia is this:

Sleep may elude you,

but still you are condemned to chase it.

Sleep is the dashing suitor that once whispered sweet nothings to you each night, making you believe he would never leave; the debonair prince that charmed you into bed night after night, filled your head with nonsense and dreams, and—the two of you intertwined—danced with you beneath the stars until dawn broke.

But now he has moved on.

And, you are lovesick. Desperate . . .  Returning each night to the scene of the crime—the bed you once shared; haunted by the memories of what you lost; surrounded in your loneliest hours by only the peaceful sounds of those whose company he still keeps.

Yes, sleep may be done with you, but you still need sleep.

So night after night, you keep your solitary vigil.  And, morning after morning, there you remain: tragically and perpetually sleepy.

This was the space in which I lived.

Continue reading @ Flight.video.blog

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Airbnb lawsuit raises question of duty to warn of host’s arrest record

airbnb lawsuit

On this blog, we previously considered whether an Airbnb host could face liability for an assault committed by another person. Now, the company itself, an Airbnb lawsuit raises the question of whether the company may be liable for the sexual assault of a guest – allegedly committed by an Airbnb host himself.

Airbnb is a popular peer-to-peer online platform, through which travelers around the world can lease out or stay in others’ homes.  For each transaction on its platform, Airbnb retains a percentage as its fee.

In what the Guardian describes as “a first-of-its-kind” lawsuit, a guest sued Airbnb this week alleging that she was sexually assaulted by her host after renting a room through the online service.

The crux of the complaint is that Airbnb wrongfully permitted the host to list property on Airbnb’s site in light of a previous arrest (involving domestic violence).

Knowledge of this prior arrest would, the lawsuit claims, have been available to Airbnb through the background checks conducted.

And, presumably, if disclosed, this information would have prevented the plaintiff from leasing the room.

This most recent Airbnb lawsuit raises basic questions of duty under premises liability actions, only this time applied to a new world.

Airbnb admits that it conducted a background check on the host in question—but claimed that the company did not bar the host from listing his property on Airbnb because he had never actually been convicted of the alleged crime.

There can be little doubt that the question of what weight an arrest alone should carry generally in our society is a legitimate one.

But this particular case raises the question of whether Airbnb can reasonably be said to have induced reliance based on the company’s assurances (implied or express) of safety:

Teresa Li, Lapayowker’s attorney, argued that Airbnb misleads users with branding that emphasizes the safety of the platform and calling it a “trusted community marketplace”.

They lure you in and give you this false sense of security” she said.

Distilled to its essence, the question becomes did Airbnb have an affirmative duty to warn (whether as a matter of policy or foreseeability) of prior events that were revealed to the company through its background checks?

Or, from another angle, does Airbnb become a virtual landowner by listing and making properties available through its platform, sufficient to give rise to a duty to warn of associated dangers?

This question of whether Airbnb had a duty to pass on information of which the company had superior knowledge should most certainly be left for a jury to decide.

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Can you get sued if someone is raped in your Airbnb listed space?

Airbnb, the popular space-sharing site, is a fantastic way to visit far away places and host others in your community and home. 

But bad things can happen too.  What if something unseemly, violent, or harmful happens in your airbnb space when you’re not even there — can you be held legally responsible? 

The short answer is maybe.

If you list your space on Airbnb or other site and make it available to guests for a charge, you have a duty to protect them from certain dangers — in particular, dangers that they might not perceive for themselves.

In other words, you are not responsible for ensuring the absolute safety of the people you host (by providing a bodyguard, fitting them for protective armor, or enrolling them in self-defense courses).  The law does not expect you to be an insurer of their safety.

So, if, unbeknownst to you, your guests decide to host a frat party on your space, and someone is sexually assaulted, raped, or some other crime is committed, then no, it is not likely you could be held legally responsible (unless, of course, you had reason to believe or suspect it was going to happen and did nothing to prevent it).

However, under the law you are responsible for taking reasonable precautions and warning your guests of dangers of which they might not be aware.

For instance, if you know that there is an escaped convict on the loose and that there has been a string of violent break-ins and instances of rape in the neighborhood, then you must, at minimum, warn your guests so they know to be extra careful.  If you say nothing, and your guest falls victim, then you may be held legally responsible.

The responsibility to protect your guests comes from knowing about a risk of danger that goes above and beyond the general risk of living in this world.

pexels-photo-25349

So, you don’t need to warn of general dangers like watching for cars when crossing the street, or being careful with knives when slicing tomatoes.  But you do need to warn of risks that would not be as apparent to them — and of which you know about because you live there.

It’s all about the dangers that you know about — and that your guests don’t.

The basis for legal liability in these types of situations is the host’s ‘superior knowledge’ of a dangerous condition; whether violent criminals on the loose, vicious animals, a higher incidence of crime in the neighborhood, a rash of car break-ins, or a series of armed home break-ins.
If you know of a danger in your space or neighborhood that should warrant your guests taking extra safety precautions, then under the law you have a duty to warn them.
And if you don’t, and something bad happens, it could lead to a lawsuit.
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Thousands of rape kits have been sitting, untested.

Is yours one of them?

In 2015 it was discovered that thousands of rape kits have been sitting in law enforcement offices and medical facilities in Georgia, untouched for decades. We are now finding out that the numbers may be bigger than we even imagined.

This means thousands of women who have been waiting for justice, have been doing so in vain.

It is time to hold these entities accountable.

If you know or suspect that your rape kit sat untested, including rape kits submitted to Grady Memorial Hospital after 1999, talk to us.

We offer a free consultation.

Call / text message (404) 549-5415

No time to call? Prefer we email you? We understand. Fill out the form, we’ll email you to set up a time to chat, Skype, text, or meet. Whichever you prefer.

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with Blain LLC or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship.

Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.

 Blain LLC
3333 Piedmont Road, Ste. 2050
Atlanta, Georgia 30305

info@blainfirm.com | 404.549.5415

 

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H.R. 1199 proposes giving alleged victims constitutional rights too.

Georgia House Resolution 1199 introduced by Representatives Parsons, Willard, Fludd, Kaiser, and Pak seeks to level the playing field by affording victims constitutional rights.

The victim’s constitutional rights would include:

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