Allison Dvaladze, the woman who launched a campaign to draw attention to in-flight sexual assaults after a man groped her, is now suing Delta Air Lines. She says the flight crew’s response to the assault was inadequate and negligent. https://t.co/q2vxXZryuX pic.twitter.com/qfe8x8ZsuF— The Seattle Times (@seattletimes) February 28, 2018
A woman who was allegedly assaulted on a Delta Air Lines flight was purportedly told to let the incident “roll off” her back.
Allison Dvaladze said she woke up during an overnight flight to find a man squeezing her crotch and leaning on top of her as she tried to get out of her aisle seat. According to the Brainerd Dispatch, she ran to ask flight attendants for help but was simply told that assaults of that nature are common.
It’s been nearly two years since the incident, but Dvaladze is still seeking justice. She sued Delta in federal court on Tuesday as she would not settle for the frequent flier miles she was offered from the company for the inconvenience of the assault she endured.
Dvaladze was headed to Amsterdam and then East Africa back in April 2016. She was going to do humanitarian work, helping run a breast cancer program for developing countries.
Just a few hours into the long flight, Dvaladze fell asleep, and at some point, she awoke to discover the man seated next to her with his hand between her legs.
"It was confusing at first," Dvaladze told PBS. "I hit his hand and yelled, 'No.'"
The man ignored her rejection and grabbed her again.
She reportedly knocked his hand away again and shouted, “No,” attempting to block him from going at her a third time. However, he overpowered her by leaning on her with his body.
After managing to unbuckle her seatbelt, she ran to report the assault to the flight crew.
"I couldn't breathe," she told PBS. "I couldn't explain right away what had happened."
Once she was finally able to tell what happened, one attendant told her, “Let it roll off your back.”
Dvaladze's lawsuit claims the crew told her that her experience would be more concerning if she was a child, but in-flight gropings occurred often.
They then vowed to look into the situation and found a male passenger to trade seats with her so that she wouldn’t have to return to sit next to her attacker.
However, Dvaladze lawsuit states that before landing in Amsterdam, a flight attendant told her to go back to her original seat because the man she traded with wanted his seat back so he could exit the plane faster.
When she refused, the crew found yet another passenger willing to switch with her, allowing the first man to get his seat back.
Upon landing, there were no police or authorities waiting at the gate.
“... the man who had assaulted her walked off the plane as if nothing had happened," The Seattle Times reported.
Adding insult to injury, Delta still has not revealed the man’s name so he can be brought to justice for the assault.
After being given the runaround for weeks and told the airline had no record of her assault, Dvaladze received an email stating, “I know it's not fair when one person's behavior affects another person" and offering a “goodwill gesture” of 10,000 frequent flier miles.
She is suing for an unspecified amount in damages for gross negligence leading to injury, medical bills, physical and emotional pain, and humiliation.
Other law enforcement agencies also tried to step in and investigate Dvaladze’s claims but were also unable to obtain the attacker’s name.
While we don't know how much Dvaladze's is suing for, we hope she gets every penny. If the allegations are true, then the airline completely mishandled her situation. Furthermore, the fact that these incidents happen often is no reason to excuse them. Whether it happens 100 times or only once, it should be treated seriously, and the airline should be taking strides to reduce it instead of condoning it.
Thumbnail/Banner Credits: REUTERS/Edgard Garrido