Savannah Dietrich; the Victim with a voice

July 26, 2012 6:00 pm

Awww! Those poor boys who sexually assaulted an unconscious girl at a party and then posted images of the assault on the internet have had their names publicly released? What a shame? How unfair! They made her life a misery living in shame and humiliation, but our hearts go out to them.

I think not.

Yet it is Savannah Dietrich from Kentucky who has a trial date on the 30th of July, the girl who suffered the trauma of a rape and felt let down by the justice system, who is now facing jail after tweeting the names of her attackers. Now of course for legal reasons identities are protected which is a fair and safe law that I cannot argue with. However it was unfortunately no surprise to me that these boys were getting a slap on the wrist for their disgusting assault; they sexually abused the 17 year girl who was unconscious at a party, and images of the event ‘somehow’ found themselves online. Disgrace, humiliation and fear filled that girl while the boys continued to enjoy themselves.

Anyone who honestly thinks ‘she was asking for it’, (i.e, from the way she was dressed or any flirtatious behaviour) needs to sit down and re-think their position. No female (or male) wants to be raped; no one asks for it, ever. Generally girls dress up to out-impress other girls and boys are easily impressed anyway. And certainly having passed out from alcohol surely gives the hint that it must be wrong? I would even like to address the excuse that ‘they (the boys) are 17, and they were drunk?’. Were they drunk for the following months?; could they not have woken up the next day and thought, “we should really take those pictures down now guys?

It seems rape is just one of those topics that in the court rooms (if the case even manages to get that far) of both England and America is so easily dismissed. Unless you are someone with a criminal background there is a very small chance of imprisonment. One good character reference should get you off the hook, especially if you are young. After all, it’s hardly fair to give an intelligent young man a criminal record because a poor little girl feels abused, besides she was probably ‘asking for it’ right? It doesn’t seem to matter that the poor little girl is going to be frightened for the rest of her life, have trust and trauma issues and deal with the shame and humiliation around those who knew her. It is curious as to why in these cases it appears to be the victim who is full of embarrassment; why does society often blame the victim? Why does she deserve a night of horror with no repercussions for the attacker?

Well Savannah Dietrich wanted to take a stand that the court room didn’t, she posted the two boys names on twitter and also tweeted “they said I can’t talk about it or I’ll be locked up. ….Protect rapist is more important than getting justice for the victim in Louisville.”She wants the case to be publically open, unlike the boys who obviously want it closed. She did not have that option when finding the pictures across the internet. Therefore,

Savannah Dietrich

should they be shown the protection they didn’t reciprocate in the first place? She spoke with written permission from her parents to The Courier-Journal and said “I’m at the point, that if I have to go to jail for my rights, I will do it,” and fairly continues “If they really feel it’s necessary to throw me in jail for talking about what happened to me … as opposed to throwing these boys in jail for what they did to me, then I don’t understand justice.” And neither do I. Her attorneys are arguing the first amendment right (basically the freedom of speech). I understand it was wrong of her to violate the confidentiality of a juvenile hearing, but despite the boys pleading guilty, in her eyes they have been dealt with too lenient so far. Perhaps if her case is open and she can get the public on her side the courts will take a more serious approach and disciplinary action.

Savannah Dietrich has been very brave in making the case, on her part at least, more public. The usual reaction as stated is unfairly embarrassment and shame, and it is a bold move being willing to go to jail in order to get some sort of justice. She clearly feels very strongly about what happened and it is a disgrace that these boys can get away with such a brutal and sickening act so easily. The legal system should provide victims with a sense of justice and safety and she has received neither, so what are they doing? Just going through the motions? I understand that the boys are young but that is never an excuse for any crime and they should get the punishment they deserve. I don’t know all the facts but even the name releases are not a patch of shame of what she had to go through. I think she has also been inspirational for those girls who have gone through a similar experience to realise they can be strong too. But I am glad that this young girl has boldly managed to turn her ridicule onto them, and I hope that this case going as public as it can will result in fair punishment for the boys and perhaps for future cases. But here’s hoping, I think it will still be a long time before a change like that happens.

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  • Chris Robinson

    Is it any wonder a lot of rape victims baulk at the prospect of even reporting such a crime? and in court, the defendants’ lawyers always do their best to smear the victim’s character.

  • Charlie Willcock

    No it’s not a surprise, but it is unfair that society deem it so
    shameful to be a victim rather than catch and punish the offender.

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