Teen rape survivor tweets names of rapists, could have faced jail time

Via Courier-Journal

A 17-year-old rape survivor in Kentucky was facing jail time after tweeting the names of her rapists, but after her story went viral yesterday the District Attorney decided not to pursue charges which would have carried a punishment of a maximum of 180 days in jail and a $500 fine.

After a plea deal was struck with her rapists, Savannah Dietrich disappointed and angered by the lenient punishment, tweeted,

“There you go, lock me up,” before tweeting their names, “I’m not protecting anyone that made my life a living Hell…They said I can’t talk about it or I’ll be locked up.  So I’m waiting for them to read this and lock me up.  F**k justice.  Protect rapist is more important than getting justice for the victim in Louisville.”

In an interview with The Courier-Journal, Dietrich spoke out about her decision to breach the confidentiality agreement:

“So many of my rights have been taken away by these boys,” said Dietrich, who waived confidentiality in her case to speak to The Courier-Journal. Her parents also gave their written permission for her to speak with the newspaper.

“I’m at the point, that if I have to go to jail for my rights, I will do it,” she said. “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.”

Dietrich’s rapists circulated pictures of the attack around their school shortly after it happened and she was horrified to the point where she was afraid to leave her house.  It seems to me that this is a very tricky situation given her attackers were minors but why shouldn’t she be able to shame them after a guilty plea in the same way they tried to shame her by taking and sharing pictures bragging about what they had done?  Why should the rapists be given a level of respect that wasn’t afforded to the victim?

Part of the aftermath of surviving sexual assault is being forced to deal with your shame alone and mostly in private.  It’s isolating because very few people seem to understand unless they’ve experienced the same thing, and it’s the swiftness with which you are expected to move on with quiet strength and dignity that can be extremely difficult at a time when you may feel you have just been robbed of both.

While the District Attorney may not want to “ruin” these young rapists lives, it’s certainly a little late to prevent life ruining.  Tell that to Dietrich, who thankfully won’t be going to jail after publicity around her story put pressure on the District Attorney to do the right thing.

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14 Comments

  1. Posted July 24, 2012 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

    Iv’e got to say that Savannah Dietrich is my hero for taking her fight for justice! even just to be open about surviving rape is so heroic, i was in tears reading this. i hate how the justice system is set up in America and in Australia.more needs to be done for survivor/victim rights!

  2. Posted July 24, 2012 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

    It seems really dumb to punish her when these boys already publicly announced they are rapists. If they shared the photos around school, then they are the ones letting everyone know they are rapists – they just didn’t use that word.
    Because when they did it, they looked like a “hero” for “sleeping” with a girl. But when this young woman controls the message and tells the truth by using the correct words to describe the situation, then there is a problem?
    These young perpetrators need to connect all of their actions to wrong doing. Not just in the act itself, but also in the sharing of the photos (the taking of the photos even!) and the bigger picture of silencing women around issues of sexuality.
    If the legal system really wanted to get it right, they would lift the gag rule on her.

  3. Posted July 24, 2012 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

    I admire her too. I’m glad to hear the DA has decided to drop this. What a double standard that would have been, the rapists posted pictures around the school in public but she’s not allowed to tweet that they’re rapists. Absolutely more needs to be done for victim/survivors rights!

  4. Posted July 24, 2012 at 8:52 pm | Permalink

    “why shouldn’t she be able to shame them after a guilty plea in the same way they tried to shame her by taking and sharing pictures bragging about what they had done?”

    Because 2 wrongs dont make a right?

  5. Posted July 24, 2012 at 11:27 pm | Permalink

    You should take an example from P.Z. Myers and name the rapists: Austin Zehnder and Will Frey.

  6. Posted July 25, 2012 at 1:03 am | Permalink

    A rape survivor being punished for being raped.
    My Brain is yet again, splattered all across the computer screen.
    Savannah is such a phenomenal woman. I salute her for her bravery!

  7. Posted July 25, 2012 at 2:15 am | Permalink

    Based on the article, it looks like the potential punishment came from a contempt motion filed by the rapists’ defense attorneys, not from charges a prosecutor could have filed. The defense attorneys withdrew their motion before the judge had a chance to rule on it.

  8. Posted July 25, 2012 at 4:41 am | Permalink

    Obviously a good thing that they didn’t push charges, but still, I’m not sure we necessarily want convicted criminals who are minors to be named and shamed – minors are kept anonymous for some good reasons.

    “why shouldn’t she be able to shame them after a guilty plea in the same way they tried to shame her…?”

    I guess the obvious answer is because the justice system isn’t supposed to be about revenge or retaliation. Anyway, it’s pretty hard to disagree with her when you see what she says. But still.

    • Posted July 28, 2012 at 11:43 pm | Permalink

      Yawn, I knew someone would eventually stick up for the RAPISTS.

      Let’s go! Status quo!

  9. Posted July 25, 2012 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

    i am suprised by the lack of common sense in the comments.
    that she was raped has nothing to do with her accusing people of raping her – that is for a judge to decide.
    of course it is wrong to rape some one, but you can´t go around tweeting names and saying that those people raped you – what if people are trying to take justice in their own hands and lynch those men/women that were accused of raping her? She publicly accused people of raping her, even if the accused person was innocent – that persons life would be ruind. The accused person wouldnt get a job (due to google researches in the hireing process), would lose many friends and respect of their family – EVEN IF THEY ARE INNOCENT!
    And because she was raped she should get away with breaking the law herself (defamation of character)?
    why not let her off the hook for speeding tickets or whatnot?

    it is simply stupid.
    everybody should be judged by a judge – she for breaking the law and the of rape accused people for possible rape.
    law works both ways!

  10. Posted July 27, 2012 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

    Good for her. I know this incident has gone wild on the internet, as it very well should. This girl shouldn’t be put through any more torture than she’s already been through. The injustice in this case is ridiculous.

  11. Posted July 30, 2012 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

    Good for her.

    @warwick: I totally understand what you are saying. Minors go on trial all of the time and are charged as adults and their pictures are plastered on the wall. While I know the law cannot be about revenge, I am still glad she had her say.

  12. Posted August 2, 2012 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

    good on her, these guys didn’t just break into a house in louisville and burn it down and they’ll be ok after they do some light time. They raped someone. Why protect them from what they did? They made a point of bringing pictures of what they did into school, everyone probably knew what happened to her and somebody’s dad hired a slick defence attorney to ensure the word wouldn’t spread. They weren’t just being teenagers, we do stupid things at that age but most of us don’t rape people that’s not innocence. this isn’t revenge it what they deserve.

  13. Posted August 2, 2012 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

    I’m glad she wasn’t put in jail. I’m experienced similar problems. I’ve been stalked and raped by five different guys for over a year. Their names are Zack M. Nesi (29), Cody W. Nesi (27), Matt J. Devico (23), Mike A. Devico (25), and Matt Todd Chambers (27). None of them are in jail. I’ve had to move from Utah to another state to get away from them and I’m concerned they followed me out here to Oregon. I think what she did was brave, and that gag orders shouldn’t exist. I’d like to be able to post their pictures and names to let everyone know who they are. They have access to date rape drugs, guns, have the ability to tap phones, hack into computers, hack into cable, and I believe they are stealing large amounts of money. They are extremely dangerous despite evidence of these rapes (vaginal bruising, empty pill cases left on my bed, witnesses), the police have often just accused me of being paranoid.

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