Update: Defense attorneys for the two teenage boys have officially withdrawn their motion to hold Savannah in contempt for tweeting her attackers' names after the case gained worldwide recognition. Phew!
Upset by what she felt was a lenient plea bargain for two teen boys who plead guilty to assaulting her and circulating pictures of the incident, 17-year-old Savannah Dietrich turned to Twitter to share her frustration.
“There you go, lock me up,” she tweeted, according to the Courier Journal. “I’m not protecting anyone that made my life a living Hell.” The tweet included the two attackers’ names, and because of this, Dietrich--the assault victim--is facing a potential jail sentence. Yes, you have unfortunately read that correctly.
According to RAINN, sexual assault is one of the most underreported crimes, with 54 percent still being left unreported. So how exactly is this fair to the victim, who was brave enough to stand up for herself by reporting the assault in the first place? It isn't—but the attorneys for the boys asked a Jefferson District Court judge to hold her in contempt. They argue that when the victim named her attackers, she violated the confidentiality of a juvenile hearing, as well as the court’s order not to speak of it.
Emily Farrar-Crockett, deputy division chief of the public defender’s juvenile division and one of Dietrich’s attorneys said her client was warned that the Courier Journal interview with her could "potentially" be a violation of the judge’s order, “but she feels it’s important to speak out and chose to do so,” Farrar-Crockett said.
The controversy has also sparked a change.org initiative, with 76,181 supporters (and climbing by the thousands) petitioning Kentucky District Court to drop the charges against Savannah (show your support by signing it, here!)
Though it’s widely considered unethical to report names of sexual assault victims, both Dietrich and her parents agreed that they want her case to be public, and they do not wish to conceal her identity.
“I’m at the point, that if I have to go to jail for my rights, I will do it,” the courageous 17-year-old told the Courier Journal. “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.” If that happens, then neither do I, Dietrich.
Image courtesy of Slate.com