I wrote about Savannah Dietrich back in July. She’s the Louisville, Kentucky rape victim who decided to go public when lawyers representing her two juvenile assailants worked a plea deal that allowed them to escape their much-deserved maximum punishment.
What particularly outraged 17-year old Savannah was that the boys who raped her did not have to suffer the stigma of their crime because, as under-age offenders, their names were not publicly disclosed.
So she posted their names on Twitter, removing her cloak of anonymity as well.
Anyway, courageous young Savannah was in court yesterday, where she faced her attackers for the first time since the fateful summer night last year when they were all hanging out at a party.
The boys got the girl so drunk that she passed out. Then they had their way with her. And if that were not bad enough, they took photos of themselves having sex with the inebriated girl. Then they shared the photos with friends.
As I previously wrote, under-age Savannah should not have been drinking; should not have gotten wasted. That was bad judgment on her part.
But that absolutely does not forgive the Kentucky girl’s two assailants for taking sexual advantage of her. It in no way mitigates their crime.
I found compelling the victim impact statement Savannah read in court yesterday:
“You should know,” she said, directing her statement to the boys that raped her, “sexually assaulting an unconscious victim, taking a picture of it and disseminating it is wrong. My conclusion is you did know what you did was wrong. But did you care? No. Instead, you violated me and both of you said it was funny.”
The boys made a statement of their own, apologizing for the crimes for which they pled guilty – sexual abuse and voyeurism. But they didn’t man up and apologize to Savannah to her face. They left that to their lawyer.
No matter, Savannah considered her court appearance yesterday “a success.” Not just for herself, but also for other young women throughout the land who have suffered rape, but refuse to be silent, anonymous victims.
“I’m just so glad,” she said, “that this will send out a message to other…victims to stand up, report their crime and, if they see flaws in the system, to not stop, to keep on fighting.”