When I heard the news on the radio last week about Savannah Dietrich putting the names of her assailants on Twitter, in violation of a court order to keep their names confidential, I instantly felt proud of her. Here is a 17-year-old girl who was sexually assaulted at a party while passed out from drinking, standing up and saying, No, these boys cannot do what they did and have it fall under a veil of protection.
Then the radio morning show personalities continued to discuss the situation, trying to determine whether what she did was legal, etc. That’s fine. I’m no lawyer, nor was I in the courtroom when the judge gave the instructions regarding the confidentiality of the boys’ identities. Honestly, I don’t know if what she did was within the law. That’s not what I’m here to discuss. What I do know, is that she is one brave young woman.
Then the radio personalities decided to sum up the whole thing. Here is what they said (paraphrased): Savannah shouldn’t have gone to the party and drank so much that she passed out and allowed this to happen. The boys shouldn’t have taken pictures and shown people because, well, duh, then that’s evidence.
According to the radio host, that was the boys’ crime: being too dumb to realize you don’t take photos when you’re sexually assaulting an unconscious girl.
I could not believe my ears. I really was not expecting the whole “boys will be boys” attitude in this day and age.
No, I do not think Savannah made a good choice that night. But, guess what? She has the right to make a bad choice and be left alone. She had the right to NOT be violated. Those boys disregarded her rights and assaulted her. Then they took pictures. Then they showed other people the pictures. They took something from her that can not be given back.
Now, right after what seemed to be the conclusion of the story on the radio, I arrived at work and had to turn off the show. I didn’t get to listen any longer to see if anybody called in to the show who shared my opinion. I didn’t get to find out if the way they presented the story was crafted so that a longer discussion could be had on the air. I didn’t get to hear if they retracted their statements. I try to give people the benefit of the doubt.
I certainly hope that is the case. I hope the show’s hosts really didn’t intend to blame a girl for being assaulted. If so, I am disgusted. When will this end? When will people stop brushing this sort of crime under the rug, instead, saying, “She shouldn’t have put herself in that situation”?
In the comments on the article there was a lot of support, but there was at least one person who sided with the boys, saying that accusing people of this could ruin their lives. Thankfully, the supportive people responded to those statements. It restored my faith in humanity a bit.