Teenage Girl Demonstrates Value of Speaking Out About Sexual Assault

Remember 17-year-old Savannah Dietrich? She's the teenager who publicly called out the boys who groped her chest and stuck their fingers in her vagina while she was unconscious — and photographed the sexual assault because they wanted to remember that precious moment in history forever/brag about it to all their dickhead friends — even though a judge ordered her not to tell anyone what happened.

The Daily Beast's Abigail Pesta interviewed Dietrich, who tweeted a number of angry missives after her judge let her assaulters off easy and said that no one should "speak about the incident to anyone for any reason."

"There you go, lock me up. I'm not protecting anyone that made my life a living Hell," the then 16-year-old high-school student wrote. "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."


Pesta wonders whether "technologies make it possible for youthful stupidity to become known far beyond the community where, perhaps less than a generation ago, it might have remained." That is certainly true. But can the boys' actions really be deemed "youthful stupidity" in this case? Look here:

The police report was filed the day after Christmas. In early February of this year, the boys sat down for interviews with a police detective. Both confessed to the crime. "We lifted up her shirt and took a picture of her boobs ... we just pulled down her pants ... we put our fingers in her vagina 'cause we thought it would be funny but it wasn't and took a picture," one said, according to a police transcript.

The detective asked, "Was she just laying there the whole time when you all were taking the pictures?"

"Yes, when we were taking the pictures, yeah," the boy said. After the incident, he said, the boys carried Dietrich upstairs to her room, accidentally dropping her at one point on the floor.

When the detective asked, "She didn't ask you to put your fingers in her vagina, did she?" the boy said, "No."

That goes beyond "youthful stupidity." If you're old enough to drive a car, you're old enough not to stick your fingers up a woman's vagina when you know she's knocked out. And we're not the only one's who think it was right for Dietrich to speak out — Aden Fine, senior staff attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union, said that "Broad orders issued by courts prohibiting speech raise First Amendment questions." We'll say.

Thanks to a plea deal, the boys were supposed to get 50 hours of community service, along with sex-offender counseling, and then, a few years later, they could have their records completely expunged and the case dismissed. That's it. But because Dietrich was brave enough to speak out — even though a judge told her to stay silent (revictimization, much?) — that's not what ended up happening:

The court records were unsealed at the request of Dietrich's team, despite objections from the boys' lawyers, who argued that it would spur media attention and hinder the boys' rehabilitation. The boys were not invited back to a senior year at Trinity and had to find new schools. They also got a stiffer sentence. Under their final plea deal, issued in September, the felony crime can't be completely expunged, as per the original deal, but can be downgraded to a misdemeanor after three years if they stay out of trouble.

That's more like it.

Dietrich says her life has been forever changed by her assault, but that she's glad she stood up for herself. "I'll never take those tweets down," she said. What a role model.

[The Daily Beast]

[photo via Twitter]