UPDATE BELOW (7/24/2012)
Savannah Dietrich, a 17-year-old girl from Kentucky may now face charges after Tweeting the names of her attackers. The girl says she was frustrated by the plea deal reached when the boys pled guilty to first degree sexual assault and voyeurism charges. The boys have yet to be sentenced for the charges. According to a Yahoo! News article:
“So many of my rights have been taken away by these boys,” Dietrich told Louisville’s Courier-Journal. “I’m at the point, that if I have to go to jail for my rights, I will do it. 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.”
When Dietrich Tweeted the names of her juvenile attackers, she knowingly violated a court order to keep their names confidential.
An online petition has been started to get the judge to throw out the charges against Dietrich. Some are saying this is a violation of her freedom of speech.
While I can certainly sympathize with Deitrich’s frustration and desire for her story to be heard, I cannot condone the fact that she spoke out against her attackers after specifically being told there would be a consequence if she did so. She was understandably frustrated and angry and hurt over what happened to her, over her perception that justice was not being served, but that didn’t give her the right to violate a court order. Laws are put in place to protect people, and she chose not to follow said laws.
As much as we may or may not agree with the rights of the accused, or as much as we may or may not agree to the punishment handed down to those who break the law, we cannot then break the law and expect not to face consequences ourselves.
What do you think? Should the victim have been allowed to talk about her attackers, or should the attackers have been allowed their anonymity?
UPDATE (7/24/2012): According to UpWorthy (and confirmed by numerous media outlets):
Due to the Internet’s collective outrage, the charges against Savannah Dietrich have been dropped — but only because everyone now knows these boys’ names. As well they should. This crime is inexcusable, and we do too much in this society to brush it off.