Sunday, July 22, 2012

17-Year-Old Rape Victim Refused to Be Silenced

I was going to post my first Shitty YA Boy Toys post today but I spotted this and it needs to be spread so Boy Toys got vetoed until Tuesday.  I was just so incredibly amazed by this story to stay silent.  You all know I try to keep my blog politically neutral because a book review blog that slants towards YA is just not the place for my political opinion.  I have other outlets for that.  But this?  No.  Just . . . no.

This article popped up on my Yahoo! homepage and I immediately jumped to reading it.  A 17-year-old sexual assault victim to be jailed for naming her attackers on Twitter.  Excuse me, what?  So I read it.  Savannah was sexually assaulted while unconscious, her attackers photographing what they did and then disseminating the images to others.  When she found out what happened it crippled her.

She and her parents did everything right by going to the police as soon as Savannah found out.  But when the verdict was read and the sentence handed down Savannah was shocked at the supposed slap on the wrist they both received and SHE was ordered not to discuss anything, to keep silent.  This article in the Courier Journal out of Louisville has more information than the Yahoo! article about the actual trial and the aftermath of Savannah ignoring her court order and naming names.  I was horrified.

What's even more horrifying in that Louisville article was that people were quoted as saying Savannah should have gone through the proper channels to try and lift the injunction keeping her silent instead of just disregarding it.  What?  Yes, she should have been the good little submissive rape victim and gone through the proper channels.  Fuck you.  She was sexually assaulted and then had it all exposed to the world.  Then she watched as her attackers got a dumbed down plea deal and demanded anonymity while forcing her mouth shut.  If I were her I would have done the same thing.

And good on Savannah for doing it.  It's one thing to teach children to follow rules but all this debacle has taught girls like Savannah is that boys can do pretty much whatever they want to do and, for the most part, get away with it and you will do what you're told to do about it and nothing else or you'll get pegged as aggressive, in contempt, defiant and you'll go to jail for it.  WHAT A WONDERFUL FUCKING MESSAGE TO SEND NOT ONLY TO RAPE VICTIMS BUT TEENAGE RAPE VICTIMS.  Motherfuckers, what is wrong with you?

Should we just be traipsing around in corsets and bustles at the beck and call to the menfolk and if we dare to step out of line well, we get what's coming to us, right?  What the fuck year is it?  1901?

If Savannah were my daughter I would be defending her actions with the vehemence of a rabid badger.  There would be no way I could watch as her attackers get little more than a slap on the nose for what they did while she was forced to be silent.  No.  No no no no no.

Rapists shouldn't get the benefit of juvenile court just because they're under 18.  They committed big kid crimes and should suffer big kid repercussions for their actions.  To belittle their crimes as kid stuff is to demean what happened to Savannah, say it's less important, it doesn't mean as much, because she isn't at least 18.  No.  This was not some stupid prank gone awry.  Rape is not a joke to be played on someone.  Snapping naked pictures of an unconscious girl is not harmless.  This is not stupid child's play and Savannah should have never been barred from speaking out about what she went through.

The last thing we want to instill in any rape victim of any age is that there will be terrible repercussions for her if she  deigns to speak.  Fines, jail, public shaming if you DARE to speak out about what happened to you.  The last thing we need to do is take even more from a rape victim, tear her down even more to something that should just remain silent, that should be remedied behind closed doors at the risk of shaming her attackers.  That rapists need to be protected.  FUCK YOU.

I am so incredibly proud of Savannah for speaking out.  I'm so incredibly proud of her for saying fuck you, I'd rather go to jail than keep silent.  I'm so proud of her for not being cowed into being the good little girl and taking the "appropriate" measures of action to see if it's possible please and thank you for her to talk about her pain.  If you're proud of her too then sign the petition.  The hope is that if enough people let this judge (and a woman to boot, how incredibly shameful) know just how fucking idiotic her ruling was that nothing will come of Savannah.  That she won't go jail for being a victim with a voice.

Even in a society where a woman's strength is encouraged we are still ultimately forced to be kept silent, second and steps behind men.  We are supposed to be demure, pleasant and as accommodating as possible.  What's handed to us we're supposed to say thank you, regardless of whether it's what we wanted or not.  If we are told to keep silent we are to keep silent.  If we're told to acquiesce then we acquiesce.  And if something bad happens to us then what did we do to deserve it?


Let the world know that rape victims should never be silenced.  Women should never just fall in line because they're told to.  They shouldn't shy away from what's right because someone threatens them.  Victims shouldn't be shamed for the sake of protecting their attackers.  This kind of thing is disgusting and reprehensible and we should be well over it by now.  It's disheartening that we're not, that we're attempting to teach our children, our daughters, that you don't mean enough to ever be a victim.

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