Protecting the Guilty

What about the victims rights?

So when I went public with my case, there was a couple of things I wanted to achieve. I wanted to make parents aware of what really goes on in the industry, I wanted people to take better care of their kids, and I wanted to change some laws. That was over two years ago. I’m not supposed to be blogging or talking about the case. I’m supposed to be silent while the police are investigating. At first, it was frustrating. I had been asked to go public, I did. It turned into a media circus that I wasn’t prepared for. However, I found my strength, and made it through a couple of the hardest weeks of my life, and I found the courage to stand up and scream. Unfortunately, right as I found that courage, I was asked to shut up and go hide under a rock. At first I was pissed off. Why ask me to go through that, get me fighting, and then ask me to hide again? It was very frustrating. Occasionally I would break my silence, only to get angry calls from Australia, reminding me to be quiet. Eventually I simmered down. I’ve changed a lot over the last 2 years. I have found a quiet strength in myself I didn’t know I had. I’ve also learnt patience. I now figure I waited 17 years to go public, what’s a couple more years for the police to do a thorough job? Thankfully Australia doesn’t have a Statute of Limitations on rape or child assault cases, unlike the US.  The Jerry Sandusky case took investigators 2 years, and that guy is never gonna see light again, so I’m ok with the wait. At least I got to scream his name out load. I got to tell everyone. I got to warn others of what he’s like. I also empowered many more girls to come forward and speak of their own abuse. I’ll never be able to express how awesome it is to receive emails from other girls who tell you that you gave them to strength to tell their own stories. Other women and men tell me that because I spoke up, they found the strength within themselves to tell their families of their own abuse. Many have been to the police and laid charges against their attackers. Some of them have even already been to court. Knowing you started a chain reaction makes you feel that you had a purpose in life. I still hope to change laws in Australia. I want to make the entertainment industry a safer place for kids. I want to make the world a safer place for kids. I would like Australia to set up a sex offender registry like we have in Texas. I want offenders to have their faces, names and addresses on a website where people can go and see if there’s any bad people living around them. I don’t believe any of the bullshit about vigilantes. We used the site when we had our exchange student so we could make sure she was safe on her way to school. We saw there was an offender on her route. We advised her to avoid going near that house. We showed her the photo of the guy so she would recognize him in case he tried to approach her. It wasn’t to scare her. It was just a self defense system. I use it when I’m on the road to make sure I don’t have some rapist next door to me, who seems nice asking for a cup of sugar…

I also don’t believe the crap about naming the offender will let people know who the child is. Considering that most pedophiles molest about 60 kids before they’re even caught, how could naming the one offender lead to his victim being known? The registry just has a general offense, such  as lewd act with a minor, or aggravated sexual assault of a child. It doesn’t name the child. It doesn’t say whether it was a relative or stranger. All it does is warn others that the person is a threat and to keep their kids away from them.

I hope one day to also get rid of the stigma attached to being a victim. I hate the world victim. I am no longer a victim. As a small child, a very sick individual did bad things to me. That is in no way my fault. I tried to do something about it. I told other people. Unfortunately, some equally worthless adults, much like Joe Paterno were involved. The culture of the stigma surrounding child abuse led to the silence, and therefor allowed more abuse to occur. We need to teach kids it’s not their fault. We need to empower them to speak up. We need to stop treating people like victims and like they’re contagious. We need to help them find their strength again. We need to teach them that shit happens, and we’re going to help them get over. I have no doubt that what happened to me made me who I am today. I’m also sure that speaking up 2 years ago has changed me tremendously. I found my strength. I found my voice. I became a warrior.

So while I spend my days being a literal warrior wearing my uniform, and channel my energy into my job in a Law Enforcement Intelligence Center, which is great because I get such a buzz every time we send out a BOLO and we actually capture some predator, occasionally I read some article which makes me want to come out screaming again. It’s hard to be patient when I read shit like this:

US girl faces jail for naming attackers

A KENTUCKY teenager is facing contempt of court charges for tweeting the names of the two teens who pled guilty to sexually assaulting her, in a case that inspires questions about the uses of social media in the legal system.

Seventeen-year-old Savanna Dietrich tweeted the names of the boys in response to the frustration she felt over her attackers plea bargain.Now, Dietrich could face an $US500 ($481) fine and up to 180 days in jail for the act if she is found guilty of being in contempt of the court. Her contempt hearing is scheduled for July 30. According to Dietrich, the sexual assault occurred when she passed out at a party last year.

Her attackers then molested her, and they also allegedly videotaped the incident and shared it with their friends online.

After Dietrich visited police with her parents, the juvenile defendants were charged with first-degree sexual abuse and misdemeanor voyeurism, reports the Louisville Courier Journal. But Dietrich says she was extremely unhappy with the “slap on the wrist” plea bargain her attackers were given.

Enraged, she took to her Twitter account determined to publicly expose the boys for their act. “They said I can’t talk about it or I’ll be locked up,” one of her tweets read. “So I’m waiting for them to read this and lock me up. ____ justice.

“Protect rapist is more important than getting justice for the victim in Louisville.”

She reiterated in a Courier Journal interview that she was fully prepared to pay the price for her actions. “I’m at the point, that if I have to go to jail for my rights, I will do it,” Dietrich told the Louisville paper. “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.”

Here’s a girl was was attacked, the guys taped it and posted it online. So not only did they violate her originally, but then she was humiliated again by having it shown to others. She went to the police, and the guys were given a slap on the wrist. So she goes public, and names her attackers, who one would assume would already be known, given they themselves used public domain to share their video of the attack, and she’s the one facing jail?

What the fuck is wrong with society? If these douchebags are using the internet to share their attack, she should be able to use the same internet to shame them. Their names and faces are already out there. Give her the chance to reclaim her power, her voice. Let her vent. I don’t care if her attackers were also teens and should be protected. They’re not going to turn 18 and suddenly become model citizens. They’re going to go off to college and prey on girls at frat parties.

We need to stand up as a society and change the laws. We need to start protecting the innocent. We need to teach kids to protect themselves. We need to give those that have been victims their self worth back. We need to take it away from those that do wrong.

I’ve received emails from actors here in the US letting me know they’re following my case in Australia. Unfortunately the US has a Statute on childhood abuse. However, I’m pretty sure if my case goes well, you’re going to hear a lot more people stand up and start talking about their own abuse. Hopefully then the younger ones will feel empowered to stand up for themselves too. It sucks to be a test case, with the fear of letting people down, but it’s also wonderful knowing I’ve had a positive impact on so many people, and could change some futures.


6 Replies to “Protecting the Guilty”

  1. Sarah, I was thrilled to hear of the arrest of the predator that fooled everyone but those unlucky enough to fall prey to his sick twisted actions. I applaud your strength to go on and make a success of your life and have the ultimate revenge any victim can. To not allow the wolf to destry you.
    I have lived in the US for three years now and see perpatrators like him sentenced to serious time in prison for these crimes. Let us hope the Australian courts find the guts to hand down justice for all the little girls he victimized.
    If you are ever in Boston and need to hear an Aussie accent let me know and I’ll give you a g’day.
    Stay strong sweetheart, I have sons slightly younger than you and would walk through fire to protect them. I hope you have plenty of good people around you to constantly remind you of all the true decency in the world.

  2. I just wanted to say how proud my wife Haylee and I are of your stance in regards to this obviously painful, personal and tragic matter. I have often said to Haylee that if anyone ever hurt my two sons (6yo and 5yo) I would track them down and make them suffer in ways they would never have known before because in my opinion the so-called “Justice System” and the ludicrous “Truth in Sentencing” would never give the offenders a long enough or harsh enough sentence befitting of he magnitude of their crime.
    You and the other innocent victims of this predator are strong but need to gather together and be stronger and braver than ever before to make sure this matter is fought to the end and what little “Justice” you can get out of this case is attained.
    Just remember that you have your supporters out there who love and respect you.

    North Gosford NSW Australia

  3. Just want to thank you for your courage, I want you to know your strength has inspired my cousin to comence Legal Procedings against her stepfather.

  4. Two years ago my 5 year old daughter told me that her step-cousin had assaulted her. It has been a long, long journey since that moment and has ripped our once idyllic family apart. Only now are we regrouping but I feel it will never be the same again. The enormous hurt it caused is excruciating. Loyalties were tested beyond imagining. My family turned against us.
    Your story aired at that time and I have slavishly watched the news hoping I would see the arrest of that vile man Hughes.
    A few months ago I searched the internet trying to find some evidence that he was not getting off scot-free and wept when I found nothing. I was very frustrated that your brave actions had been for nothing. So I jumped with joy when I heard the news of his arrest!
    It gives me hope and more confidence that speaking out, however (incredibly) hard, is the only way to combat this horrible violation of the young.
    Your journey has helped me with mine and I will always be grateful to you.
    I wish you love, laughter, happiness and health always.
    Sydney Australia

  5. Dear Sarah, It was with great sadness that I learned of what happened to you and others at the hands of this bad man. I remember watching Hey Dad all those years ago and I always enjoyed the show. It is just criminal that this abuse was swept under the carpet at the time just to protect the reputation of a TV show. It seems to me that you have grown up to become a strong and successful woman and that truly is a credit to you. I hope this monster who abused you will get his comeuppance now he has been apprehended by the law. No one can ever give you back what he took from you, and for that I am sorry. But your bravery and strength to pursue this matter so justice can be done is a real credit to you. I wish you and your family all the best for the future.

    Ballarat, Victoria, Australia

  6. Hi Sarah,
    I like the rest of the world have just heard that the man that molested you has been arrested. I am so glad for you and the other victims. I too am a victim of being molested as a child but unfortuantly the laws were not as strong as they were in 1996 when i went to make my complaint it worked on the number of statements they had and we only needed one more to make the charges stick, Thats where i found out who my freinds really were. But i ended up going for victims of crimes compnensation (but no amount of money caqn take away the pain). Even after all these years it still makes me angry that the person has not been brought up in front of the courts but he was put on the sex offenders registgy as a suspected. I try to explain to my family and friends and husband my feelings but it is hard to try and get the point accross. So it is good to be able to have something (even though its not nice) in commen with you. And my husband was in the australian army for 13 years.
    I know you have the guts and bravery to stand in front him and say your piece. I sometimes think i would love to have that bravery but my anger is still very real and raw even though it happend over 25 years ago.I know now if i was to see him again i would probelry just belt him.
    I hope all goes well for you and will keep an eye out on your case from sunny Darwin.
    Get your chin up and keep on being brave.
    Kellie Wilson

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