Rehtaeh Parsons

9 Apr

The story is disturbingly familiar.

A teenage girl goes to some kind of get-together, maybe a party.

She is raped by multiple assailants.

The rape is photographed and distributed via social media.

The girl is subjected to horrifying acts of bullying and shaming. She is branded a slut. Her life becomes a living hell.

This girl is not Steubenville’s Jane Doe, although their stories bear a remarkable resemblance. This girl is Rehtaeh Parsons, a 17-year-old from Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia, who hanged herself on April 4th, a year and a half after being raped. Her family took her off life support this past Sunday.

Reading the account of what happened to Rehtaeh is like watching a deadly accident slowly, methodically unfolding in front of you. And there are bystanders, plenty of bystanders, who had any number of opportunities to step in and do something, but none of them do.

And, in many ways, you are one of these bystanders, too. I am, too. We all are.

Rehtaeh did not have a rape kit done because she was too ashamed to tell anyone about her rape until several days later, at which point it was thought to be too late to retrieve medical evidence.

The boys (there were four of them) accused of raping Retaeh were not interviewed until long after the family tried to press charges.

They were not separated for their interviews; they were interviewed together, meaning that they were easily able to corroborate each others’ stories.

The investigation took over a year. In the end, it was decided that there was insufficient evidence of sexual assault, no charges were laid, and the boys got off scot free.

No legal action was taken with regards to the photographs of the rape that were distributed through social media. Rehtaeh’s mother was told that this was because there was no way of proving who had taken the pictures.

Rehtaeh struggled to survive for seventeen months. She moved to Halifax, unable to cope with the fact that her rapists were also her high school classmates. She checked herself into the hospital when she felt suicidal and stayed there for six weeks. She made new friends. She saw a therapist. She fought to live. She fought hard.

And then one day, she couldn’t fight any longer.

And when I read her story, I can’t help but wonder:

Where the fuck were all the grownups?

Where were the grownups who were supposed to love her and protect her? Where were the grownups who should have kept her safe? Where were the grownups who were supposed to make sure that she received some kind of justice for what she suffered?

And I don’t mean her parents, because it’s clear that they, too, have been struggling for the past seventeen months, doing what they can to try to help and advocate for their daughter. I mean where the fuck were the school officials, the members of the law enforcement, the people who should have made sure that she had adequate follow-up mental health care after her hospitalization? Where were they, and why didn’t they do anything? Or if they did do something, why didn’t they do enough?

Rehtaeh’s rapists are still out there. They are still in high school, they are still going to parties and they are, quite likely, still raping. Why wouldn’t they? They got away with it once, didn’t they? Rehtaeh’s rapists are still living normal, untroubled lives, and she is dead.

She’s dead, but even in the wake of her suicide and the attention her case has gained, government officials are refusing to review why the RCMP declined  to lay charges against Rehtaeh’s rapist.

Instead, Nova Scotia’s justice minister, Ross Landry, released this fucking joke of a statement:

“As a community, we need to have more dialogue with our young people about respect and about support to educate our young boys and our young girls about what’s appropriate behaviour, what’s not appropriate behaviour,” Landry said.

“We have to make sure that we’re cognizant about what gets online and what doesn’t get online and what the impacts are, so it’s having that dialogue.

“That still doesn’t take away the fact that we’ve lost a beautiful young woman … and I’m very upset about the loss.”

Saying that we need to educate boys and girls about appropriate behaviour is victim-blaming. Saying that this wouldn’t have been a problem if the pictures hadn’t ended up online is like saying that rape is fine, but publicly broadcasting it isn’t. Calling Rehtaeh’s death a tragedy because we’ve lost a beautiful young woman is a joke – seriously, what bearing does her appearance have on how sad her death is? And since Landry is refusing to open an official review into how the RCMP handled this, isn’t he basically saying, “I think she was lying about the rape, but gosh, she sure was hot”?

All of this, every single word of this statement, all of the things that Rehtaeh endured, every single detail presented here is rape culture.

This is rape culture. This is our culture.

I never thought in a million years that I’d be saying this, but I wish that Rehtaeh’s case had had the same outcome as Jane Doe’s. Because while Jane Doe had to endure some spectacularly vile, awful shit, at least she made it out alive. At least her rapists suffered consequences. At least her case actually made it to trial.

rehtaeh parsons

This is Rehtaeh Parsons. When she was fifteen, she was raped by four boys. When she was seventeen, she committed suicide.

She is dead because we, as a society, failed her.

There is a petition up demanding an inquiry into the police investigation of Rehtaeh’s rape. I’m not sure if it will do anything to help, but signing it sure as hell won’t hurt. Right now, this petition and bringing awareness to what happened to Rehtaeh seem like the only concrete ways of helping her. Right now, I need to do something, anything to stop myself from feeling like a bystander. I’m not going to just shake my head and sigh over this. I’m going to raise my voice until everyone knows what happened to Rehtaeh.

Edited to add:

Ross Landry now says that he will be moving forward with a review of Rehtaeh’s case. Thank God. An excerpt from the article I linked to:

Justice Minister Ross Landry said today, April 9, he has asked senior government officials to present options, as soon as possible, to review the Rehtaeh Parsons case.

“This situation is tragic, I am deeply saddened – as I think are all Nova Scotians – by the death of this young woman,” said Mr. Landry. “As a parent, I can’t imagine the pain this family is going through at this time. My thoughts are with them.”

Mr. Landry said he hopes to meet with Leah Parsons, Rehtaeh’s mother, to discuss her experience with the justice system.

“I know that law enforcement and the public prosecution service do their best, every day, to administer and enforce the law,” said Mr. Landry. “It’s important that Nova Scotians have faith in the justice system and I am committed to exploring the mechanisms that exist to review the actions of all relevant authorities to ensure the system is always working to the best of its ability, in pursuit of justice.”

Mr. Landry said he has been reviewing details of the case and consulting with officials throughout the day, and expects options within the next few days.

126 Responses to “Rehtaeh Parsons”

  1. hitandrun1964 April 9, 2013 at 7:40 pm #

    She died because men rape. Because men get away with rape. Because the people in charge of our laws are men. Because men write the laws, pass the laws and interpret the laws. The laws protect men. Women are excluded. We live in a woman hating culture. Women are at war every day of their lives and this young girl is just another victim.

    • Souto April 9, 2013 at 8:32 pm #

      Are you freaking kidding me (hitandrun1964)? Boys/men are also raped, women rape too. By the way, it wasn’t only men who failed Rehtaeh. The women did too. Her friends and other women in the community did nothing to help this poor girl. What an incredibly ignorant comment.

      • Ese Loco April 9, 2013 at 10:59 pm #

        I agree 100%. The people close to her, and who knew about it are just as much to blame as the people who raped and took pictures.
        I find it amusing how sexist women can be when it comes things like hitandrun spoke about, imagine if a man said that about women.
        That woman is the pinnacle of ignorance. It is not only men that rape, nor are we solely responsible for writing, passing and interpreting laws. I am a man, and i do not hate women whatsoever. With an attitude like hitanrun1964 has, its no wonder why her life may have been ‘war’ with men. Your perspective is skewed, ingnorant and incorrect, and you are more sexist than any man I know hitandrun1964.

      • Ian Halpern April 10, 2013 at 12:48 am #

        “Men” as a gender don’t rape. To make this all about gender is to miss the tragedy of this crime.

      • linottemelodieuse April 11, 2013 at 1:25 am #

        Women are much more likely to be victims of rape and other kinds of physical or sexual abuse at the hands of men. I don’t believe that hitandrun64′s comment was sexist or “misandrist” at all. Please keep in mind that there is still a very toxic mindset in our society which protects the men who rape women. This was showcased very recently in the Steubenville case.

      • Ali McMillan April 11, 2013 at 3:08 am #

        These two comments (and many more below) perfectly typify the silly back-and-forth found everywhere between inarticulate advocates of fairly reasonable positions w/r/t gender relations. The first post wants to emphasize that patriarchy is a problem; the second takes umbrage and wants to emphasize that this is not purely about ‘men’ nor an issue with every one of them.

        Yet for some reason they feel the need to do it in reactionary, flamey ways. And the ensuing conversation takes a nose dive and gets really toxic.

        ‘hitandrun1964′ talks about ‘men’ as a rhetorical device, really meaning ‘some men,’ or ‘male-dominated institutions.’ Sure makes the comment punchy and intense! Except also vague and offensive. Because ‘Souto,’ quite plausibly, reads it to mean ‘all men,’ or ‘most men.’ For any man, even the staunchest ally of feminism, that reading stings. (Feminism, after all, constantly grapples with the discriminatory implications of language choices, so everyone should be with me here!)

        So the initial comment is largely at fault, even if it’s not, strictly ‘wrong’ – at least read in the right way, notwithstanding the part about ‘men write the laws,’ a point which I’m sure many female politicians would be quick to dispute. But in replying, instead of rationally unpacking the worrisome connotations of the original comment, we get some crap about how ‘women rape too.’ Sure, it is a factual claim. But jumping there in the second sentence of a reply gives credence to the idea that a concern for ‘misandry’ is really all about diverting attention from men’s culpability.

        Let me try to correct the original post and toss some reason on the flames here:

        This IS about gender. This IS about how some MEN get away with rape, EVEN THOUGH many of the people in charge of legislation and law enforcement are not, in fact, men. This is NOT about ALL men, but instead about the ways some AWFUL men wield EXCESS power in our institutions – from high school right on up to the judiciary and government. It is a fact that women do commit sex crimes, but that is IRRELEVANT to this tragedy and SHOULD NOT BE BROUGHT UP.

      • Quinn April 15, 2013 at 4:48 am #

        Oh lord.. I just thought of something.

        Women get an unfair deal a lot. It’s true. I am paid less than my male counterparts. On my last job, it was TEN THOUSAND DOLLARS A YEAR less.

        That’s complete bullshit.

        But… when it comes to rape, whether it’s a woman who is raped by whatever gender OR a guy, the VICTIM IS MERCILESSLY SHAMED.

        You guys. we don’t deal with RAPE well. The gender doesn’t matter. The fact that we have nothing in place to really help rape victims is a serious fucking problem.

    • Moustafa April 9, 2013 at 8:36 pm #

      That’s not entirely true. I know people (women) who were raped by women. People rape. Society’s rules are written in a way where if there’s no evidence, like sperm deposits, or bruise marks, “it’s not rape”.

      That’s bullshit.

      The laws don’t protect men, they invariably seem to protect rapists. Why? There’s always the fear of a false accusation, but there’s always the chance that there is reason for the accusation to exist. Still, it’s better to prevent than to heal, right? So laws are written in a way where things have to be proven in a certain way, which unfortunately means they’re not being proven in every possible sense. The pictures could have been “retraced” to an original source. But the laws aren’t made to take that kind of detail into account (and this seriously needs to change).

      I’m not saying you’re completely wrong. Women have it rough and the fact that it’s taking so long to get to a decent state is, quite frankly, an insult to the entire human species. But blaming it solely on a few select men is the same as the pot calling the kettle black: It won’t get us anywhere.

      • kinerniner April 9, 2013 at 10:01 pm #

        But in this issue the aggressors WERE young MEN, four of them. And you do not have to get defensive because you are a man. There are men and women of all kinds, BE the kind of man that you wish to be associated with

      • The Real Cie April 9, 2013 at 10:05 pm #

        We do need to blame the social outlook. Then people need to work to change it. It’s almost as if bastards like this garner praise for committing an utterly atrocious act.

      • Quinn April 15, 2013 at 4:52 am #

        Well this is the point i was making in a reply to a comment above. We don’t deal well with rape because… We’re apes. I’m not making a genetic or biological excuse because we’re ALSO humans. If we can figure out music, math, art, language and find a way to write it all down and make it persist throughout history, we should be able to control ourselves at least a little.

        Humans will always be stupid, drooling apes. At least for as long as you or I live. We’re in no state to ascend (or whatever bullshit theory you believe.. that’s my personal one) just yet.

        The law has to change, yes. But society has to change. We need to get a better understanding that these boys are sociopaths. Anonymous claims to have completely solved this crime in FOUR HOURS. A crime the criminal justice system of canada claims was just too riddled with insufficient evidence to do much about.

      • Quinn April 15, 2013 at 4:59 am #

        No I didn’t explain my last comment well. Let me try again.

        It’s almost like.. We have a serious issue with SEX. Not just rape. Human beings, at least in most countries i’ve been in, have a weird hangup about talking about sex. We take that hangup right into the courtrooms and schools with us. Fucked up shit like this happens because the subject is somehow seen as a very, very uncomfortable one. We don’t want to admit that we all want to have sex pretty much all the time. If we had our way, we’d just eat, have sex and engage in hobbies once the other things were taken care of. We don’t want to admit that we’re scared of someone else having more sex than we do. We’re scared we’re doing it all wrong.

        And BECAUSE we can’t admit that, this stuff happens. We can’t talk about it because it makes us feel all these strange feelings that make us wonder who we really are. We don’t like to question our purpose in life or the meaning of our own personal existence. So we pretend it’s not a serious issue. We pretend it’s not happening.

        I’m still not explaining this well. But I honestly think that it’s our weird hangup with sex as part of society that leads down a sinister road to this kind of tragedy.

        Look at bonobos. The sweetheart ape. They have sex. They engagen in full-on prostitution. From what I understand it’s always consensual. They don’t have any hangups and because of how their environment shaped them (always enough food) they don’t have rage issues.

        They just like to eat fruit and get laid. Every single one of them. And if one says no, the other one is all like “Fine. I’ll see who else is up for it then” and EVERYONE IS OK WITH THAT.

        We need to get over ourselves.

      • Jan April 15, 2013 at 11:34 pm #

        I would like to clarify – rape is not about sex.
        Not sure what full on prostitution is or why comparing humans to monkeys ?? look up term sexual exploitation…….

      • Quinn April 15, 2013 at 5:07 am #

        Lemme try this one more time.. haha.

        We enjoy sex. not all the time maybe. I was being glib. But we DO like it. We like chasing each other, flirting with each other and, when conditions are right, porking each other senseless. But then this weird thing happened. Somehow we chose to put seriously strict rules on that. You can only have one partner at a time. You can only have sex with people that look/talk/eat/drink/make as much money as you. In many relationships I’ve seen, you can’t so much as LOOK at another person without fear.

        This sort of harsh repression is what causes us to freak out and do stupid things. Antisocial things. Horrible things.

        I don’t blame monogamy per se. Humans are genetically wired for it, in a way. We’ve been doing it since we were known as homo ergaster. That’s a long fucking time. But MONOGAMY doesn’t necessarily mean (scientifically) only one sexual partner for life. It means that in a family unit, both a male and female are present. They may have multiple partners. But they PAIR for life in a way that is deeper than that.

        Somewhere along the way, we got a little sidetracked with jealousy and ownership and weird neuroses. I don’t blame religion, though some religious have a few things to answer for. But that’s society’s fault. Somewhere along the way, something broke. Or.. we’re evolving and this is an ugly phase we’ve been in for about ten thousand years that we’re not able to climb out of just yet.

    • Phil April 9, 2013 at 8:36 pm #

      I suggest emasculation and i’m a man.

      Many men are good people and want to protect women.

      • jelly roll April 10, 2013 at 10:34 am #

        I agree. We need to start to develop our own brand of justice when crimes like these go unpunished by the stale pale males in power. Publish her rapists’ names addresses phone numbers etc…let the mob decide their fate.

    • Livvie April 9, 2013 at 10:44 pm #

      As a survivor of mother-daughter sexual abuse, I disagree vehemently with the notion that we only need to teach men to stop raping. Both genders need to be taught to keep their hands to themselves. Both genders are capable of rape–my mother digitally penetrated me from the time I was six years old until I was fourteen–and it makes me very angry to see statements like this. Am I an outlier? Do I not exist? My mother is a rapist, and she will never be called one because of the insistence that ‘only men rape’. Wake up. There are a lot of women, and a lot of feminist women that you are turning off with this argument. As an aside: my mother was a single parent. There were no men around ‘coaching’ or ‘prompting’ her behavior. She did it all on her own and she made the choice to brutalize her only child for eight long years. The damage done by having your primary caregiver act on you in this way is beyond belief. Recognize us.

    • Ese Loco April 9, 2013 at 10:53 pm #

      Shut the fuck up, dont blame it on men, because I can assure you the girls making fun of her as just as much to blame for this. Stop blaming your problems on other people. The truth of the matter is that women have carry more political and social weight than men, simply because all it takes is some bitch like you to cry about someone being sexist when it usually isnt the case at all. And like Im sure it has been pounded into your incredibly stupid brain by all this people disagreeing with you, it is not just women that get raped. You are the pinnacle of ignorance.

      • Rowan April 11, 2013 at 2:09 pm #

        Your “shut the fuck up” and “pinnacle of ignorance” comments, plus what you put in between those phrases is very much a part of the problem, thus making you very much a part of the problem. We should all be asking ourselves ‘what are we doing as a person, a citizen, a decent human being to get this rape culture out into the light were we can begin to make the necessary changes to our perceptions, our prejudices, and our laws’? We need to stop blaming the victim. We need to change our culture to one where, never again will 4 young men rape a young woman and get away with it.

        This, ‘Loco’ is the point under discussion. This young woman was raped, there is video evidence of it, and our rape culture blamed her, and shamed her, and didn’t see to it that she got the help she needed and deserved. Our rape culture also saw to it that, so far, these 4 thugs have not had to answer for their crimes. Our rape culture needs to change. Rapists need to be stopped. Rape victims should never be trivialized or blamed. Be part of the solution, not part of the problem.

    • Jeff April 10, 2013 at 3:13 am #

      No offense but… you’re a fucking idiot. Wait, I take it back… offence totally intended.

    • jelly roll April 10, 2013 at 10:30 am #

      I am sooo sorry you have such a jaded view of men. Something horrible must’ve happened to you.

    • Disgusted April 10, 2013 at 11:31 am #

      hitandrun1964 – Youre an idiot. I believe it was her FEMALE friends that turned on her and labelled her a “slut”. I hope those “boys” get what is coming to them, but take your man-hating banter somewhere else.

      • Sam April 11, 2013 at 4:34 am #

        Amen. I bet her girlfriends turned on her. My little sister dropped out of school because of a group of unrelenting bitchy girls that made her life hell.
        It is tragic what happened to Rehtaeh but has nothing to do with ALL men on this planet.

      • gerhard April 12, 2013 at 6:00 am #

        I hope that the guilty are prosecuted, and convicted. So far we don’t know with certainty that a rape was in fact committed.

    • Sam April 11, 2013 at 4:28 am #

      Hey man-hater, men do a lot of good stuff too…hell.

    • gerhard April 12, 2013 at 5:59 am #

      half the voters are women, why don’t they elect women?

    • Jim Steeves April 13, 2013 at 9:54 pm #

      They were boys, not men, and they should hang, but don’t blame men for all the worlds problems. Believe it or not, men suffer in this God forsaken world too.

    • ricky September 25, 2013 at 11:55 am #

      Women are a majority of voters last time i checked. Rape is illegal in Canada. I do not know why, after the rapists published evidence against themselves online, that they were not arrested. Why do some men rape? I dont know. The majority of us dont, even if one helieves tge rape statistic of 1 in 4.

      • Jan September 25, 2013 at 8:39 pm #

        FYI – sexual assault aka rape is about power and control over another person – it is not about sex and it is not about someone’s physical appearance – nor is it just about women… education in this area is important for society as a whole….

  2. debrinconcita April 9, 2013 at 8:08 pm #

    Reblogged this on Debrincon's Blog and commented:
    I support helping this CYCLE of VIOLENCE & ABUSE & Sexual RAPE NOT TO CONTiNUE, It’s Not ANY NATIVE’s Tradition to have this happen!!

  3. Liz April 9, 2013 at 8:11 pm #

    “beautiful young woman” really stood out to me in that statement by Landry even before I read your comment on it. Those three words in that statement speak volumes about the culture.

    • gerhard April 12, 2013 at 6:03 am #

      …yes……what does it matter that she was beautiful, or young? does that make the bullying and rape (if a rape was committed) worse?

      • ricky September 25, 2013 at 12:03 pm #

        Na, doesnt of course. ;). What matters is somebody suffered and died needlessly. Somebody who may well have had opportunity to do great things. What further matters, if you know victims of violence, be supportive of them.

    • ricky September 25, 2013 at 12:00 pm #

      She was a beautiful young woman though. Being beautiful doesnt mean it wasnt a crime to rape her and some rape victims are not, always, by societies standards beautiful. A beaitiful person i knew, wasnt physically “beautiful” but sadly she was still murdered by a sexual predator. A guy i knew was also raped, by his dad. Cant say whether ue is good looking or not but he is a good person.

  4. physicsandwhiskey April 9, 2013 at 8:38 pm #

    She died because everyone — male and female — is conditioned to participate in rape culture, to seek peer approval by denigrating and devaluing sexuality, and to act as though minor teen males don’t need to be held responsible for their actions.

  5. Arcee E April 9, 2013 at 8:49 pm #

    I do hope that petition does something. I signed it as well. If we’re meant to have a conscience at all as a species, or if there’s any shred of human dignity left in the world, then the police should investigate this. This poor girl. When I first read this, it initially made me angry. When I considered it more, that anger turned to rage.

    That statement made by the justice minister was just… laughable. It didn’t even really address the problem; if anything, he protected the boys the perpetrated that crime against her just as much as the police did (and I apologize if I’m not really up-to-date on how Canadian politics and the Canadian justice system works; I imagine it’s just as convoluted and labyrinthine as it is down here in the States).

    Whether she’s beautiful or not doesn’t matter; whether it ended up online or not isn’t the root of the issue — the fact that she was raped and shamed into taking her own life, without the police taking her seriously, without someone actually taking her goddamned side and protecting her, that’s the heart of it all. He should be ashamed of himself for making that statement.

    “We need to have more dialogue with our young people about respect and about support to educate our young boys and our young girls about what’s appropriate behavior, what’s not appropriate behavior.” Bullshit. Fucking bullshit. How does rape even factor in to that? What in the world did she do that wasn’t appropriate? Why do we even need to tell our children that it’s bad to rape people? Shouldn’t this be common fucking sense? I despise our culture, with all its fucked up insinuations and the reinforcement that somehow something makes this behavior okay, be it movies, books, music, whatever.

    Why must we hurt each other? Is there some cosmic hate quota that needs to be met in order for the human race to continue on? When will we stop and realize that the world really, really, really is big enough for everyone, regardless of gender or anything else that makes us different from each other? Stories like this are just so … I don’t know. Draining. Hard to stomach. Seen from a modern viewpoint, it makes me realize that a lot of us are still a bunch of fucking barbarous shits that do what they want to whom they want whenever they want.

    It makes me ashamed of my gender, and it makes me ashamed to be human.

    • iguesswhatiamtryingtosayis April 14, 2013 at 11:11 pm #

      Our government is like many others and the politics here, though much more straightforward than in the US, are always a little skewed. As a mom of two young girls, 3 and 5, I found this story excruciating. I live not far from her home. I am a Canadian, middle class married woman. I suddenly am tormented with fears as to what my sweet girls will face in the years coming up. Why do I have to teach my children not to get raped? I do not want to enter into an all men are pigs diatribe, as I do not believe that, however the fact that a victim of rape is treated like a liar the moment she comes forward is quite troubling. We need our laws amended to counter these mentalities? Sure, but our children need to be taught right from wrong, and without getting to the point of saying rape is bad – that will be apparent – we need to start with some pretty common sense basics about how all people treat each other.

      I am even more troubled by the bullying in this case (and let’s face it, she was actually mobbed). She did not deserve that in any way. The day before this happened several of her abusers were her friends, so what the hell is in their heads to presume this is the reaction they should have to her experience. How is THAT the way they felt they should behave? Who are the people guiding these youths?

      I currently, in my daughter’s first year of school, aged 5, have to explain to her that bully she faces (another 5 year old) is NOT her friend, and that the physical and verbal torment she suffers is not the way anybody treats anybody, especially a “friend”. She knows she is not supposed to do that to others, and I do not recall sitting her down and drilling into her that she cannot treat people this way. I am talking about it a lot this week. Up until this past year, I have never needed to talk so much about anything in order for my kids to get it. Even my 3 year old knows hitting is wrong, neither of them swear, they do not push other kids with the intent of hurting them. I am afraid for my girls’ futures and the torment they will possibly endure, if I consider what this five year old is doing now, and what means she may be capable of at 10 or 15. This girl, growled at me once, and told me she doesn’t like me, when I was trying to maneuver a group of 5 year olds around a piñata. Growled at me?

      We need to be parents first, and all else second, third, fourth. We need our kids to understand the basics of human kindness, compassion, the power of being good. Our schools need to have the power, and take responsibility to add some value to the morals and ethics our society expects.

      In Canada, for a long time, we have a frustration with our Young Offenders Act, which appears to consistently protect our youth, long before holding them accountable for their actions, but I also want to kick parents in the head for the times their kids have been guilty beyond any excuse, and they say…”Not my child”. This is a part of my anger in this case. These boys’ parents should be holding them over a barrel, limiting their socializing to nil and requiring top grades from all of them, preventing them from going to parties and perhaps taking away all sporting and leisure activities as punishment for this act, even if it wasn’t rape (which I do NOT believe). If my son were to have been a part of such a lewd and inappropriate interaction at 15 or 16, I would have him by the ear every second of every day, until he finished medical school (if you get my drift)

      No matter what else we learn from the re-opened investigation, and no matter what anyone can prove, the very first thing all of these boys should have done, was stand up for this girl against all the other abusers she faced for the last 1.5 years. The fact that not one of them ever did, not ever, proves their guilt in my opinion. Each and every person involved, including these four boys should have to apologize to her parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins and friends and especially her two little sisters in person and have no further access to any social media or texting until they turn 19, because it is more than apparent none of them have the common sense, nor the common decency to know what they have done. I wonder how many of them are still wandering the halls of their high school acting like they did nothing wrong.

  6. Catherine April 9, 2013 at 8:50 pm #

    God bless her and her family, may they find peace, and may Justice be served

  7. nancy healy April 9, 2013 at 8:56 pm #

    please make there be consequences for those young men. If not, we are all in trouble!!!!

  8. Elaine Plummer April 9, 2013 at 9:37 pm #

    Another horrid result of leniency in a rape crime. I signed the petition, as I have done with many others. Sometimes it helps, so I will keep on signing and supporting organizations that help victims .

  9. The Real Cie April 9, 2013 at 10:03 pm #

    Is it just me or is this kind of shit becoming more and more common? What kind of monsters even begin to think about committing such a heinous act, and what kinds of pieces of filth brand the victim of a rape a slut rather than being outraged? We live in a very sick society. May this poor girl rest in peace, and may her assailants and detractors not know a moment’s peace.

    • Name Witheld April 10, 2013 at 1:40 pm #

      No. The same thing happened to me in 1973. The boy was the one who attached me, but it was the girls in our community that led me to attempt suicide.

  10. The Real Cie April 9, 2013 at 10:03 pm #

    Reblogged this on The Cheese Whines and commented:
    Is it just me or is this kind of shit becoming more and more common? What kind of monsters even begin to think about committing such a heinous act, and what kinds of pieces of filth brand the victim of a rape a slut rather than being outraged? We live in a very sick society. May this poor girl rest in peace, and may her assailants and detractors not know a moment’s peace.

  11. Connie April 9, 2013 at 10:04 pm #

    Yeah, society did fail and it will keep failing until more help and protection is freely available for kids and teenagers. These situations are always awful, maybe she would never forget it, but i’m sure she could of been saved… Or maybe that is just me projecting. Meh. Great post, thanks, but for real, thanks. These posts are important.

  12. AmazingSusan April 9, 2013 at 10:15 pm #

    Shared on my FB page and now going worldwide: https://www.facebook.com/AmazingWomenRock

    Thank you for an excellent post. What a tragedy.

  13. Lori April 9, 2013 at 10:57 pm #

    I cannot stop crying. What a tragedy. This is why we MUST be raising up boys to be protectors of girls and women, that take a stand against violence of any kind, that are honest, respectful, responsible, hardworking and trustful. This doesn’t just happen. It starts with talking and modeling this from the very beginning of their lives and not stopping. This is why we MUST be talking and teaching our girls how to fight for themselves and empowering them in every way possible. We MUST believe them when they tell us things and do something about it and not hide it out of embarrassment. We MUST have open communication with our children and not raise them with double standards and have thinking such as “boys will be boys” and turn our heads when we see any signs of them being violent or a perpetrator. When we allow young boys to disrespect girls/women even if it’s in gesture or with words we are giving the message that this is okay. We MUST be having the hard embarrassing and uncomfortable conversations with our children about sex and rape and violence of any kind. We MUST be willing to see when our children are showing signs that they need help and then getting them the help before they make the choice to rape a girl. I am so sad for this family.

    • gerhard April 12, 2013 at 6:04 am #

      we must raise girls to protect themselves….actually we must raise all children to protect themselves.

  14. Heather, Mmm... is for Mommy April 9, 2013 at 11:08 pm #

    Let’s hope that someday we, as a society, get our collective shit together… because now we’re looking pretty bleak.

  15. hopper April 9, 2013 at 11:17 pm #

    can we get the names of the 4 boys please?

  16. Orpheus John April 9, 2013 at 11:36 pm #

    Like all of us, I am deeply troubled by this story. Is there anything we can learn from it to make the world a better place? I think so. It’s another reminder that if you do a lot more alcohol or drugs than you’re used to, and you’re with people who are a lot drunker than they’re used to being, then bad things are more likely to happen.

    Does this condone anything? Does it mean that anyone is less deserving of prison? Of course not. And would the same thing have happened if vodka wasn’t involved? Of course I can’t answer that. You’ll have to evaluate that on your own based on what you know about the story and teen behaviour. But if we want to protect our children, I don’t think we should be afraid to mention that this was a bad thing that happened after excessive teen drinking.

    Apologies if this sounds like “blame the victim”. That’s not my intent.

    • Jajomo April 9, 2013 at 11:56 pm #

      I didn’t read your comment until after I posted mine but I can’t help but agree. The victim should never be blamed, but people need to also realize that there are bad people out there and helping our kids make better decisions to keep the out of harms way is our responsibility.

    • Meg Fleming April 10, 2013 at 4:02 pm #

      The drinking makes is CLEAR there was a rape. One can not consent to sex if one is inebriated. Sex with a drunk person constitutes RAPE. If the perps are drunk – they are also guilty. One cannot legally operate a motor vehicle while drunk, why should they be exonerated from a physical crime against another human that was fed by drinking? The photo taken should have tipped off the police to the fact that 1) at the very least THAT crime (child pornography) was committed and should be prosecuted, and 2) the criminals had zippo fear of being held accountable since one of them actually documented the crime and then dispersed evidence. The police need to investigate their own criminal negligence. We all need to understand that this is NOT RARE. It happens all the time and we are ALL looking the other way every time we go about the business of our normal day.

    • Purple Library Guy April 11, 2013 at 5:56 am #

      It sounds like “blame the victim”.
      It also sounds worse than useless in much the way insisting on sex education that refuses to mention contraception because of a desire to promote abstinence, is worse than useless.
      I’m sure your intentions were good, but this is a terrible way to approach the issue.

  17. Jajomo April 9, 2013 at 11:51 pm #

    This is tragic and horrifying, as a parent the situation sickens me but as a parent i also have to ask where were the parents the night their 15 year old daughter was out drinking with half a dozen boys?

    The monsters who did this have no excuse for their sickening actions but as a parent of a daughter I can tell you I KNOW the society I live in and my daughter wouldn’t have ever been in that situation.

    My heart breaks for the family but I see a lot of finger pointing and no real solutions to a very big problem. You want your kids safe? Take the time to be a bigger part of their lives and stop depending on other people to make sure your kids are safe.

    • Annette Estevez April 10, 2013 at 4:12 am #

      Really Jajomo? How old is your child? I had that 15 year old girl who was a straight A student until some vicious idiot turned her into the school “slut”. We cared for her and tried to know her every move, but teens will lie to be with friends. Don’t judge her parents until you are in their shoes. Some teens make it through unscratched and their parents live the illusion that they did no wrong, others do not get that luxury. Count your blessings if you don’t! My daughter still lives, but it has taken her years to only partially undo what was done.

      • Jajomo April 10, 2013 at 2:31 pm #

        I didn’t judge anyone I said instead of pointing the finger elsewhere see what you as a parent might have done to help protect you children better.

        There is no excuse for what happened but it happened. As a parent it’s my job to protect my children and in 17 years as a parent my daughter has called me 3 times because she needed a ride home, once she had been drinking and the other 2 times people she was with had been drinking and she didn’t want to take a bus at the late hour.

        I have always taught and made my daughter feel like she could come to me and talk in any situation, uncomfortable talks are no fun but I’ve had everyone you can think of with my daughter to make her aware that the world is not place you’re safe when you’re not careful.

        I’m sorry for the terrible tragedy that happened to your daughter and any girl for that matter but don’t sit her and blame everyone else without looking in the mirror and asking hard questions

      • Meg Fleming April 10, 2013 at 4:07 pm #

        I had the same experience as you did, Annette. My daughter, a top student, caring, loving, creative, brilliant young woman was raped and then bullied. I had homeschooled my daughter from the time she was born and built my life around caring for her and her siblings and this still happened to her. (I was routinely criticized for putting too much time into my children. There is no way any woman can get anything right in this culture such that she is not blamed.) Jajomo is just another vicim blamer. This is pure denial, as we all want to think we are save from something that affects such a high percentage of girls/women. That is even why the teen girls bully. They mostly want to see themselves as safe from this. It is just another symptom of the rape culture we all confuse with culture culture.

      • Jajomo April 10, 2013 at 4:21 pm #

        So the many many times I say there is no excuse means nothing because I don’t follow everyone else and look to place blame on others? Keep living in your fantasy world and I’ll keep living with the knowledge that the world isn’t all rainbows and butterflies and look for solutions instead of blaming others.

      • Purple Library Guy April 11, 2013 at 6:04 am #

        So, what, parents aren’t “others” so it’s OK to blame them?
        Your comment was nastily hurtful to the remaining victims. This might perhaps have been counterbalanced if you had a point, but you don’t. Your comment was simply asinine and deluded. Teenagers go to get-togethers with friends unless you lock them in the basement from age 12-18, which would be a horrific act. I don’t see why they have less right than others to expect they won’t get raped when they go to a perfectly ordinary social gathering.

        Any pain you may feel from the rudeness of someone pointing this out is utterly eclipsed by the pain parents who lost their daughter will feel from people like you kicking them while they’re down. You should be ashamed.

    • linottemelodieuse April 11, 2013 at 1:34 am #

      The issue is, she very well may have trusted these boys because they were supposed to be her friends. We’ve all had times in our lives when we’ve mistakenly trusted people because we think we know them. If it hadn’t been her, it would have been somewhere else at a different party on a different night with these boys. Rapists are predators. They will take any chance they can and run with it. From what I see here, it seems as though you’re implying that since she was with them, she should have expected that this might be a consequence and just deal with it.

      • Jajomo April 15, 2013 at 6:24 pm #

        AGAIN I say I don’t think there’s any excuse for what happened, no PERSON should ever be subjected to what she was put through, that being said the majority of the community is talking about this poor innocent GIRL and the MEN who killed her….

        When interviewed, Rehtaeh’s mother stated rather nonchalantly that she drank more than normal that night and had trouble remembering. More than normal?! She was 15!

        It was also wasn’t reported until days after the incident, AFTER the photo was seen by her. I hear that makes it waaaay easier for the police to build a case.

        Anonymous also found that the police interviewed several girls at the party who stated she was consensually having sex with multiple partners before the alcohol was flowing.

        How many of you have seen the photo? Clear picture? Easy to see who’s who and what’s happening? You’re not sure? Weird since everyone is so sure the police botched the investigation with such a slam dunk.

        Police don’t prosecute, police investigate. Lawyers decide if charges are warranted and in this case it was decided by the crown that they’d never get a conviction so they didn’t proceed.

        You don’t want to blame the poor parents, fine, blame the police who have procedures they have to follow and only use half the facts to justify why everyone except the parents deserve some of the blame. Typical social knee jerk reaction, we only have half the Facts? It’s cool I’m morally outraged so I’ll spew bulls#*t and it’ll all be fine.

        We blame society but we are society

      • Jan April 15, 2013 at 11:39 pm #

        again we judge – again we blame the victim – what does this say about our society ?

  18. mmm April 10, 2013 at 12:15 am #

    I wish this story weren’t so familiar. I remember people talking about recent rape incidents in India and the Middle East and making vaguely superior comments about how law enforcement and overall culture is so ‘backwards’ in those places that rape is rarely prosecuted and the victim is usually blamed and outcast… which is unfortunately true… but let’s look in the mirror, shall we?

  19. Alex April 10, 2013 at 12:52 am #

    **Now*** you realize there is an absence of grownups???? It took you this long? That war was fought by the Cultural Marxists in the 60′s though it goes on today.

    Would a 15 year old girl be going unescorted to a party? No. Nor would there be parties full of degenerates in the first place.

    If you want to change this, begin to tell the story to people who haven’t heard about it. Just start off with a 15 year old going to a party and then ask if she should go. If your “friend” says “yes” and even ridicules you DON’T EVERY ASSOCIATE WITH THEM AGAIN. If they look at you like you are a moron and say “no, of course not” then they are good people. But most of you are total and complete cowards and even this frightens you. You are too eager to be liked than to be right…..to be a grownup.

    • talldave2 April 10, 2013 at 8:14 pm #

      Yeah this whole story is pretty fishy. Four guys drag off a teenage girl and forcibly rape her at a party, and no one objects? Maybe everyone at the party agrees she was an enthusiastic participant, thatwould explain why no one was charged.

      It’s sad that society judges women for being promiscuous, but the lynch-mob mentality here is just as wrong.

      • alex b. April 13, 2013 at 3:40 am #

        You really should do your research before making a common like that.Rehtaeh was invited by a girl friend to go to a friends place to watch movies.There wasnt a party,they were 15 years old.there was 2 guys and two girls there,and then 2 other guys showed up with a bottle of vodka.They snugged it in.The boys got the girls drunk,Rehtaeh passed out.the other girl left.the boys raped Rehtaeh while she was passed out.She woke half way through it and tried to fight them off in a drunken way.The boys video tape it.Then put it on twitter and youtube.She was raped by 4 little bastards that couldnt get laid any other way than to rape a child they gone drunk.A child that probably only drank to fit in.Anyone that would blame her for what happened is no better than the 4 losers that raped her.Taking advantage of someone passed out is wrong and with everything those little bastards did to this girl,well if she was my daughter,I would gut all 4 of those boys and leave them for the rats.

    • linottemelodieuse April 11, 2013 at 4:46 am #

      I don’t think you understand: These boys would have done it to some other girl at another party if she hadn’t been there. Stop blaming the victim in this. Most rapes are committed by someone the victim knows. For all we know, she may have believed she could have trusted them. It’s not her fault that this happened.

  20. Lindsay Reid April 10, 2013 at 1:01 am #

    This breaks my heart! These BOYS should have to pay for what they did! Such a precious life was lost because they have no respect for themselves or others. I hope karma kicks their ass!!!

  21. kartschedeen April 10, 2013 at 2:39 am #

    Reblogged this on Hear Me Roar.

  22. michelle smith April 10, 2013 at 2:58 am #

    I feel so saddened to hear of this tragic heinous and disgusting rape of such a young girl, by 4 men..I cannot fathom how terrified she must have been throughout the entire horrific ordeal, and I can imagine that they weren’t “gentle” with her. If this was her first experience, then that part of her was viviously taken by men that had no right to violate her body as well as her morals..no matter about that, just wanted to iiterate the importance of a young girl to have control over her own body and the absolute lack of disrespect those men had for hers..it is particularly sad that she was failed by her peers, and adults surrounding her in the community..did no one notice that she would 100 percent NEED/BENEFIT tremendously from months, not weeks, of counselling from this ordeal. She likely suffered post traumatic stress, particularly in relation to the abusive nature of the crime, but also because she was completely humiliated online by horrible people..how can anyone watch or condone the watch of another innocent person being violently raped? Poor girl..she must have been mortified to know people were able to watch her be violated, and to know that her privacy and repect for her body was completely disregarded and no one cared. She is a victim of many, many crimes and I wish I could have had some time with her , time to console her and to really help her surmount from such an unimaginable tragedy..she was young and those men might not have physically killed her, but that night they decided to rape her, they did kill her. A woman never fully recovers from such an indecent act of violence on her own body. This young girl deserved more than this..she deserved to live and she did not deserve for a single eye to watch that heinous video. I hope no one did, or would, but in today’s society, it is highly unlikely. I pray for you and your family sweet young girl. I will think of this case as my young girl grows and I try to protect her. RIP Rehteah..your name will be remembered by many and I also pray for your family to be strong..

  23. setinmotion April 10, 2013 at 3:28 am #

    This story has given me chills. The society we live in continues to shock and horrify me. Only until every single one of us, adults, teenagers, men and women, understand that rape, under any circumstance is NOT OK, this is going to continue. And it’s horrific. This poor, poor girl.

  24. Tangential April 10, 2013 at 9:18 am #

    Hmm…

    Heather Backwards seemed like a pretty name for her now deceased daughter (according to a Globe and Mail story).

    For some reason, I guess, Ahsatan was ruled out.

  25. sue April 10, 2013 at 10:59 am #

    Listen up you idiots who would say” what was a 15 year old doing in that situation”….who cares why, the thing is she was but did she deserve this, the rotten pigs, now if I was the mother of one of those sons I would step up get counseling for my son, as we all know we would still love them, but I would certainly make them own up to it or do everything possible to have cleared her name if not, what about the pics, see ….own up parents….as you are just as responsible, get them boys help or they will be ruined for their life too, and just do the right thing in her honor for crying out loud….

  26. C.o.d.crazy April 10, 2013 at 12:27 pm #

    Yes this is a very tragic event that happened but before you go shouting from your soapbox you should at least get your facts straight. Before blaming people why don’t you actually find out what happened with the investigation first. Neither you or I are a lawyer or cop so lets wait until the investigation is complete before you go making aligations about the case. I’ve sat on jury duty before and never would I come to a conclusion before getting all the facts

    • talldave2 April 10, 2013 at 8:09 pm #

      Don’t try to confuse our lynch mob with your reason and logic. We demand justice!

      Honestly, the only thing I can say for sure about this is the mom is just an atrocious parent.

      • macmarine April 14, 2013 at 3:15 am #

        Honestly, if my son had ever done such a thing to a girl – under-age or not, intoxicated or not – I would have beaten him to a pulp myself!

    • Purple Library Guy April 11, 2013 at 6:09 am #

      Well, of course. The authorities are always right and all’s for the best in this best of all possible worlds. We should never rock the boat just because of a little thing like someone getting raped and hounded to suicide with no attempt to give her justice.

  27. SadandMad April 10, 2013 at 3:37 pm #

    A few months ago, in BC a young girl Amanda Todd committed suicide after being “Bullied” — however, as the details of the case came to light, I began to wonder about girls today. Today this case also makes me wonder why at a time in history, where it has never been better to be a girl in our society, in terms of opportunity, rights, why are girls so DISPARATE for male attention and approval? This concerns me. Why do these middle class girls, with their whole life ahead of them, with a supportive and loving family put themselves in harms way just to gain the attention of boys? I don’t know the answer, and I guess the media plays a huge role in this. I remember my brother (a great father of two very good boys) saying how hard it is to raise boys to respect women, when women don’t respect themselves.

    I think the “don’t ask, don’t tell” days of sexual abuse should be behind us, shouldn’t they? I mean in this Dr. Phil Universe where everyone’s problems are hung out to dry, it’s hard to imagine a girl who didn’t know what to do after an attack. Or, that it was indeed, a violation… Understand me, I am not blaming the victim here, my questions are more about a society where these attitudes and crimes still happen, and where we as women have not learned that we have to put ourselves first, and stop seeking validation from those around us, at the cost of our own mental health.

    • macmarine April 14, 2013 at 4:43 am #

      “Why do these middle class girls, with their whole life ahead of them, with a supportive and loving family put themselves in harms way just to gain the attention of boys?”

      Have you ever heard of a thing called puberty? Have you heard that the evolving sexual drive and curiosity about anything to do with sexuality are among the strongest drives in adolescent human beings?

      Add to that the fact, that during puberty our brains go through a radical process of physiological change and reorganization. The result is (more often than not) a teen exhibiting unexplainable mood-swings and bouts of aggression, does outrageously stupid and dangerous things … because (among other structures) her/his prefrontal cortex isn’t up to the task of efficiently controlling these impulsive and emotionally-charged behaviors just yet.

      The task of watching out for and protecting your child during this developmental phase can become incredibly difficult –– even for parents, who previously had a loving and mutually respectful relationship with their kid. Sometimes they just don’t get it, why their “little bundle of joy” suddenly turned into a maniac.

      In conclusion, there’s no easy way to deal with this. For me as a parent, the main objective was to do everything I could to keep the relationship alive, to explain my own fears without overprotecting and restricting our kid too much … and then to ride it out and hope for the best. Even if your kid is unusually smart and self-controlled it can nevertheless get into major trouble due to the dangerous influence of group-dynamics among teens.

      This is NOT AN APOLOGY for what those boys did to Rehtaeh, though! Even when considering the challenges posed by those “under construction” brains EVERY TEENAGE BOY (UNLESS HE IS A SOCIOPATH) has the moral capacity to absolutely know that violent aggression against a helpless girl is utterly wrong, criminal and reprehensible! In fact, even a kindergardener (beyond a certain stage of cognitive development) could tell you that, because they have that thing called EMPATHY, which is an essential part of our moral compass: the basic “Do unto others …” imperative.

      On the other hand, those four juvenile rapists most probably are functional sociopaths, meaning they have little to no empathy for others, they don’t care about the pain and suffering they inflict on their victim … they just “wanna have fun”! Therefor, teaching those boys “values” and “ethical behavior” may be well-intentioned but completely misses the point: they knew that what they did was just plain wrong and a serious crime. They just didn’t give a shit, because they thought they could get away with it (and unfortunately, they were right).

      This could be a result of bad, reckless or completely absent parenting (as in “spoiled rich brats”, or functional sociopaths), in which case you would have to look at the family of the offenders. Or they could be essential sociopaths (~4 to 5% of the whole population) which would make matters even worse, because this is a serious personality defect (thereby not the parents’ fault at all) that is considered untreatable (i.e. “hard-wired” into the brain). That is the material that –– after repeated offenses –– is best kept in a maximum security prison for the rest of their miserable lives!

  28. John Valentine April 10, 2013 at 5:24 pm #

    Anyone knows the names of the perpetrators ?

  29. hayhoul chankiry April 10, 2013 at 5:44 pm #

    i am so sad too. from chankiry ( cambodai )

  30. Eric Veen April 10, 2013 at 6:19 pm #

    Here is nothing left to say, only feeling sadness and I am just astonished that most of the comments here are just convictions in all different directions – WHY?!? NOTHING good comes from that!!

  31. Nancy McIntyre April 10, 2013 at 6:22 pm #

    Excuse me, but am I in a nightmare??THIS sort of stuff goes on in third world countries where they are very slow to evolve and are barbaric in their treatment of women! I am outraged at the progress many women made in the last few decades is being eroded by a few barbarians! This has to be stopped!

  32. Sadie Petunia April 10, 2013 at 6:58 pm #

    Reblogged this on Sadie says… and commented:
    “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” Martin Luther King Jr

    • Jan April 11, 2013 at 3:21 am #

      Profound words quoted by a child in pain – unfortunately no one listened or understood her pain -especially not the justice system – they desperately failed this young woman and her family.

  33. chrisb April 10, 2013 at 8:20 pm #

    I share the sorrow and outrage expressed here. My feeelings are for Rehtaeh,her family and anyone else reading this blog who has suffered rape and even more so if their suffering has not been recognised by society and the legal system.

    I do however disagree with the statement that ‘Saying that we need to educate boys and girls about appropriate behaviour is victim-blaming.’ Educating boys and girls that intercourse without consent is wrong always, in whatever circumstance with whoever dressed however is telling boys and girls that the boys are doing wrong and that the fault is 100% the boys. Educating boys and girls with this message is telling the victims of rape that they are not to blame at all.

    Sexual harassment is a continuum of behaviour, ranging from making someone uncomfortable to horrific violence. At the lighter end, women themselves are divided as to whether they are even being abused. Some women see certain types of behaviour as acceptable, while other women view the same behaviour as unacceptable. It is here, well short of rape, that everyone, male or female, heterosexual or homosexual, needs to be clear as to what is ‘appropriate’ behaviour and what is not.

    • gerhard April 12, 2013 at 6:13 am #

      as of now, there are allegations of rape, and the prosecutors have stated they did not have evidence to prove rape. It is possible there was no rape. As for the photos, those too are “alleged” to exist. I am sure any crown that had actually see evidence of child porn would have latched on to that like a pitbull. Some times, even though “everyone” “knows” what happened, in reality no-one knows the truth, or the truth may be something else altogether. We should not blame victims, and we should also not rush to conclusions that might be unfounded.

  34. hitandrun1964 April 10, 2013 at 8:55 pm #

    Several years ago I was called for jury duty. It was a rape case. A young woman went into a bathroom, in a building in downtown Chicago, where she worked, and she was attacked while there. The female judge asked all of us if we had been raped or if anyone close to us had been raped. Every single person in the room raised their hand. She asked each person who they knew or if it had been them. One women said she had been raped and the judge said that since she was a lawyer she should be able to put aside her “personal” feelings and be able to just see the facts. The judge then dismissed those she and the lawyers asking questions, felt were not suitable. The judge never asked if anyone sitting in front of her was a rapist (of any gender). I felt that this was outrageous, since they did not want people on the jury who had been raped to muddy the case against the man on trial but apparently they didn’t think that another rapist would be on the side of the accused? In my original comment, I did not say that only women were raped. I said that the law protects a certain population. People have had to fight for civil rights, and women’s rights, because many people are not included in our justice system, as far as protection under the law goes. I don’t know the outcome of the case because I was dismissed for having worked on a hotline.

    And you can be the most doting, cautious and loving parent in the world and still not be able to protect your children. After my young high-school daughter was attacked by 3 boys she had known since 1st grade, across from her high school, while getting lunch, my husband and son went to each of their houses that night and told each boy that if they spoke to her or touched her or even looked at her ever again they would kill them. Their mothers were hysterical and couldn’t believe that their sons would or could ever do anything like that. None of the boys denied what they tried to do. They didn’t rape my child because when the guy on top of her pushed himself up so that he could tear her jeans off she pulled her leg between his legs and kicked him in the face. I then took her to a Master in Karate and he taught her how to quickly kill anyone who came near her again. He was a wonderful man and I can never thank him enough. When a boy in her school started beating her up the police said that I should have my son beat him up. Again, underage, they could do nothing. They did, however, put him in jail overnight when he attacked a boy in the parking lot. And I live in a pretty nice neighborhood, believe me. I almost ran over that kid myself. Fortunately, he backed up to where I couldn’t really get him with my car so I just jumped out, and believe me when I tell you it took every bit of strength I had not to rip his face off. So I wasn’t trying to omit anyone in my original comment. I am saying that there is a higher rate of violence against females than males in certain areas and that the laws do not protect females in many ways.

    I had a guy come up to me in class (college) and say that he had been watching me and would rape me but his one brother was in jail and his other brother was dead and he couldn’t do that to his mother. It was night and I had to walk through the parking lot to get
    to my car. This is how we live. No matter how much I wish things were different…they aren’t. This is how we live.

    • Purple Library Guy April 11, 2013 at 6:13 am #

      Wow. That’s quite the story. A lot of food for thought there, thanks.

    • gerhard April 12, 2013 at 6:16 am #

      Are convicted rapists permitted to sit on jurys?

  35. Landi April 11, 2013 at 12:35 am #

    I agree with this 100%. This poor girl and thousands like her are failed by our systems. They should not be blamed or ashamed. Those who do get a rape kit done and the kits aren’t tested? Appalling. We need to do more to eliminate the rape kit backlog and treat survivors like survivors instead of creating more shame. They deserve better, and their attackers deserve nothing but prison time.

  36. anathemadivice April 11, 2013 at 1:35 am #

    Thank you for writing this. And thank you even more for the link to the petition. I didn’t even know that was up – I’ll be sure to add it to my blog for Rehteah. Thank you again.

  37. linottemelodieuse April 11, 2013 at 1:35 am #

    Reblogged this on Linotte Melodieuse and commented:
    And here come the MRAs out of the woodwork…

  38. hitandrun1964 April 11, 2013 at 3:21 am #

    I am new to blogging. I have never commented on anything before. I’m not sure why people call other people names just because they don’t agree with them. I don’t see how that furthers the discussion and it doesn’t make sense. So I will continue to work in other ways that have a better chance of success. Good luck.

    • Tia B (@TiasethB) April 13, 2013 at 6:15 pm #

      Peace. Your words made a lot of sense and were a source of relief in the midst of rape apology, victim blaming and astounding lack of compassion.

  39. Judith April 11, 2013 at 5:02 am #

    This is truely sad. were the hell is the law? How can thewse boys get away with this?Where is the law? Are women not human beings? I suppose the boys parents are saying that going to trail could ruin the boys lives,or got them thrown off the soccer team. They rapped and killed a 15 year old girl.

  40. lorna cule April 11, 2013 at 2:15 pm #

    Shame on the RCMP and those 4young boys a beautiful life is gone because of this senseless act

    • gerhard April 12, 2013 at 6:17 am #

      were the boys convicted of rape? was there evidence to proceed with a rape trial?

  41. I’ve read a lot of other stories like this. Very true first statement. Thank you for sharing.

  42. Shelly1960 April 11, 2013 at 6:37 pm #

    Where were the parents of the boys who were accused and interviewed? Being underage the parents would have to have known. What did the school board do, other than help her transfer to another school? What can we do as parents if the authorities drag their butt in the investigation thereby ensuring no charges could ever be laid. I understand the boys were not even interviewed until 10 months after the incident occurred. I suspect many students know who took the picture and posted it. They need to come forward. True, society needs to change. What that change should be I don’t know but something needs to be done, before another child dies, another mother/father/family loses the most precious person in their lives, their child.

  43. Jim Steeves April 13, 2013 at 9:57 pm #

    Canada is supposed to be a more civilized country than other countries, and in fact, we are no better than anyone else. The boys responsible for raping this young girl and making her commit suicide should hang. I guarantee that if it was my daughter, I would bury them.

  44. Shaktahary April 14, 2013 at 5:06 am #

    Reblogged this on Cloudless and commented:
    =’[

  45. Jajomo April 16, 2013 at 12:25 am #

    On April 19, 1989, a 39-year-old woman named Trisha Meili went for a jog in New York’s Central Park. She was raped and violently assaulted.
    Partly because of the attack’s brutality, partly because of news reports the perpetrators were a gang of “wilding” black youths and partly because of who the victim was—white, a Yale MBA, a Wall Street investment banker—“the Central Park Jogger” case stirred global pre-Internet passions and angry demands police arrest someone—now.
    The police did charge five teenaged boys, four blacks and an Hispanic. Though some were juveniles, police and media publicly identified them anyway. Four confessed. They were all convicted and sentenced to lengthy prison terms.
    “Justice” had been served.
    Flash forward 13 years.
    The boys, now men, had served their sentences and been released.
    That’s when another man confessed to the crime. His DNA matched that found at the crime scene.
    The original convictions were—too late—vacated.
    What went wrong? In the rush for “justice,” certain inconvenient facts got overlooked. The confessions, which often contradicted one another about what had happened and were all later recanted, had been coerced by a police force under intense public pressure to nail the bastards. None of the crime scene DNA matched any of the suspects; the only DNA collected came from one, then-unknown-now-known person.
    Why am I telling you all this?
    Because, at a time of understandable, social-media-enflamed passion about the tragic suicide of Rehteah Parsons, we need to be cautious about what we think we know.
    The no-name hactivists at Anonymous who, ironically, threaten to name Parsons’ alleged rapists if their hang-’em-high version of justice isn’t done—and done quickly—claim to know who did it. They also claim names of alleged perpetrators being circulated by others are wrong. How do they really know either?
    And would what they imagine they know actually stand up in court, where the evidence bar rises above an email allegation, a Facebook post or a 140-character tweet?
    By all means, let’s have an independent public review of how police, prosecutors, the school and others handled this case.
    But let’s not assume its outcome.
    Or presume mob vengeance is justice for Rehteah or anyone else.

  46. heart disease in women May 17, 2013 at 7:12 pm #

    I could not resist commenting. Exceptionally well
    written!

  47. Steve Lawrence (@sharialawfan) May 21, 2013 at 8:10 pm #

    Only a sick, debased culture could accommodate such a vile crime. Under Sharia Law, the infidels would be beheaded and the reprobates disfigured. This is dissuasive threat to all potential rapists and comforting security to potential (female) victims, knowing that they live in a society that takes their safety seriously and promotes well-being.

    • Jan May 23, 2013 at 12:38 am #

      Steve – question – in which culture does this Sharialaw exsist ?

    • Susan from Aus May 25, 2013 at 9:01 pm #

      Hmmmm Is this the same ‘culture’ that puts The woman in jail (and worse) when she has reported being raped because she had sex outside marriage?

    • Gerhard Gehrmann May 25, 2013 at 9:37 pm #

      You are an idiot. Sharia law is idiotic and female hating.

      • moustafac May 27, 2013 at 10:38 pm #

        Actual sharia law (which is a redundancy since sharia means law, but whatever) isn’t anti-woman.

        The problem lies with morons like the one above (sharialwfan, just so we’re clear) using faith to justify their own sick agendas.

    • milo rosenbloom July 1, 2013 at 2:42 pm #

      ….that’s right, a society such as Pakistan where honor killings happen daily under shariah law…you Steve Lawrence are a troll, an idiot, or a moslem wannabe who lives in his mom’s basement…now I get it…you are an idiotic moslem troll….mohammed thinks you’re cute when you suck cock btw….

  48. Concerned July 1, 2013 at 9:36 am #

    Hello,
    I notice you wrote an article on Rehtaeh, several months back. Many did.

    I am just a concerned person (in Canada), but in checking on/off to see how it is progressing re possible charges, it starts to seem as if nothing will come of it.
    I wonder, if you (and others) were to write a “follow up” sort of piece, and as for folks to sign the petition, if it might spur on the authorities.
    http://www.change.org/petitions/justice-for-rehtaeh-demand-an-independent-inquiry-into-the-police-investigation

    It has been rather puzzling, so much evidence, pics, text messages, confessions, etc, yet they took months to even interview accused, and no one has been charged.

    One comes to wonder, WHY?

    It happened in Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia. Quite recently this very small town was again in the news, for a first round Hockey Draft Pick. As they have been before.
    It seems to be a serious source for the Hockey / Sports great.

    Is there a lack of investigatory will to pursue charges, possibly to protect the town image as a Sports Powerhouse?

    I do not know Rehtaeh or family. But, the entire situation is most concerning.

    http://www.change.org/petitions/justice-for-rehtaeh-demand-an-independent-inquiry-into-the-police-investigation

    http://metronews.ca/news/halifax/721621/its-about-attitude-cole-harbour-sure-knows-how-to-produce-hockey-stars/
    June 27, 2013Updated: June 27, 2013 | 4:11 pm
    ‘It’s about attitude:’ Cole Harbour sure knows how to produce hockey stars

  49. Donna Portin September 18, 2013 at 6:04 pm #

    We must end cyber bullying now. http://www.cyberbullies.net to take action. Tell your friends

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Child pornography is not a “community issue,” RCMP – Steph Guthrie - April 9, 2013

    [...] a minor” – useful, thanks). I won’t get into their failure on her rape case, as Anne Thériault has already done a good job of that. I want to ask why the fuck Rehtaeh’s mother was told by [...]

  2. Child porn isn’t a “community issue,” RCMP – Steph Guthrie - April 9, 2013

    [...] a minor” – useful, thanks). I won’t get into their failure on her rape case, as Anne Thériault has already done a good job of that. I want to ask why the fuck Rehtaeh’s mother was told by [...]

  3. And I wonder, what did they do with the bodies? | The Topic of Cancer - April 9, 2013

    [...] read stories on my Facebook wall, things like that. Fourteen stabbed in a college in Texas. A seventeen year old girl commits suicide because she’s too ashamed after her brutal gang rape in Nova Scotia, when the authorities did nothing, really, to help her. The horror of Sandy Hook (I [...]

  4. Another teenage girl lost to rape culture. - Page 2 - CurlTalk - April 10, 2013

    [...] a blog post that, although not written by me, sums up a lot of what I've been thinking about this. Rehtaeh Parsons | The Belle Jar __________________ "Decide that you want it more than you are afraid of it" ~ Bill [...]

  5. THE STORY OF CANADIAN REHTAEH PARSONS, 17, RAPED BY 4 BOYS SHE COMMITTED SUICIDE | THE WORD WARRIOR Bonju Blog - April 11, 2013

    [...] Rehtaeh Parsons (bellejarblog.wordpress.com) [...]

  6. Alleged Rape/Bullying Takes Another Young Life In Canada | YouViewed/Editorial - April 11, 2013

    [...] Rehtaeh Parsons (bellejarblog.wordpress.com) [...]

  7. untitled post on Rehtaeh Parsons | Clickety Clarke - April 11, 2013

    [...] extremely talented writer of The Belle Jar has written a piece about Rehtaeh Parsons, the 17 year old Nova  Scotian girl who killed herself on April 4th. The story is all over the [...]

  8. In The Words Of Her Father. | That Coffee Wench! - April 12, 2013

    [...] Rehtaeh Parsons (bellejarblog.wordpress.com) [...]

  9. DizzyDirtySweet - April 22, 2013

    [...] through blog entries, hundreds of comments, and even about pages.  I started somewhere (perhaps here?), though I can honestly say I don’t remember which link started me on this long, intense [...]

  10. Into the Labyrinth | DizzyDirtySweet - April 22, 2013

    [...] through blog entries, hundreds of comments, and even about pages.  I started somewhere (perhaps here?), though I can honestly say I don’t remember which link started me on this long, intense [...]

  11. Slut-shaming, Suicide, and Mrs. Hall | The Belle Jar - September 6, 2013

    […] I read Mrs. Hall’s letter, the first people that I thought of were Amanda Todd, Retaeh Parsons, Audrie Pott, Cherice Morales. In each of these instances, photographs of the girls that either […]

  12. Slutshaming – the last bastion for (cyber)bullying | After the Millennials - September 14, 2013

    […] Rehtaeh Parsons: suicide by hanging April 17th 2013 after being ‘victim blamed’ and her gang rapists got free because ‘insufficient evidence’. She was humiliated in social media. […]

  13. Slutshaming – the last bastion for (cyber)bullying - November 14, 2013

    […] Rehtaeh Parsons: suicide by hanging April 17th 2013 after being ‘victim blamed’ and her gang rapists went free because of ‘insufficient evidence’. Evidence of the rape was posted in social media. […]

  14. 2013 In Review: Part 1 | The Belle Jar - December 29, 2013

    […] wrote some pretty serious stuff in April, including the ways in which Dove manipulates women, Rehtaeh Parsons’ suicide, the Boston Bombing, and the kidnapping and sexual assault of a five year old Indian girl. I also […]

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