Friday, April 12, 2013

17-year-old Rehtaeh Parsons, Another Victim of Online Bullying, Kills Self After Rape Photo Goes Viral!

This is Rehtaeh Parsons' Facebook page. On it you will find petitions to sign to reopen the case.

Here's the "Fat and the Skinny" on another needless and tragic suicide because of online bullying.

Social media is as good as its users. If the users are ignorant bullies, then it can be used to torment the ridiculed and harassed victims (like Amanda Tood) to suicide or someone like Rehtaeh Parsons. Rehtaeh Parsons was a 17-year-old teen from Nova Scotia, Canada. She is the latest teen to fall prey to bullying on social media. Maybe social media will prompt her justice and vindication.

Last Thursday Rehtaeh Parsons hanged herself in her bathroom. On Sunday April 7, her family took her off life support. Leah Parsons recounts the incident on a Facebook page set up in memoriam for her daughter. On November 11, Rehtaeh went with a friend to a home. During the course of the time she was there, she was raped by four young boys. One of the gang took a photo of the rape and "decided it would be fun to distribute the photo to everyone in Rehtaeh's school and community where it quickly went viral."

The photo and the boys' "slut story" spread through the Cole Harbour District High School. Rehtaeh was bullied on social media by classmates. Though her parents moved her from that district to Halifax to start over because of the online harassment, there was something else. Nothing was being done to hold the boys accountable in an investigation that took a year.

According to an article in The Chronicle Herald the police didn't interview the boys until much later. Regarding the photo or photos take during the rape, "nothing was done about that because they couldn't prove who had pressed the photo button on the phone," said Leah Parsons who was told it wasn't... "a criminal issue, it’s more of a community issue.”

In a further twist the hackivist group Anonymous has said that they have discovered the names of the boys who allegedly raped Rehtaeh. In a press release on 4/11 the group is asking that the RCMP reopen the case and the justice department launch an inquiry into the initial investigation.

According to Anonymous, "Dozens of e-mails were sent to us by kids and adults alike, most of whom had personal relationships with the rapists. Many recalled confessions made by these boys blatantly in public where they detailed the rape of an inebriated 15-year-old girl.”

The Angel Rehtaeh Facebook page has petitions and updates as do other online petition sites. Where it was used to push Rehtaeh to her death, maybe social media will prompt her justice and vindication.



Margo Dill said...

I read about this--I think through a tweet you sent out--and it is just so sad. It scares me to death for Katie to become a teenager, and Logan is almost there. UGH! What is wrong with kids? What is wrong with people? Prayers--that's the only answer I can think of right now.

Carole Di Tosti said...

I agree. But the adults at the school and the RCMP did not to what they should have...hold the kids accountable for the uploading of the photo and for the harassment she received online. So if the school administrators and the police didn't follow through properly, they are indirectly accountable for her death (Her parents took her off life support, but she was brain dead...) Anonymous has the names of the kids who confessed. But if the investigation isn't reopened, then it's pointless. The RCMP did a bad job with the investigation and the school officials did nothing about the bullying when they should have. The moment school officials get wind of a kid being bullied, they have to do something...and the investigation was never conducted in a thorough manner. Both prompted her to take her life.