Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Rehtaeh Parsons suicide: Authorities want answers on her rape and bullying

Rehtaeh Parsons suicide: Authorities want answers on her rape and bullying, Rehtaeh Parsons is dead, but there are people who are still committed to finding justice for her. The Canadian teen hanged herself last week, and her family made the difficult decision to take her off life support. According to ABC World News on April 10, a minister of justice in Canada wants answers about just what happened to Parsons when she was allegedly raped by four teens.

Rehtaeh Parson's mother Leah Parsons outlined what allegedly happened that led to her daughter's suicide. Sadly, the details very closely shadow what happened in Steubenville, but this time a young lady has died. Parsons says that in November 2011, Rehtaeh went with a friend to another home. While there, four boys raped her, and one took a photo of the act. The photo was then put online and went viral.

Parsons then was tormented by bullying from people throughout the community. The family moved to Halifax, but Rehtaeh was deeply depressed and angry, and thoughts of suicide began. The young girl spent weeks in the hospital trying to overcome her struggles, but friends allegedly turned their backs on her and she lacked support.

A year after the incident, police said that there was not enough proof to move forward with a case. Leah Parsons indicates that police believed the rape happened, but felt it came down to a “he said, she said” situation. Over the next months Rehtaeh struggled to cope, and suicidal feelings continued. On April 4, after an outburst, she locked herself in the bathroom and hanged herself.

Many wonder why the photo did not lead to action of some sort from the police. The spokesperson for Halifax Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Cpl. Scott MacRae, says that at the end of the investigation there was insufficient evidence for charges. He adds that the photograph was analyzed, and they were unable to confirm Rehtaeh's account of what happened.

CTV News reports that Justice Minister Ross Landry wants to review the case, and Education Minister Ramona Jennex wants the school board to review their actions on the case as well. Early Tuesday Landry said he believed the police had followed proper procedures, but by the end of the day he noted he asked for options to review the case. He says he wants questions answered and would like to see more dialogue about the incident and how to handle similar situations. He also has spoken with Rehtaeh's mother directly.

Sadly situations like this are happening in many communities, especially with the prevalence of social media among teenagers. Nobody knows the answer to how to prevent these tragic situations from continuing. However, some may find some solace in the news that it seems the authorities in the Rehtaeh Parsons case have not given up on getting some justice for her.

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