Serious questions are being asked online following the death of a 17-year-old girl in Canada. Rehtaeh Parsons was raped by four boys and subjected to a stream of abuse after a photograph of the sexual assault was circulated in her school.
The Daily Mail reports that Rehtaeh committed suicide last week following months of abuse. Now questions are emerging over whether the authorities did enough to help the teenager following her ordeal.
Shockingly, Rehtah’s alleged attackers were never charged. In 2011 (when the assault occurred) an investigation was launched but quickly abandoned when authorities concluded that they did not have enough evidence to prosecute the boys who were allegedly involved.
“She went with a friend to another’s home. In that home, she was raped by four young boys,” wrote Rehtaeh’s mother on a Facebook tribute page to the teen.
“One of those boys took a photo of her being raped and decided it would be fun to distribute the photo to everyone in Rehaeh’s school and community, where it quickly went viral,” she added.
Rehtaeh and her mother
The attack occurred when Rehtaeh was just 15-years-old. When word out got regarding what had happened, friends, students and strangers turned on the teen and began to bully her.
“People texted her all the time, saying ‘will you have sex with me?’ Girls texting, saying, ‘you’re such a slut,’” said Rehtaeh’s mother speaking to CBC.
“She was never left alone. She had to leave the community. Her friends turned against her. People harassed her… It just never stopped,” Rehtaeh’s mother added.
Rehtaeh and her family moved from Cole Harbour to Halifax in a bid to help her escape from the bullies and Rehtaeh began making new friends. The teen also started attending therapy in order to deal with what had happened to her.
However, it wasn’t enough to help her and she ended up taking her own life.
Local newspaper, The Chronicle Herald, recently published an article entitled ‘Who failed Rehtaeh Parsons?’ In the article, a spokesman for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police reveales that an investigation into the alleged assault did take place although there was “insufficient evidence to lay charges.”
Rehtaeh’s story has sparked outrage online with many social media users claiming that the authorities did not do enough to help the teenager.
Various hacktivism groups affiliated with Anonymous have said that they are now trying to find and publish the identities of the four boys who were involved in the rape.
“Rehtaeh is gone today because of the four boys that thought that raping a fifteen year old girl was okay and to distribute a photo to run her spirit and reputation would be fun. Secondly, all the bullying and messaging and harassment that never let up are also to blame,” said Rehtaeh’s mother.
“Lastly, the justice system failed her. Those are the people that took the life of my beautiful girl. Rehtaeh stood up for others, showed compassion to animals and people. She was an amazing artist. She made my life complete. When Rehtaeh was born I dedicated everything to her and promised her the world. Others in this world took that away from her,” he mother added.