The father of Rehtaeh Parsons, the 17-year-old Nova Scotia teen whose suicide is making headlines, has responded to media inquiries from around the world in a heart-wrenching blog post where he remembers his daughter as ” the absolute best part of my life” and calls on the justice minister to act, saying: “For the love of God do something.”
Rehtaeh’s family says the teen hanged herself after she was sexually assaulted by four boys when she was 15 years old. Rehtaeh’s mom, Leah Parsons, told Halifax media outlets that one of the boys took a photo, which he circulated online, and that the four boys bullied the girl after the assault, telling people she had willingly had sex with them.
RCMP did investigate the allegations, but they didn’t lay any charges.
Rehtaeh’s father, Glen Canning, also spoke out in a blog post, which was republished on the Chronicle Herald website.
In the post, he remembers his daughter’s life, saying that she was a loving girl, who always wanted to help others in need. “I don’t want her life to defined by a Google search about suicide or death or rape,” Canning writes. “I want it to be about the giving heart she had. Her smile. Her love of life and the beautiful way in which she lived it.”
He also remembers her death, writing that her organs will go on to save other lives.
She died struggling to live, much as she spent the last 18 months. She hung on right to the very end, when the nurses were telling us if she couldn’t be declared brain dead soon they couldn’t use her as an organ donor. We couldn’t wait any longer. She couldn’t live any longer. And right at the last moment there was a change in her blood pressure as the last part of her brain gave away. She knew she had to leave. It was time to let go and find peace.
Canning ends his post with a plea to Nova Scotia Justice Minister Ross Landry, who originally said there would not be a review of the investigation into Rehtaeh’s alleged assault. However, Landry changed his mind and later said he would look into the case. “We are talking about human life and a society that needs more love and care in it,” Landry told The Globe and Mail Wednesday. “This issue needs a different approach. I’m a firm believer it’s never wrong to do the right thing.”
Canning hopes there will be justice for his daughter. He writes:
Why was this treated like a minor incident of bullying rather than a rape? Isn’t the production and distribution of child porn a crime in this country? Numerous people were emailed that photo. The police have that information (or at least they told us they did). When someone claims they were raped is it normal to wait months before talking to the accused?
You have the opportunity here to do something good and lets face it; the court system in Nova Scotia was just going to rape her all over again with indifference to her suffering and the damage this did to her.
My daughter wasn’t bullied to death, she was disappointed to death. Disappointed in people she thought she could trust, her school, and the police.
She was my daughter, but she was your daughter too.
For the love of God do something.
Meanwhile, hacker group Anonymous has responded to Facebook users who have been calling for them to get involved and reveal the identity of the teens involved in the alleged assault.
In a press release issued Wednesday, the group said it has confirmed the identity of two of the four alleged rapists. “We are currently confirming a third and it is only a matter of time before the fourth is identified as well,” the press release reads.
However, the group is demanding that RCMP take action, rather than releasing the names outright. The group writes:
Our demands are simple: We want the N.S. RCMP to take immediate legal action against the individuals in question. We encourage you to act fast. If we were able to locate these boys within 2 hours, it will not be long before someone else finds them.
The move is a measured one, compared to action Anonymous took in the high-profile bullying and suicide of British Columbia teen Amanda Todd in October 2012. In that incident, Anonymous actually named the wrong man, who did have former criminal convictions, but had no connection to the Amanda Todd case.
Residents in Halifax and Cole Harbour are planning two vigils to remember Rehtaeh.