Rehtaeh Parsons was a happy fifteen year old with a straight A record, and a love of science and learning; one day she went to a party at a friend’s house and was brutally raped by four boys. According to her mother, “That was the night that everything changed for her.”
Understandably Rehtaeh Parsons was traumatized by the attack, her life changed in a moment. However, most victims are allowed to rebuild from ground zero. Rehtaeh Parsons was not allowed this kindness, she was attacked and then for the next year and a half she was viciously cyber bullied and slut shamed, all she wanted to do was be allowed to move on. Someone took a photograph of her rape though, and she had to live with daily reminders of her attack, these reminders came in attacks on her morals and character for eighteen months after her rape until she could not take it anymore and she took her own life on April 7, 2012.
This Is Not the First Time a Teen Has Ended Their Life to Escape a Bully
This case should be unique. It should cause extreme outrage to all who hear of it, or read it. Instead it causes a sadness, a weariness in most people. Another girl raped, and victimized. She is one of so many people who have been bullied.
That story alone would have been horrid enough, but it did not end there. She became the victim of so many more people online in the form of cyber bullying. She was called a slut by women and girls, and invited for sex by men and boys. Rehtaeh Parsons went from being a happy healthy teenager to a girl who was teased and accosted every single day until she took drastic measures to end it all. Her story is all too common, and cyber bullying occurs every day.
Just one generation ago if a child did not fit in at school, they found respite at home. Now the bully can come right into the victims bedroom and tear them apart with words anytime day or night, school day or weekend, there is no time off for the victim to put things into perspective. To make things worse, often when one person starts to publicly bully a person online, they will form a group of hateful people who see the internet as somehow unreal and say things they would never say to the victims face.
It Did Not End With Her Death
In the Rehtaeh Parsons ‘s story there is no justice or happy ending for her or her family. Now to make things worse cyber bullies are turning on her father and threatening his life. These are just a few of the things that have been said to Rehtaeh Parsons ‘s father after losing his daughter in April:
“Keep talking shit. Cuz I no urn face, your car, where u live, and what you do,”
And then they threatened him outright by adding:
“So keep getting lippy, bud n u might be going to visit urn daughter.”
These treats as well as lewd comments about seeing pictures of his daughter’s rape and hateful things about her death are on his website.
There Is Hope
The world is improving though, by recognizing that bullying online or face to face is a crime, and making it prosecutable by law to protect the victim. This is a step in the right direction, so another girl does not feel like she is all alone with no one to care or to bring justice to her tormenters.
According to Stopbullying.gov there are some common warning signs that your child may be bullied.
Signs Your Child May be a Victim of Cyber bullying:
- Physical distress signs like headaches and stomachaches
- Declining grades, loss of interest of school
- Difficulty sleeping, nightmares
- Loss of self esteem, signs of depression
- Avoidance of friends and social situations
- Self harm and destructive behavior
If you or someone you know is a Victim of Cyber bullying Remember:
- You Are Not Alone. You may feel isolated, but the people who are assaulting you are small in comparison to the many people who have been where you are and care about you.
- The words the bullies say are a reflection of who they are more than who you are.
- This is just a small part of your life. Do not let it define you. That being said, do not be afraid to report the bully as well. It may be something that will be over soon, but the words and stalking are likely illegal and be proactive in getting your case on police record if you feel afraid.
- This is not your fault. Once again the actions of the person hurting you are a reflection of them, not you.
Rehtaeh Parsons should not have had to die to get relief from her tormentors. Her Dad should not still be taunted by sickos today. Her life and death has cause a reform in Noca Scotia, they enacted a law allowing the victims of cyber bullying to seek protection and allowing legal rights to sue the perpetrator. This is a step in the right direction, but a small one.
Bullied Teens should know that there is hope, and there are responsible adults who can handle their problems. The goal for adults should be to insure that bullying victims are not alone in the fight against cyber stalking, sexting, and bullying.
This is a link to an article that Rehtaeh Parsons ‘s father Glen Canning wrote about cyber bullying.