This is not a nice article, if you want nice, then this is not the place. Today, you will read an article of a form of legalised injustice so extreme that it will turn your stomach. It is laced with sadness. The primary ingredients here are truth, violence and a dash of incompetence hiding behind the law.
Welcome to Canada!
This is a strange place to start; under normal conditions we have the highest regards for Canada. At times it seems like America, but with real family values, no crime and plenty of true maple leaf grade Mother Nature. So this story does not seem to fit, but it does. Every nation has its own black pages, I know, I have seen a few. This Canadian black page is however one that was initially created with the best of intentions has now rapidly span out of control, so where to begin?
First, let me the main source that influenced my view. The first one is the Guardian (at http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/oct/03/-sp-rape-bullying-rehteaeh-parsons-audrie-pott-families), yet, I have to add two more sources, who had some of the goods that gave me the view I had the second one is Buzzfeed (at http://www.buzzfeed.com/katiejmbaker/canadian-media-wont-say-this-alleged-rape-victims-name-even#ogrzx5), as well as an older article by the Guardian (at http://www.theguardian.com/society/2013/aug/09/rehtaeh-parsons-suicide-charged-photos).
We are now starting to get a decent amount of visibility, but what happened?
In November 2011, a young lady, 15 years old, her name is Rehtaeh Parsons; she was raped by 4 boys. The account from one of the sources states that she went with a friend to another friend’s home. 4 boys had their way with her. You would hope that it ends here, but no, this is only the beginning. One of the boys was apparently proud of it all, and as such decided it would be fun to distribute photos of the events to people in Rehtaeh’s school and community, after which it went viral.
So in this paragraph, we can see several crimes already.
- There was an accomplice (an accomplice is one who knowingly, voluntarily, and with common intent unites with the principal offender in the commission of a crime).
Whether this person was one of the four is very likely, but not a given at this point (meaning that there were at least 5 criminals). In one source (at http://www.buzzfeed.com/katiejmbaker/canadian-media-wont-say-this-alleged-rape-victims-name-even#2s4b60i), there is mention of another girl. The quote states “She and another girl were drinking with four teenage boys that night“, so is she a possible accomplice, if so why was that not looked at (if these details were correct)?
- There are photographs of non-consensual sex, which means that in chronological sequence, we have a. sexual assault, b. rape, c. distribution of (child) pornography.
It seems extremely ‘convenient’ that under Canadian law the Judge, as lawful given to requires judges to prohibit the publication of information that could identify victims of child pornography under any and all circumstances. I can understand that part to some extent, yet in light of the events, the picture does not fit, especially as the pictures represent the smallest of the three criminal transgressions.
These events have only started, because as it turns out, those acts of bestiality might be regarded as the introduction to the true hell she would be forced to face.
We now get the following quotes: “Rehtaeh did not consent to the photo or know it was taken, but that didn’t stop her assailants from sending it around school. Soon, boys Rehtaeh had never met were calling her a slut and asking her to sleep with them, too.” and “Rehtaeh and her parents reported the alleged assault and the photo a week later, Leah said. After a year-long investigation, the police decided there was insufficient evidence to press charges. According to the family, the police added that it was a “he said, she said” case as well as a “community issue,” not a “police issue.” The photograph didn’t count as pornography, even though she was a minor, they said they were told.”
When we look at the Canadian Red Cross (art http://www.redcross.ca/what-we-do/violence-bullying-and-abuse-prevention/educators/bullying-and-harassment-prevention/facts-on-bullying-and-harassment) we get a few more numbers, which are important to this case too.
- A 2010 research project studying 33 Toronto junior high and high schools reported that 49.5 per cent of students surveyed had been bullied online.
- Between 4–12 per cent of boys and girls in grades 6 through 10, report having been bullied once a week or more.
Finally there is the following:
School social workers provide services to students who are experiencing difficulties within their environment, which impacts on their school functioning.
We now get a few more issues.
- The extent to which the school failed a student, a victim to a heinous crime.
- The police that failed on at least three levels
a. Failed to bring criminal charges against at least 4 persons, likely, the girl mentioned earlier might have had to be charged as well.
b. Failed to cyber prosecute the phones and phone details of all the students who had received the photos at her school and in her community. A clear cyber trail could have been received.
c. Failed to investigate the school board for not notifying the authorities on more than one occasion.
From these events we see that this situation is far from over. There is absolutely no evidence that these boys faced any level of persecution (or prosecution for that matter), which gives ample view that Canadian Law failed on a second level. It failed because the parts of Canadian support that should have shielded Rehtaeh Parsons from the levels of post rape ordeals became mere facilitators for the events to be ignored, consequently silenced though law and postulated to be forgotten.
But it is not that simple, as stated, the judge’s order that bans ‘the nation’s media and even its citizens from printing her name‘ are now confronted to a league of people who are connected through internet and social media. As Canada seemed to legally forget the name of a victim, people all over the Commonwealth and beyond will echo her name through the web, for all eternity she will be remembered.
But all this would not become the story with a better ending; the sadness would remain, because on Sunday night April 7th 2013, the 17-year-old’s family took her off life-support, three days after she hanged herself in the bathroom.
The sadness, not of the parents, not of the few friends she might have, not of her sisters or her pets, but of the girl a mere 17 summers, who faced the cold of winter for more than a year until her moment of death, leaving this earth without knowing peace. I ask all Canadian fathers, to consider your child having to face such a dark end and then consider the injustice that has been enabled by several parties and there is at present little to no faith that this will improve.
To them I ask to consider, to change laws and to change the environment that propels such injustice. Canada was globally seen as a good place, make it a safer place for all victims and give them the support and protection they deserve, which would restore Canada to the good place it once seemed to be.