Home Pop Culture Rehtaeh Parsons: Culture of rape.

Rehtaeh Parsons: Culture of rape.

Rehtaeh Parsons
Rehtaeh Parsons

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Rehtaeh Parsons, the culture of rape continues…

A photo that appeared of one 17 year old girl being raped has according to one girl’s mother led to her daughter taking her life after being constantly subjected to humiliation and a barrage of assaults.

The accusation follows after the girl, Rehtaeh Parsons, a local Halifax, Novia Scotia schoolgirl was photographed  being raped when she was only 15 at the time, purportedly  at the hands of four classmates. One of the disparaging photos shows the girl drunkenly throwing up out of a window whilst being assaulted. An image that made the rounds courtesy of one of the rapist according to the girl’s mother, Leah Parsons.

The girl who only hung herself last week is said to have endured 17 straight months of constant harassment which included her being bullied both on the internet, and in real life. In fact so omnipresent was the harassment the girl was forced to switch schools and even house.

To date hacking collective Anonymous has vowed to publish the identities of the alleged perpetrators amid fears that vigilantes could hunt them down because police did not charge anybody.

The lack of police arrests has led some to wonder why to date Halifax, Novia Scotia authorities have yet to apprehend any of the individuals involved in the sexual assault as well as those trolls who set about harassing the girl with the creation of fake Facebook pages with unflattering images of the teenager with some having gone on to comment: ‘I don’t support whores, sorry.’

A point of view that somehow has come to be the mainstream perception of young girls like Rehtaeh Parsons who straddle into what many consider dubious sexual relations. Never mind who orchestrates or inspires those relations. Being present it seems is almost enough to guarantee one a negative connotation.

At the time of Rehtaeh Parsons‘ rape on November 12, 2011, purportedly at the hands of four local boys who ranged in from 14 to 17, photos of her being raped and assaulted began to circulate the school where the girl attended. One of the photos is said to have depicted one of the perpetrators smirking with his thumbs up. An image that somehow merited wild applause and the instant re sending of said image amongst other students.  It is understood it was the last time the girl ever attended the school, Cole Harbour High ever again.

Some of the comments that began to make the rounds at the school and other local schools included: ‘Sluts are not welcome here’ and ‘everyone knew exactly what you have done’.

Asked whether the school had conducted an investigation, Halifax school board spokesman Doug Hadley incredulously went on to say none of the boys wee spoken to. No reason as of yet has been offered as to why that was the case.

Rehtaeh Parsons

Tells the girl’s mother to the UK’s dailymail:

The school did nothing. The school has never even contacted me. Once she left that school that day, the day she never went back, she’s no longer a student so they didn’t care.

‘The school should have stepped in and called them in and spoken to everybody about it.’

Meanwhile, the abuse continued.

Miss Parsons said: ‘It was total humiliation from her whole community.

‘It wasn’t the rape that sent her over the edge, as horrible as that was.

‘It’s the public humiliation and shame from her peer group, and everyone saw a picture of her getting raped.’

It wasn’t long before Rehtaeh Parsons’ friends are said to have turned against her and even accused her of being a slut, further ostracising the girl.  A point of view that ought not surprise many given the tenacity of young women to condemn and shame their peers for behavior that they themselves fear being branded lest it lower their social cache.

And then there is this too:

Rehtaeh’s Twitter page shows that even in her final months she was angry and felt betrayed.

A Tweet from February 1 reads: ‘thinkin’ ’bout my old friends who weren’t my friends all along’.

Another from the same month reads: ‘What the f*** did I do to deserve this’ and ‘losing friends because of who I chose to stand by #F***YOUTHEN #mylife #mychoices #myconsequences’

On February 5, she wrote: ‘Someone come kill me I’m to pathetic to do it myself’

Her final Tweet, on March 31, is a retweet from rapper Haitian Fresh, which clearly had a resonance given what she had been through.

It reads: ‘U don’t suk dick u don’t swallow ya took a bathroom pic now u a model u a f****** liarrrrrr’.

At present an nline petition calling for the files to be re-opened has attracted 84,000 signatures and Anonymous is still pressing ahead with ‘Operation Justice For Rehtaeh’.

Ultimately one is inclined to wonder why nothing was done after the girl experienced such a traumatic assault neither by school authorities or local police? In many ways the lack of action and the complicit bullying that followed suggests an apathetic attitude towards young girls who increasingly are viewed as sexual commodities to be had with.  Whilst on the other hand perpetrators are vindicated as only doing what boys ought to be doing in the first place.

Then again given the current stigma and pressures of redundant ‘skimpy’ young women been air played over and over in our culture should we as a society really be surprised that a women can end being perceived as a ‘slut’ or a ‘whore’ for no more than the fact of her sexuality or simply existing? Then again that may all depend on how we define or qualify young women today…

Rehtaeh Parsons

Similar cases: Steubenville rape file

Amanda Todd case

Then there were these comments on the web that caught my attention as well:

Sue the Halifax Police DP – what a gross miscarriage of justice. The father’s message is correct. She was disappointed to death that she lived in a society where this is the norm. Mothers of sons need to teach them that they cannot take advantage of women no matter what their state is and it is not mutual consent if they are drunk or they will face charges and police need to start taking sexual violence by minors seriously.

What is wrong with the school, her friends and these boys?! For gods sake, this poor girl has died and her memory is being trashed and yet the police do nothing!! Shame on those boys and all those trolls making vicious and deplorable comments on her page! Disgusting.

Good! If the system fails (it has) and it takes vigilante action to attempt justice, So Be It! Rape is Wrong! Rape Must Stop! There are no excuses! These boys/men should be locked up, not protected my misogynistic men in authority!

The root problem is that society treats sex as a zero-sum gum (spoiler alert – girls lose). You are supposed to *conquer* other people, and if you are a boy, the “prize” is bigger if the girl is hard to conquer. Girls that are not hard to get are worth less. Once a girl has been “conquered” by someone, she is worth less. Basically, society teaches us that by having sex you are devaluing your sex partner or are being devalued. Proof of that act proves the devaluing, thus it becomes a way to humiliate someone later. If society didn’t shame people (and especially women) for having sex (i.e. the most natural thing in the world) revenge porn couldn’t work…I’ve seen WEDDING revenge porn where men post pictures of their ex-wives. Why would anyone think having sex or posing nude for your husband is degrading? It’s really, really sick. I feel very bad for young men. As hard as it is being a woman, I cannot imagine being told that compassion and sensitivity are emasculating traits.


  1. It’s still her word against the boys as far as alleged rape goes. And now she’s dead because she killed herself, so I guess that’s it.

  2. You know what’s sad? I live in South Africa our rape statistics are through the roof if I’m correct I believe a women gets raped every 4 and a half min here. And when I say MANY I mean MOST cases are never solved or make news headlines, but when they do the public has an out cry for justice!!! We do NOT slander the victims!!!

  3. As of 4/10 Anonymous stated the would keep the names until it was apparent the Canadian authorities had no intentions of providing justice to this family. http://bustedbitchesandinternetstalkers.com/2013/04/10/anonymouse-press-release-for-opjustice4rehtaeh/

    I spoke to a couple of Anons on Twitter about honoring Leah Parson’s wishes .. http://bustedbitchesandinternetstalkers.com/2013/04/10/rehtaeh-parsons-mom-calls-for-vigilantes-to-stop-via-cbsnews/

    True enough vigilante justice is not what is needed, but justice is. Bullying has become so out of control especially w/ the internet. No longer is it just something that will go away if ignored. As an adult I barely handled it at times and it overwhelmed me more often than now. There is a sense of desperation, fear, isolation. I can imagine these feelings would be even more intense as a teen when the ultimate goal is to fit in.
    We have to educate our young people and let them know that you can survive it.. and you can take your life back and in the end be stronger than you ever knew you could be.

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