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article imageMom: Girl hanged herself after being gang raped, bullied online

By Arthur Weinreb     Apr 9, 2013 in Crime
Dartmouth - The 17-year-old Nova Scotia girl attempted to kill herself on Thursday and died in hospital on Sunday after she was taken off life support. According to her mother she suffered from anger and depression after being gang raped and photographed.
On Sunday, the same day Rehtaeh Parsons died after machines that were keeping her alive were removed, her mother Leah Parsons, set up a Facebook memorial page for her daughter.
According to Leah, the life of her daughter, then 15, was changed when she went to a party with a girlfriend one night in November 2011. After drinking some vodka, Rehtaeh said she was raped by four boys. CBC reports while one of the youths was attacking her, another yelled, "Take a picture. Take a picture." A picture was taken and later circulated in the school that Rehtaeh and the four boys went to.
After the incident, Rehtaeh was bullied at school. She was shunned by other students and called a "slut." She received several texts and online messages from boys asking for sex. Although she and her family lived in Dartmouth, Rehtaeh ended up transferring to a high school in nearby Halifax.
The bullying continued and Rehtaeh became suicidal and afraid for her life. On one occasion she was hospitalized for six weeks after it was believed she posed a danger to herself. She later moved back to Dartmouth to be with her family.
Leah believed her daughter was doing better recently. Although she was still shunned by many of her old friends she made new ones. She had stopped smoking pot and was making plans for her future. But she still suffered from mood swings. After having a good day Thursday, making plans for the weekend, something set her off and she locked herself in the bathroom. By the time her mother was able to break the door down, Rehtaeh had hanged herself.
Although the gang rape was reported to the RCMP and the identity of the four boys was known, no charges were ever laid. According to Cpl. Scott MacRae, the police are now involved investigating the sudden death of a young person. Concerning the incident in November 2011, he said, "An investigation into an earlier sexual assault was completed, and in consultation with the Crown, there was insufficient evidence to lay charges."
Leah was unhappy with the investigation. Although Rehtaeh could only remember bits and pieces of what happened, since her daughter was only 15, the picture constituted child pornography. But police claimed they do not know which boy actually took the picture.
Nova Scotia Justice Minister Ross Landry was questioned by the media today. The Minister said he is not willing to order a review of the decision not to charge the boys. According to Landry, if people come forward with more evidence, the police will examine it. "I have confidence in their investigative experience and I have no reason at this time to question that at this point."
What happened to Rehtaeh is not unique. Last October, B.C. teen Amanda Todd committed suicide five weeks after uploading a video on YouTube, using signs to depict what had happened to her. She had been bullied, assaulted and extorted after sending a semi-nude photo of herself to someone she met online. And last month, two high school football players in Steubenville, Ohio were convicted of rape after sexually assaulting a minor. One of the teens was also convicted of disseminating a photo of a nude minor after a picture of the girl being attacked was taken and posted online.
More about online bullying, Teen suicide, leah parsons, rehtaeh parsons, Gang rape
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