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Poster campaign supports alleged rapists of Rehtaeh Parsons

By Arthur Weinreb     Apr 18, 2013 in Crime
Halifax - Flyers began appearing in the neighbourhood where the dead teen lived with her mother, defending the four boys who Rehtaeh said raped her in November 2011.
The colourful posters began showing up in Halifax, including on the street where Rehtaeh, 17, lived with her mother. The posters were simple and to the point. Titled "Speak the Truth," the posters read, "There are two sides to every story. Listen before you judge. The truth will come out. Stay strong and support the boys!"
As Digital Journal reported, Rehtaeh died on April 7 after being taken off life support. Three days earlier she had hanged herself in the bathroom of her home. Shortly after she died, her mother, Leah, took to Facebook to explain what happened to her daughter.
According to Leah, Rehtaeh, then 15, had gone to a party in November 2011. She drank vodka and said she was raped by four boys she went to school with. The incident was later reported to the RCMP who, together with prosecutors, decided there was insufficient evidence to obtain a conviction and did not lay charges.
Rehtaeh suffered from anger, depression and anxiety. She was forced to move in order to leave the school where she was "slut-shamed" and where boys she didn't know kept asking her for sex. At one point, the teen required hospitalization for six weeks when it was believed she posed a danger to herself.
Rehtaeh eventually moved back home, made new friends and began planning her future. She appeared to be getting better when something set her off causing her to go into the bathroom and hang herself.
After Rehtaeh's death, there was a lot of anger over, among other things, the fact that Rehtaeh reported the attack and could name the boys but no charges were ever brought. Immediately after Leah's Facebook revelations, Justice Minister Ross Landry supported the decision of his prosecutors and police not to bring charges. The minister quickly changed his mind after three of his cabinet colleagues, all women, spoke to him. As well there were demonstrations held outside police headquarters and the hacktivist group, Anonymous, learned the identities of the alleged attackers and threatened to out them if nothing was done.
An about face was done and the investigation was reopened. Now that charges are expected, the boys family, friends and supporters have gone on the offensive.
After seeing the posters, Rehtaeh's mother once again to took Facebook. Yesterday, she wrote, "Really??? They stop at nothing...First the family/friends of the perpetrators make pages about my daughter trying to paint her in the most negative light as possible. Now, they post flyers stapled to our street on poles stating 'Speak The Truth.' This once again highlights who they are as people. This is our street, we are mourning our daughter, my children live in this neighbourhood. If you wanted to speak the truth...why didn't you speak when Rehtaeh was push her to suicide then you continue with this bullshit!!! Really???? You have no compassion...but we knew that already."
Parsons first saw the posters outside her home when she was taking her young daughters to school and daycare. Since then the posters have been removed and Rehtaeh's mother believes they were taken down by angry neighbours.
On Monday, Nova Scotia Premier Darrell Dexter announced an independent inquiry will be held into how police and prosecutors handled Rehtaeh's allegations.
More about rehtaeh parsons, leah parsons, Teen suicide, online bullying
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