Thursday, April 11, 2013

17-year-old survivor commits suicide

From: Pam J.
Sent: April 11, 2013
To: undisclosed recipients
Subject: Fw: 17-year-old survivor commits suicide

17-year-old survivor commits suicide
Trigger warning: this email contains information about sexual assault that may be upsetting to survivors.
My friend Leah's daughter, Rehtaeh Parsons, was a great kid. She loved art, had a huge heart, she always fought for the underdog, animals and human. But everything changed one horrible night in November of 2011. Rehtaeh went over to a friend's house, and there, she was raped by four young men. 

The young men posted pictures of the assault on Facebook and emailed them around their school. They bullied Rehtaeh relentlessly; they called her a slut. She was only 15.
Last week, Rehtaeh killed herself. She couldn't take the pain anymore.
Local investigators in Canada, where Rehtaeh lived, looked into Rehtaeh's assault for a year. They said it came down to a "he-said, she-said" situation and never filed charges -- even though thousands of people had seen photos of the assault. 
It seems like every time on the news, I'm seeing another horrible story of a young girl being raped and then blamed for what happened to her. And it's devastating. But I'm also seeing something else: People are fighting back. They're standing up to say this is wrong, and it has to change.
In India, four young men accused of gang rape were finally arrested after tens of thousands of people petitioned for justice on Change.org. In America, dozens of petitions sprang up around the rape of a young girl in Steubenville, Ohio, calling for fair coverage from CNN and for the coach who defended the rapists to be fired. 
People all over the world are demanding that authorities take rape seriously: punish those responsible and stop calling victims sluts. I won't stop fighting until we get justice for Rehtaeh. If thousands of people not just in Canada, but all over the world, sign my petition, I know Canadian authorities will see that writing this off as "he-said, she-said" is not an option anymore.
Thank you for standing with Rehtaeh.
Sherri Bain
Halifax, Canada

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