Rehtaeh Parsons' family overwhelmed by outpouring of support
Rehtaeh Parsons’ mother says she is overwhelmed by the impact her daughter’s life and death has had on hundreds of thousands of people around the world.
“Just so many stories, people sharing their stories with me,” says Leah Parsons. “Young girls have contacted me and shared their stories of rape and bullying and similar situations.”
Leah has positive memories of her daughter’s junior high school, but says life changed drastically when Rehtaeh entered high school.
She says Rehtaeh was raped by four boys in November 2011, when she was 15, and then publicly humiliated and prosecuted by her peers after a photo of the incident was passed around.
She says the alleged rape and months of bullying led the 17-year-old to take her own life earlier this month.
Half a million people have signed an online petition, demanding an independent inquiry into how police first handled the case. The Nova Scotia government has promised to further examine how the events unfolded.
“I’ve been living this everyday since that. I don’t feel justice has been served,” says Leah. “I don’t feel any of those departments handled it properly.”
This morning, posters defending the teens accused of raping Rehtaeh were tacked up outside her family’s home in Cole Harbour, N.S. Neighbours quickly ripped them down.
“To think that, after my daughter is gone, you have the nerve to come on our street, where her little sisters live, in this community, and put that in my face. That’s just not acceptable,” says Leah.
Police have agreed to reopen the case and the lines of communication, but Leah isn’t convinced justice will be done.
“My concern is that the definition of rape is the problem and I’m concerned about that because everyone views rape definitely. I don’t think they’ll be charged with that.”
With files from CTV Atlantic's Kelland Sundahl