Rape, bullying led to N.S. teen's death, says mom
Rehtaeh Parsons told police she was raped at a party when she was 15
CBC News Posted: Apr 9, 2013 12:47 PM AT Last Updated: Apr 9, 2013 11:02 PM AT
The mother of a teenage girl from Nova Scotia who killed herself after allegedly being raped and photographed by four boys is speaking out, to tell the story behind her daughter’s tragic death.
Rehtaeh Parsons, 17, died on Sunday in hospital after attempting suicide a few days earlier.
“Rehtaeh was a very sensitive person and very insightful. She was a critical thinker, she thought outside the box. She was always a deep thinker, she ran, always understood the plight of others. She had great compassion. That’s who Rehtaeh was,” said her mother, Leah Parsons.
In 2011 when Rehtaeh was 15, she went with a friend to a small gathering with other teenagers and started drinking vodka.
Parsons said Rehtaeh only remembered bits and pieces of the night, but does remember throwing up out a window.
While one of the guys was allegedly having sex with her another yelled, “Take a picture, take a picture.”
“That picture began to circulate in her school and community three days later,” said Parsons.
Then the online backlash and bullying began.
“She walked into the school and everyone started calling her a slut,” said Parsons.
She said her daughter broke down a few days later and told her what happened. They called an emergency health team and the police.
Parsons said after a year of investigating, police told her it was a “he said she said” case and there was not enough evidence to lay charges.
RCMP confirm they investigated the allegations and consulted with the Crown, and it was determined there was not enough evidence to proceed.
"We have to deal in facts and not rumours," said RCMP Cpl. Scott MacRae. "We may not be able to go down certain roads because of the tragic circumstance.
"I feel like the door is always open for people to talk to a police agency."
The family said they were told the photographs were not a criminal issue even though Rehtaeh was underage.
The family moved from Cole Harbour to Halifax, and her mother said Rehtaeh tried to keep her head up high but was depressed.
'I think kids today listen to a story and if that’s the most sensational story to go with they jump on that and they don’t care how it hurts other people.'
“She was never left alone. Her friends turned against her, people harassed her, boys she didn’t know started texting her and Facebooking asking her to have sex with them since she had had sex with their friends. It just never stopped,” said Parsons.
Rehtaeh admitted herself to the hospital in March because of suicidal thoughts.
“Every text, every negative thing she would read to me. It was hard,” Parson said. “She tried and she kept trying.”
Rehtaeh tried to kill herself on Thursday and was put on life support. She was taken off on Sunday.
Parsons said the justice system failed her daughter.
“I think she would have had some satisfaction that it was real [if there were charges], because no one believed her,” she said.