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Rehtaeh Parsons’ Father Speaks About His Daughter As Another Vicitim Of Rape Shaming Commits Suicide

Rehtaeh Parsons Case: Canada's SteubenvilleAs I watched the Steubenville case play out I kept thinking one thing: where are the parents?  

It was the same thought I had when the school bus monitor was bullied. What kind of a parent does it take to raise a child capable of this act?

I saw the story of the fifth graders arrested for plotting the rape and murder of a classmate – they’re 10 and 11 years old for crying out loud – and I wondered where the parents were.

And here we go again.

18 months ago Rehtaeh Parsons was a victim of an alleged rape (I hate putting that word in there, but legally it is just an allegation as no charges have followed the incident) that was photographed and distributed on social media.

Her family moved away from where they lived so their daughter could find a fresh start. But, like Amanda Todd, she never found that fresh start. Instead Rehtaeh hanged herself in a bathroom at home.

She was 17 years old when she died.

Once again, the only parents that are speaking out are the parents of the victim. Rehtaeh’s father, Glen Canning, has posted a very emotional blog entry entitled Rehtaeh Parsons was my daughter. It’s an emotional read for any parent.

There’s a wooden box in my house that holds all the memories I have of my beautiful little girl. The outfit she wore home from the hospital, a hand print in clay, art, school cards and drawings, mementoes of her life. Even a newspaper dated December 9th, 1995, the day she came into this world.

I tried to keep it all for her, to have someday when she grew up and had her own family. That day will never come.

Rehtaeh died April 7th at 11:15 PM. She was 17 years old.

She died struggling to live, much as she spent the last 18 months. She hung on right to the very end, when the nurses were telling us if she couldn’t be declared brain dead soon they couldn’t use her as an organ donor. It was so like her to hang on right up until the very last second. To give us all a chance to hold her hand, wipe her tears away, and kiss her beautiful face for the last time.

I tried my best to save my daughter’s life. I believe that in my heart.

I asked her repeatedly what I could do, was I doing enough, what did she want from me? She said she just wanted me to be her dad. To make her laugh. To do everything possible to keep a part of her life normal. She said it helped more than I could ever know.

The worst nightmare of my life has just begun. I loved my beautiful baby with all my heart. She meant everything to me. I felt her heart beating in my soul from the moment she was born until the moment she died. We were a team. We were best pals. We often sat on my couch and laughed until we could hardly speak. When we weren’t together she would call me or text me every single day, just to say hi, to say she loved me. The life I had with my daughter was a rare thing. It was wonderful, it consumed me. I was defined by it. It made my life rich and beautiful.

She was amazing.

Yesterday I looked at another wooden box. It will hold her ashes. I hate it.

I had to write something about this. I don’t want her life to defined by a Google search about suicide or death or rape. I want it to be about the giving heart she had. Her smile. Her love of life and the beautiful way in which she lived it.
[via Glen Canning]

And again at the end of the post, I still find myself asking the question about the parents of the alleged perpetrators. Parents who are raising bullies must know. Shouldn’t they?

Teens can be clever at covering their tracks, but not that clever. If an alleged rape happened and was photographed and distributed across social media, it has to leak out to someone responsible. Word has to get back to the parents of the kids who allegedly did this.

In the absence of legal justice, the internet is, once again, rising in disgust.

How would you react if your child did something so disgusting? Well, chances are if you think it disgusting you’re not raising a child capable of this act. It’s the parents who are blind to what their kids are doing, blind to how they destroy the lives of other, and blind to the consequences of their parenting that are disgusting.

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