Rehtaeh Parsons' Rapists May Be Outed After Her Suicide -- But Should They Be?

Rehtaeh ParsonsSay what you want about Anonymous, but the hackers have done some fabulous things since they started taking over the Internet. And now the secret group is getting involved in the heartbreaking case of Rehtaeh Parsons, the Canadian teen who hanged herself after being gang-raped by four teenage boys. They've made contact with the alleged perpetrators, and from what they say, the boys are just as creepy as you'd expect.

So what's next? Should Anonymous out these kids for the whole world to shame?


My gut response, as a woman and mother of a daughter, is yes. Absolutely. These sickos should have their names plastered on every headline on every website in every country for what they did to this girl a year and a half ago.

After all, as one Anonymous hacker said, these rapists are showing no shame for what they've done, even after Rehtaeh's heartbroken parents were forced to take their beloved 17-year-old daughter off life support:

Some of us have had contact with the boys in question. And yeah, they're still not denying anything. One of them post (sic) on Facebook a day ago that yes, she was drunk and throwing up when he had sex with her, but she wanted him to.

Sick, right?

And these monsters are currently free, as are the kids who bullied Rehteah, calling her a "slut," texting and Facebooking her daily asking for sex.

They're out there, and Rehtaeh is gone.

An outing by the world's most famous Internet hackers seems to be just what they have coming to them.

The mother in me is angry. The journalist in me, on the other hand, is uneasy.

I come from the world of newspapers, from a pre-Internet world where there was more time to fact check and, ironically, less of a need. Once upon a time an article's reach was limited to subscribers and newsstand purchasers.

Now an article can go viral. Just. Like. That.

A life can be ruined in seconds.

If it's the life of a rapist, my gut still tells me that I shouldn't care.

But what if they get it wrong? What if the names linked to this horror aren't the right ones ... and the lives of innocent children are destroyed?

Would that be any better than what happened to Rehtaeh Parsons? Maybe not traumatic in the same way, but certainly not a win.

So what's the answer?

Do we empower Anonymous to move ahead on the hope that they get it right? Or do we sit, powerless, worrying that these boys will get away with the unthinkable?


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