17-Year-Old Girl Hangs Herself After Her Alleged Assault Goes Viral

Retaeh ParsonsA teen girl is dead this week after photos of her alleged rape two years ago at the hands of four boys went viral and she was relentlessly bullied. Rehtaeh Parsons, just 17, was 15 at the time of the alleged rape. Like the girl in Steubenville, Ohio last fall, she was young and naive and drunk. 

Unlike her, she never had a chance to see any justice. Those four boys who are accused of raping her are free. The people who called her a "slut" (mostly girls) and boys who texted and Facebooked her daily asking for sex are also free. Parsons is dead. She hanged herself last weekend.

There are no words to describe what a tragedy this is. A vibrant, young life has ended. Sure, we can say she was obviously depressed and there was something more happening there. After all, the Steubenville girl fought back. But we would be lying to ourselves.

We don't even have the luxury to say that this happened in Canada and so is isolated and not a problem in the US. Just look at Steubenville. It's the same story, different area code. Our rape culture is alive and well in all of North America.

Hell, it is all over the world. Look at India.

Parsons tried to get justice, but the police decided there was insufficient evidence. That might be true. But that doesn't change the way she was treated at school. By kids who ought to know better. Let's pretend, even for a moment, that a young girl DID have consensual sex with four boys. Would it really be OK then for these horrible kids to bully her and treat her that way.

This has to stop.

We have a completely archaic view of female sexuality. The girls who have sex are "whores" and the boys who have it are just being boys. Meanwhile, this view blinds us to rape. It blinds us to what is right in front of our eyes. Parsons needed compassion, love, and comfort. She needed a friendly hand.

What she got was relentless bullying. It became so bad she thought life was no longer worth living.

My heart is broken over this story. But it's also broken over the state of the U.S. and the world when it comes to rape. We don't seem to care that our girls are suffering greatly because of our inability to change.

May poor Rehtaeh Parsons' mother find some peace and may things change someday so that our young daughters don't have to live like this.

Do you believe we live in a rape culture?


Image via jayneandd/Flickr


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nonmember avatar anonguest

I hope we do not live in a rape culture...however I feel we are living in an "everything goes" culture. And I think it will only get worse as we continue to tell our children that its okay to get as drunk as you want, dress like you like, have sexual encounters as you like because, hey you are teenagers and that is what you are going to do. We allow musicians to make money off of vile sexually explicit and demeaning music that says guys are all players and predators and girls just bitches and hos. We let people like the Kardashians become famous for sex tapes. We are so afraid to stand up and say NO to our children and I AM ASHAMED of your behavior for fear that we will "ruin" their self esteem. And then we remove any mention of God or rules or morals because we might offend someone else. Then when the little morons act like animals, who cannot control themselves, we are all so surprised...The fault lies squarely on our shoulders and if we are to prevent a rape culture, we better wake up and really see what is going on!

nonmember avatar Sarah

Wish you would take the word "alleged" out of your title.

How tragic.

LostS... LostSoul88

We do. Rapist or more protected then the victim. I was raped and the man walked free and went to rape 2 more girls and he only got 6 months in jail. This country and our justice system does not care about what happen to women. They will spend millions of dollars protecting rapist yet there is nothing out their for their victims unless they pay for it themselves. 

ZamEnt25 ZamEnt25

Ok. SO WHAT is going to be done about this? Do I think teen girls need to be more responsible, absolutely BUT RAPE IS NOT OK!

She was RAPED and girls who are jealous are calling her a slut! I hope that @Knight Sec helps in this case too!

Christina Mancuso-Henry

Hey Zam, I do not use Twitter but go flood Anon and Knight's twitters :P I posted on the Anon FB page. Hopefully it'll get some attention!

Eddie... EddiesMama83

The entire society is wrong. Boys should not rape girls. Kids should not drink. Parents should raise their teens and not just throw their kids out into the wild. Kids should be tought not to call other kids names. Bullying should not be encouraged. Police should do their job. Rape should be considered a serious crime. I could go on and on and on. This whole story sickens me.

mande... manderspanders

I don't think we live in a rape culture. I think this is something more or less made up to allow women to behave poorly and disregard any responsibility for their actions.  Men shouldn't rape.  BUT women should do their due diligence to protect themselves too.  Why is it that these stories ALL have the common denominator of teenage girls getting drunk at a party?  Why are the parents allowing the behavior and not teach both the BOYS AND GIRLS better?  Teenagers shouldn't be getting drunk at ANY parties.  Boys should know what consent is and honor that. Girls shouldn't get in a position that they lose control of themselves (through being impaired).  I see the fault on both sides.  Fact of the matter is that rape has existed for as long as humans have... it isn't something that can likely be eradicated, but we can do better by our children by teaching them how to respect themselves and others - something that is completely lost on today's youth.

kateco2 kateco2

Uhhhh, Manderspanders?  ..."made up to allow women to behave poorly and disregard any responsibility for their actions"?  What about those of us who were just  going about our day, not drinking, not flirting, not wearing sexy clothes... but get assaulted and raped ANYWAY?  When a 12YO (or 15YO or 18YO or 60YO - I don't care HOW old the victim is!) can't behave "silly" or "irresponsibly" or however-they-damn-well-please in public withOUT having to worry, "Oh no, is this behavior going to make someone want to RAPE me?!"... then - that IS rape culture.  No way, no how, NEVER is the victim even PARTIALLY to blame for rape or sexual assault!  RAPE CULTURE means just this: blaming the victim for their own assault (ie. "well, she was drunk." "well, she was behaving irresponsibly." "well, she asked for it.")  SO, yeah. You DO live in a Rape Culture, and guess what?  From your statement, I think I'm pretty well qualified to say that YOU, my dear, are a PART OF IT.

nonmember avatar ThatGirl

Manderspanders: the only natural consequence for getting drunk should be a hangover, not rape. You treating sexual assault like a natural outcome from drinking too much is exactly what people mean when they talk about 'rape culture'. A natural consequence of wearing a short skirt is cold legs, not rape. Stop normalizing it as something women and girls should expect if they don't walk the fine line society sets up for them, all the while giving boys and men this broad playing field where they can do whatever they want without concern for their safety, at least when it comes to sexual assault. I doubt if a teen boy got drunk at a party with his friends and woke up with a bleeding butt that you would say he should have expected that.

mande... manderspanders

kateco, you took my comment COMPLETELY out of context.  But yes, women are generally allowed a pass on their bad behavior.  I never said anything about the random acts that happen to people minding their own business, going about their day.  Getting drunk does NOT equal "being silly".

For as much as it is INEXCUSABLE that teenage boys rape girls who cannot consent; it is INEXCUSABLE that teenage girls are getting themselves that impaired to begin with.  They have personal responsibility, too. And you can't talk about this type of situation without talking about ALL OF IT.

You aren't "qualified" to say anything about me... and I am entitled to my opinion AND to express it.

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