When it comes to a parent's nightmares, they don't get much worse. Imagine your child commits suicide after being victimized by rapists and bullies both. Then imagine you open up Facebook one day to see her face staring back at you from a dating ad. Welcome to the newest horror in Rehtaeh Parsons' parents' life: stolen photos being used to sell things on the Internet.
The teen's sad story become international news when she hanged herself after being gang-raped by four teenagers, after being mocked on the Internet in a case markedly similar to the Steubenville rape case. And now it's back, shoved into the spotlight, her parents forced to relive their trauma all over again, because some jerk decided to steal their dead child's photo to try to sell folks on Internet dating.
The site, ionechat.com, is no longer live, and its Facebook page has been deleted. Facebook itself has banned them and called the incident "unfortunate."
I'd go further than that.
Stealing photos on the Internet has caused enough people heartache over the years, but it really tops out the sick-o-meter when you take a dead child's photo and try to use it to make some money.
Didn't they think about this kid's family? About what it would be like for Glen Canning to turn on his computer and see his little girl staring back at him from an offer to "Find love in Canada!" Because apparently Rehtaeh's dad did see them, even though they were pulled within two hours when people made complaints to Facebook. As he said on his blog:
I am completely bewildered and disgusted by this. This is my daughter, Rehtaeh. They have her in an ad for meeting singles. I don’t even know what to say.
I don't think there are words out there to describe the injustice of that man having to go through that ... after all he's already endured.
He deserved better. Parents who have lost children always deserve better. There are few people in this world I have more sympathy for than parents who have lost their children.
Why didn't these people?
Have you ever seen one of your photos being used online? What did you do?