CALGARY - Prime Minister Stephen Harper says it's time to stop using the word bullying to describe what's alleged to have happened to Rehtaeh Parsons.
The Nova Scotia girl's family says she hanged herself last week after she was sexually assaulted by four boys and a photo of the alleged incident was distributed online.
Harper says bullying has the connotation of kids misbehaving, but what has been described in this case is criminal activity.
He told reporters in Calgary he was shocked and saddened by the 17-year-old's death, especially since he and his wife Laureen are parents of a teenage girl themselves.
Harper says the federal government will do what it can to encourage anti-bullying strategies and he is encouraged by the actions being taken by the Nova Scotia government.
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/09/rehtaeh-parsons-girl-dies-suicide-rape-canada_n_3045033.html" target="_blank">Rehtaeh Parsons</a>, 17, committed suicide last week after she was allegedly raped when she was 15. The boys took a photo of her and then spread the photo to students at her school. Months of bullying followed. Police investigated the case but never pressed charges.
ON THE BLOG: Rehtaeh Parsons Was My Daughter
ON THE BLOG: What All Boys Should Be Told About Rehtaeh Parsons
B.C. teen <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/news/amanda-todd" target="_blank">Amanda Todd</a> took her life in 2012 after months of online bullying over an explicit photo of her was sent to students at her school. <P> Todd posted a moving YouTube clip chronicling the bullying she faced. Her death sparked greater awareness of bullying in B.C. and across Canada.
ON THE BLOG: Will the Law Listen to Amanda Todd's Story?
ON THE BLOG: The One Thing I Know Bullies Cannot Take Away
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2011/09/29/mitchell-wilson-suicide-disabled-bullying_n_987070.html" target="_blank">Mitchell Wilson</a>, 11, was bullied and mugged because of his muscular dystrophy, a condition that made it hard for Mitchell to walk and perform physical activity. The Pickering, Ont. boy continued to be tormented and committed suicide in the fall of 2011, shortly before he was to testify at the trial of the boy who allegedly attacked him. (The boy was acquitted).
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2011/10/17/hubley-ottawa-teen-suicide-bullying_n_1016828.html" target="_blank">Jamie Hubley</a>, 15, was the son of an Ottawa city councillor who had been suffering from depression but was also being bullied for being gay. He took his life in 2011. Jamie was a talented figure skater and musician, his father said.
Rick Mercer On Jamie Hubley's Suicide
Comedian Rick Mercer <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2011/10/26/jamie-hubley-suicide-rick-mercer-rant_n_1032750.html" target="_blank">dedicated one of his 'rants' to Hubley's suicide.</a> "He was gay alright. He was a great big goofy gay kid singing Lady Gaga on the Internet. And as an adult, you look at that and you go, you know what? That kid's going places. But for some reason, some kids, they looked at that and they attacked and now he's gone," he said.
ON THE BLOG: Cyber-Bullying Hits Home
An aspiring musician, 15-year-old Jenna Bowers-Bryanton took her life in January, 2011, after clips of her performances were criticized by bullies at school and online. <P>"They told her she had no talent, that she was ugly, that she may as well go kill herself," <a href="http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-scotia/story/2011/03/28/ns-jenna-cyberbullying.html" target="_blank">Marsha Milner, a family friend told the CBC. </a>"The things that were said to her and the way she was bullied pushed her over the brink."
Anti-Bullying and Mental Health Resources Across Canada
Vancouver poet Shane Koyczan and animators from around this world <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2013/02/20/to-this-day-shane-koyczan-anti-bullying_n_2727057.html" target="_blank">created this beautiful tribute to those who have been bullied. </a>We've also provided links to a number of anti-bullying resources below: <a href="http://www.kidshelpphone.ca/teens/home/splash.aspx" target="_blank"><strong>Kid's Help Phone</strong></a> <a href="http://www.stopabully.ca/" target="_blank"><strong>Stop A Bully.Ca</strong></a> <a href="http://bullyingcanada.ca/index.php" target="_blank"><strong>Bullying Canada</strong></a> <a href="http://www.pinkshirtday.ca/" target="_blank"><strong>PinkShirtDay.ca</strong></a>