Since 2013, victims of sexual assault turned their whispered voices into powerful movements around the world. That is Rae's legacy.
What happened in Halifax is but an example of what's wrong with our criminal justice system - it turns "sexual assault" into "sex" and debates consent the entire trial while not once stopping to ask, "Does it make sense to anyone that this woman, in this state, would consent to having sex with anyone, let alone a total stranger?" Judge Gregory Lenehan believed it made sense and, in essence, gave consent on a young woman's behalf to something she doesn't even remember.
03/03/2017 04:14 EST
For me, when I was seventeen, I stood in our garage and looked around to see which beam would hold my weight. I don't know what stopped me. I've thought of suicide since Rehtaeh's death. Being in love has seen me through. If you're a young person dealing with thoughts of suicide, please know -- tomorrow is worth sticking around for. Tomorrow will be better and this will pass. Tomorrow needs you. Find something to hold on to. A pet. A garden. Wanting to see a movie. Find something to hold onto and know life is worth sticking around for. This will pass. You'll be OK. In your darkest moment, say to yourself, "Not today. Tomorrow needs me. I need to see what it brings." Tomorrow needs you. We all need you.
09/07/2016 08:06 EDT
For 30 minutes they held up a parade born from the outrage over the ignorance, intolerance, bigotry, abuse and hate LGBTQ people have experienced for being who they were born to be. If we learned anything at all, it should be that we remain silent as they speak, compassionate as they cry and outraged as they share.
07/08/2016 04:22 EDT
In the past three years I've learned that the most powerful tool to combat violence against women could very well be the minds of young men. I've learned that if we don't fill those minds with examples of virtue, empathy, affection, tolerance, trust, kindness, courage, and bravery, then those minds will end up being filled with ignorance, racism, sexism, hate, and anger. What would have happened to Rehtaeh Parsons if just one of the boys with her that night was informed about consent and his role in preventing sexual violence?
04/06/2016 08:58 EDT
This story broke with four women. This morning as I write this the number is up to eight, including the very much loved "Trailer Park Boys" actress Lucy DeCoutere. How high does the number have to go before we're able see the stinking rot through all the blinding smoke and roses? Why are we so willing to let this system stay the way it is? Why do words like "due process" and "innocent until proven guilty" sting so much? Why aren't we fixing this?
10/30/2014 09:51 EDT
Robin Williams didn't die from suicide, he died from depression. Zelda Williams eloquently wrote, "... I'll never, ever understand how he could be loved so deeply and not find it in his heart to stay..." She summed up the words of loved ones left behind beautifully. Rehtaeh didn't decide one night to kill herself -- she died a slow, painful death from a disease of the soul that kills close to 4,000 Canadians a year. Teenagers are talking about suicide and we need to make sure theirs are not the only voices in the conversation. Sadly, the very voices needed the most are the ones missing. The voices of teachers, parents, psychologists, doctors, police officers, mental health workers, and community leaders. We need to talk about suicide.
08/28/2014 08:25 EDT
This morning I spoke before The House of Commons' Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights and shared my thoughts on Bill C-13. I know there are concerns with C-13 and believe me, if there was something better on the table I'd be all over it. There isn't, not that I can see. Police have to have the ability to act fast when it comes to cyber-crime or their response is pointless. Our children's rights and privacy is already being violated -- violated by some of the sickest people you can imagine. If it's a choice between them and the police I'm siding with the police.
05/13/2014 05:29 EDT
Today marks one year since I last saw my daughter Rehtaeh alive. The last time we spoke, the last good bye, and the last "I love you." She got out of my car and walked into her mom's house. On the way home she asked if we could stop at McDonald's. How I wish we did, one last time. Rae passed away April 7, 2013. It's been a year-long nightmare but I try to keep hold of myself. Now that I'm outspoken about our daughter's struggles I've unfortunately attracted the attention of the worst society has to offer. They send messages reminding me Rehtaeh is "worm food," she's dead because I failed as a father. But it's mainly through talking that I've learned the difference Rehtaeh made and the impact she's had on others.
04/02/2014 11:44 EDT
Rapists rely on other men to excuse and justify their crimes against women. Other men who'll laugh at their jokes, invite them to parties, play sports with them, introduce them to other women. Men who'll give them jobs, feed them, and help them blame their victims even if it's by indifference. Men, good men, need to stand up and do to rapists and their supporters what we do to child molesters. Imagine the difference it would make if a man who jokes about rape and always doubts victims entered a room to silence, whispers, stares, and looks of disgust from other men. There is no difference between a man who rapes and a man who befriends and defends him.
02/25/2014 12:12 EST
Rehtaeh Parsons will live on in the lives of others thanks to the organ donations made after her death. I received a letter from an organ recipient. This unnamed person found out this year they needed a new heart. Their family and friends were scared because they almost died. Then the words hit me, the recipient is "only 17 years old." Rehtaeh's age.
11/28/2013 12:17 EST
We were horrified to find out that taking a photograph of oneself having sex with an unknowing and unconscious person then texting it out to pretty much everyone she knows wasn't a crime in Canada. Seriously, trust me. It isn't. But now, fortunately, it will be. I am very grateful to hear that Justice Minister Peter MacKay and Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney have announced new legislation that will address this disgusting crime that devastated our daughter Rehtaeh. Now, thanks to this new legislation, ignoring these young victims and their families will no longer be an option.
11/21/2013 10:50 EST
Rita-Clare LeBlanc had reached the darkest moment of her young life. The months of bullying at her high school had taken a toll and she decided to end her life and become yet another statistic of Nova Scotia's abysmal bullying record. She sat alone in her room and started to swallow her father's blood pressure pills. She was going to take as many as she could before passing out and dying. Fortunately, before the point of no return, her mother walked in and made her throw up the pills. She held her, cried with her, and together they vowed to do whatever it took to put Rita-Clare's promising life back together. Her story sounds so familiar by now.
09/30/2013 12:57 EDT
Yesterday it came to my attention that an image of Rehtaeh appeared on a dating web site ad that was displayed on Facebook. There she was, smiling, and being used yet again. To their credit Facebook removed the ad with un-Facebook-like speed and banned the company that posted it. Sadly this is the reality of life online. Once an image is out there it's out there forever. There's nothing anyone can do but hope those who come across it will use it respectfully. Sadly that wasn't the case here.
09/18/2013 01:52 EDT
A tweet by Dr. Phil resulted in a lot of grief for the TV host. It simple asks: "If a girl is drunk, is it OK to have sex with her?" I want to give you the perspective of a father whose daughter was gang-raped while she was intoxicated. Through my eyes, that question isn't really offensive at all. What offends me is the simple fact that in Rehtaeh's case, the answer to the question was, and remains, a sickening "yes." That question needed to be asked, and, sadly, in Nova Scotia, it needs a better answer. I truly hope, for our daughters sake, we get one soon.
08/21/2013 04:19 EDT
I truly hope you read this with an open mind and just try to forget everything you know or think you know about this case. When you're finished you can conclude for yourself if you believe my daughter was telling the truth when she told the police she was raped.
08/10/2013 05:07 EDT
Today marks four months since my daughter Rehtaeh ended her life. It's said that losing a child is the hardest thing a person can experience and if there is something worse I can't imagine what it could possibly be. The last four months have been hell peppered with smiles as I think back on memories. I cherish those when they come, even if they last for only a moment. This is the hardest thing I have ever faced. This is an ocean of grief. I'm treading water in a tidal wave of pain, disbelief, anger, sadness, waves and waves of heartache.
08/07/2013 04:28 EDT
Are there no fathers working at Facebook? No brothers or husbands? Where are the men and why are they silent about a company policy that jokes about rape and violence against women are not wrong so long as they appear in the humour section? Allowing for rape jokes puts Facebook on the same level as all the other women-hating garbage out there in cyberspace. I can't image working for a company that would allow for something as sick as rape jokes. Not in my position. Not after seeing what rape did to my beautiful, talented daughter. I can still hear her cry and see the hurt on her face. Man to man, Mr. Zuckerberg, I need your help.
05/28/2013 03:01 EDT
This morning I woke up and read an article in the National Post about Rehtaeh's case. I'm not upset or mad. A little disappointed maybe. The writer, Christie Blatchford, makes a few statements I would like to address. I told Rehtaeh all the time that justice is a long shot and even that people will think she either asked for it, or she deserved it. I just wanted her to be prepared. She just wanted to be believed.
04/26/2013 01:59 EDT
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.
04/10/2013 08:28 EDT
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