by CHRISTINE ABRAHAM Photographer
Rehtaeh Parsons and Audrie Pott are teens who committed suicide due to bullying stemming from sexual assault.
Seventeen-year-old Canadian teen Parsons hanged herself on April 7 due to harassment about her sexual assault back in 2011.
Parsons went to a friend’s home where she was raped by four teenage boys who were drinking vodka at a small party in November 2011 when Parsons was 15.
She was under the influence and had no memory of what had happened, except for the fact that she had vomited.
After being assaulted, a photograph of Parsons being sexually assaulted went viral online and became widespread around her school and town.
She was then constantly bullied, from being called a “slut” to receiving Facebook messages from people requesting to have sex with her.
The alleged rape was not reported until Parsons had broken down and told her mother and father about the incident, and then contacted an emergency health team and the police.
Six boys, including the accused rapists, had an argument with three other boys. One of the three boys, a friend of Parsons, was stabbed, though it was a “non life-threatening injury.”
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police concluded an investigation, stating, “[A]n investigation into an earlier sexual assault was completed, and in consultation with the Crown, there was insufficient evidence to lay charges” in March 2013. The police decided the photo was not criminal since Parsons is a minor and there were no arrests for the March 2013 stabbing incident.
A group reported to be the cyber activist hackers released a statement that it has seen “several public statements” from one of the alleged rapists acknowledging that he had sex with Parsons while she was intoxicated and was vomiting during the assault. The group had vowed to release the names of the four rapists if the case did not reopen.
“That’s absolutely terrible. The girl had to die for the investigation to even be reopened! Obviously when the investigation stopped is when Rehtaeh Parsons probably thought she had completely lost and there was no way to go about her life with no closure,” said sophomore Brooke Thaxton.
After the suicide, the RCMP announced that they were reopening the case because of “new and credible information” that does not come from the Internet.
This case has constantly been compared to many cases, such as that of Audrie Pott who had similar characteristics.
Fifteen-year-old California student Pott committed suicide on September 12, 2012 due to rape and bullying.
Pott went to a party last August with 10 other teenagers who were all allegedly intoxicated. She was raped by three teenage boys while she was unconscious.
Photographs were taken and were posted on social networks, and text messages were sent during the assault.
One of the alleged rapists is a “boy she’d known since middle school.”
Days after the assault, Pott was bullied severely by anyone who had seen the photographs. On September 12, Pott took her own life by hanging herself.
“It wasn’t her fault that was raped! Why is she getting bullied?! Her family should’ve put her on extreme watch because she was obviously going to have problems coping with this unfortunate incident,” said sophomore Alexa Rizzo.
Three 16-year-old boys were arrested under suspicion of sexual battery in April 2013. They have currently been released to the custody of their parents, though they are on home detention and must wear ankle bracelets.