Nova Scotia Teen Rehtaeh Parsons Commits Suicide After Being Raped, Bullied

| by Sarah Fruchtnicht
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The mother of a Nova Scotia teen who committed suicide said her daughter was bullied and teased after being raped by four teenage boys.

Rehtaeh Parsons, 17, of Cole Harbour died in the hospital on Sunday, several days after she attempted suicide.

Her mother, Leah Parsons, claims her daughter was raped at the age of 15 at a party by four boys, who also took pictures of the assault.

“She walked into the school and everyone started calling her a slut,” her mother said.

Just days after the alleged rape, the photographs were circulating around Cole Harbour District High School.

“Everybody had it. She came home and had a breakdown,” Leah said.

Rehtaeh, who was a straight-A student prior to the incident, broke down and told her mother what had happened. She never returned to her high school.

When the Royal Canadian Mounted Police RCMP were called, the family was told there was too little evidence to proceed with charges.

"We have to deal in facts and not rumours," RCMP Cpl. Scott MacRae said. "We may not be able to go down certain roads because of the tragic circumstance.

"I feel like the door is always open for people to talk to a police agency,” he added.

The family claims they were told the photographs were not a criminal issue, although Rehtaeh was a minor.

A picture was retraced by the RCMP to one boy’s cell phone, but the girl’s father says the RCMP said it did not prove he was the one who took the photo. The boy was not charged.

Her mother says Rehtaeh suffered endless bullying and teasing from classmates, some of whom had been her friends.

“In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends,” Rehtaeh posted to her Facebook page.

“I couldn’t believe that everyone turned their backs on her,” her mother told The Globe on Tuesday.

She said her daughter only remember fragments from the assault. She remembered throwing up out of window and hearing one of her attackers yell, “Take a picture, take a picture.”

“She was never left alone,” said Leah. “Her friends turned against her, people harassed her, boys she didn’t know started texting her and Facebooking asking her to have sex with them since she had had sex with their friends. It just never stopped.”

Rehtaeh's father said that while teachers tried to help her, police did little to stop the harassment. Leah said the teen moved to live with her father in Halifax, but she was still depressed. In March the girl admitted herself to a hospital because she was having suicidal thoughts.

She was put on life support Thursday after her mother found her locked in the bathroom. The teen had hanged herself. She was taken off life support on Sunday.

“Rehtaeh was a very sensitive person and very insightful. She was a critical thinker, she thought outside the box. She was always a deep thinker, she ran, always understood the plight of others. She had great compassion. That’s who Rehtaeh was,” her mother said.

Sources: CBC News, Globe and Mail