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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.
“If you don’t do it, the internet’s going to do it for you.”
"I wish I had done a lot more."
MP Arnold Viersen was inspired by what happened to Rehtaeh Parsons.
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.
One of the best ways to shape a young person's mentality is to elicit an emotional response. While this tactic has been expertly employed in public health campaigns, it's rarely applied to sexual education. When it comes to consent, we simply don't teach real-life, visceral examples that could lessen the number of teens who go on to commit these crimes.
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?
"There is nothing civil to be found in the staggering toll sexual violence takes on our communities."