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rehtaeh parsons glen canning
“If you don’t do it, the internet’s going to do it for you.”
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
Christie Blatchford column today on Rehtaeh Parsons, today, is hateful garbage. Essentially, Blatchford writes an entire column -- without one named source, without any sources at all, in fact -- to seemingly promote the notion that Rehtaeh Parsons wanted to get raped, and that the police were right not to do anything about it.
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.