Bullying, cyber-bullying and teasing never results in a good ending. When will it stop?
Another beautiful young woman has taken her own life after being bullied. It wasn’t bad enough that she was raped in November of 2011. According to her mother, she went with a friend to another’s home where she was later raped by four boys. One of them took a photo and decided to distribute the photo to everyone in her school and community.
Her name was Rehtaeh Parsons, and she was just 15 when her life was changed forever.
Did other students respond with compassion for Rehtaeh and disdain for the attackers and the boy who showed the photo around? That is what should have happened. But no, she was labeled a slut, harassed by others, and never left alone. Her friends even turned against her. Boys she didn’t know started texting her and sending her messages on Facebook asking her to have sex with them. It wouldn’t stop.
Were the boys ever charged with the rape? No. Although the police apparently believed Rehtaeh, there was not enough evidence to proceed with charges. It came down to "he said, she said." Rehtaeh changed cities and schools, but the harassment continued. She checked herself into a hospital because she was feeling depressed and worried about harming herself.
It all became too much for her and she tried to kill herself. She was rushed to hospital where she never regained consciousness. One week later, she was taken off of life support and died.
When Will it Stop?
When will people show compassion for victims of bullying or rape? When will people stop circulating harmful photos? When will we collectively stand up and say enough!?
Talk to your kids, please. Let them know that bullying is not ok, that they are responsible for their actions, and that it is never ok to harm anyone. Let them know they are beautiful and loved. Despite all the tragedies of late, I still believe that we can have a better world for our children if we try hard enough and really pay attention to what is going on in their lives, and the lives of those around them. Will you be part of the solution?