Trigger warning for discussion of sexual violence.
Another young Canadian woman is dead as a result of sexual abuse, exploitation, and subsequent victim-blaming, and, yet again, public discussion and media coverage is reducing this story from one of gender-based violence and oppression to one of bullying.
Rehtaeh Parsons, 17, died in Nova Scotia on Sunday night after having hanged herself 3 days priors. Her family is attributing her actions to the fact that in November 2011, when she was 15, she was allegedly* raped by 4 of teenage boys at a house party. A photo was taken of the alleged attack and distributed it amongst her schoolmates. Parsons’ family says that the police investigation was slow-going and made strategic errors, like failing to separate the boys for interviews. Police and crown prosecutors declined to lay charges due to a lack of evidence and Parsons’ family says that they were told that the photo was a community, not criminal, issue.