By Ruth Davenport - Metro Halifax
HALIFAX - Rehtaeh Parson’s father said he was shocked by the story of another teenaged girl being victimized by classmates over the online video of a sex act.
“I can’t believe I’m reading this today in the paper. I can’t believe it,” said Glen Canning Tuesday. “What the hell is going on in Nova Scotia?”
Canning’s daughter Rehtaeh took her own life in April, two years after she was allegedly gang-raped at a party and then harassed relentlessly by other kids when a video of the incident was distributed via social media.
Canning said he and Rehtaeh’s mother went public with her story in hopes of preventing it happening to another girl – and reading the Metro story of a 15-year-old Dartmouth girl who has dropped out of school under similar circumstances “struck a huge nerve.”
“(Rehtaeh) just got so depressed, she ended her life,” he said. “I can imagine this girl is going through the same thing, and what are we going to do, sit here and watch this again?”
A 14-year-old boy has been arrested and charged with making and distributing child pornography. Police say the charges relate to a consensual act filmed without the girl’s permission at a party where alcohol was present.
The girl’s mother said her daughter was too drunk to stand without help, let alone consent.
As in Rehtaeh’s case, a video of the incident was posted on Facebook and has spread throughout HRM, resulting in torrents of abuse heaped on the teenaged girl, both online and at school.
Canning said the sluggish response of the justice system is frustrating, but he’s also mystified by the kids’ behaviour.
“I’d love to read tomorrow that police went to a bunch of schools and made a bunch of arrests and they’re charging kids with criminal harassment,” he said. “They gotta know that doing that to someone is just going to devastate them, and what are they doing it for? A thrill, a kick?”
He applauded the Dartmouth woman for standing by her daughter, but said she can’t stand by and wait for the system to work.
“Scream at the top of your goddamned lungs, and don’t stop screaming until someone is listening and someone is doing something about it,” he said. “We let the system work with Rae and we didn’t scream loud enough, and I regret that deeply.”