DARTMOUTH - Over 100 supporters braved the chilly, wet weather in Cole Harbour on Saturday afternoon in a walk to remember Rehtaeh Parsons and bring awareness to sexual violence.
Parsons attempted to take her own life one year ago Saturday, later dying in hospital. Her parents say this came following months of bullying after a photo of her alleged rape was circulated around school.
Susan Rebecca was a childhood friend of Rehtaeh, and said educating her peers on the situation has been a problem in her school.
‚ÄúI had to talk with the principal and even have a couple of meetings to change around my signs because they didn‚Äôt allow what I had on it, which I thought was very disrespectful because I‚Äôm just trying to bring awareness and remember Rehtaeh,‚ÄĚ Rebecca said.
‚ÄúI just keep approaching them (school staff) and let them know it‚Äôs not something I‚Äôm going to forget about.‚ÄĚ
Sara Jane Corke is a close friend of Rehtaeh‚Äôs mother Leah Parsons. Corke said more needs to be done to prevent this sort of crime from happening again.
‚ÄúI cannot say that I‚Äôm happy with what we‚Äôve accomplished in the past year. I‚Äôm still very upset with the performance of the police department in this case,‚ÄĚ Corke said.
‚ÄúI think the report from the hospital did have some positive impact and I hope the situation will change there,‚ÄĚ she said about the review into the IWK Health Centre‚Äôs programs and counselling supports.
Audrey McGowan didn‚Äôt know Parsons or her family, but has teenage children of her own and feels that a message needs to be heard.
‚ÄúChildren just really need to know that no means no, before they‚Äôre teenagers and before they get to the alcohol stage of their lives,‚ÄĚ McGowan said.
She said she discussed the issue with her daughter and son. ‚ÄúI explained the whole thing to them, what the walk meant, what Rehtaeh meant and what people did to her.‚ÄĚ
The walk Rehtaeh began at Cole Harbour Place and continued down Portland Street, ending up at Woodlawn United Church.
Leah Parsons explained to the crowd they had chosen the route because it started beside Rehtaeh‚Äôs original high school (Cole Harbour High) and ended near Prince Andrew High, the school Parsons attended at the time of her death.