By Ruth Davenport - Metro Halifax
HALIFAX - Rehtaeh Parsonâs father said he was shocked by the story of another teenaged girl being victimized by classmates over the online video of a sex act.
âI canât believe Iâm reading this today in the paper. I canât believe it,â said Glen Canning Tuesday. âWhat the hell is going on in Nova Scotia?â
Canningâs 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 Rehtaehâs mother went public with her story in hopes of preventing it happening to another girl â and reading the Metro story of a 15-year-old Dartmouth girl who has dropped out of school under similar circumstances âstruck a huge nerve.â
â(Rehtaeh) just got so depressed, she ended her life,â he said. âI can imagine this girl is going through the same thing, and what are we going to do, sit here and watch this again?â
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 girlâs permission at a party where alcohol was present.
The girlâs mother said her daughter was too drunk to stand without help, let alone consent.
As in Rehtaehâs 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 heâs also mystified by the kidsâ behaviour.
âIâd love to read tomorrow that police went to a bunch of schools and made a bunch of arrests and theyâre charging kids with criminal harassment,â he said. âThey gotta know that doing that to someone is just going to devastate them, and what are they doing it for? A thrill, a kick?â
He applauded the Dartmouth woman for standing by her daughter, but said she canât stand by and wait for the system to work.
âScream at the top of your goddamned lungs, and donât stop screaming until someone is listening and someone is doing something about it,â he said. âWe let the system work with Rae and we didnât scream loud enough, and I regret that deeply.â