The news this past week has horrified me.
The rape and physiological torture of an HRM teenager shocked me. I couldn't believe that something so cruel could happen in our community. What bothers me the most is that the individuals who took advantage of of Rehtaeh Parsons are walking around free as could be and that she was failed at every turn.
How in this day and age is it even remotely possible that teenage boys think that raping a girl, taking pictures and sending those pictures around to their peers is just a prank. That it's cool to do that and then bully and persecute the girl that they violated?
When the picture arrived in an individuals message box either on their cell or social media or wherever, why did that person not have the guts to say "this is not alright." And stand up for Rehtaeh? What upbringing and social norm leads that person to continue to circulate the picture and then bully her, making her life so miserable that she had to change schools? Why is standing up for the victim isn't the first step?
The fact of the matter is that we are failing our children. What is it in our society and in the way our children are being raised that allows this to happen? Who are we allowing to be the main influence in our their lives? How much time are we spending with our children teaching them right from wrong? Why is a random act of kindness a "movement" and not the standard? What happened to family dinners, spending more time doing things with our kids and less time letting them spend time with technology as their main connection and entertainment?
I am not saying that daily family dinners and keeping one parent home at all times are the answers. Fact is they help. I have no choice in the latter...I have to work and I know so many others who are in the same position. Prices are higher so two incomes are often a necessity...but where is the time spent connecting with your kids offline? If you teach your kids from the get go that "a person's a person no matter how small" will it lead to a better society? (Dr. Seuss had so many things right)
You can do everything right and still our children will make mistakes, but this'd whole situation is such an uncontrolled series of mistakes and poor decisions that it is near unforgivable. The school has a duty to protect the victim not the bully, the police have a duty to protect the victim not the bullies, our COMMUNITY can do better.
It saddens me that this girl who could have had a limitless future has had her flame burnt out too early. She was bullied to death. Someone needs to stop protecting the minors who are committing adult crimes and shift the focus from their rights to the victim's rights. Frankly, screw them...look what they have done to this girl. They committed a crime and got away with it, and probably knew they would from the get go. If they are doing this at 15 what are they going to be doing at 17 or 20?
I have a daughter and a son and i would go to the end of the earth to protect them. It is my and my husbands job to ensure that they treat others how they want to be treated, to get them talking to us and to spend time helping them become good people.
We need to change what is the norm. Acts of kindness, respect and community should be the norm. Maybe it does start with family dinners, community volunteering and bedtime chats with our kids - but it sure in hell results in a kid who immediately tells their parents and goes to the police when they get a picture of a girl being raped.