Rehtaeh Parsons took her life last week after a brutal gang rape and online bullying from her peers, but the family of the Canadian 17-year-old girl may still see justice.
Though police initially said there was not enough evidence to charge the alleged perpetrators of the 2011 rape, authorities in Canada say they may re-open the case.
Nova Scotia Justice Minister Ross Landry said he will meet with Rehtaeh’s mother, Leah, to “discuss her experience with the justice system.”
“I know that law enforcement and the public prosecution service do their best, every day, to administer and enforce the law,” Landry said. “I am committed to exploring the mechanisms that exist to review the actions of all relevant authorities to ensure the system is always working to the best of its ability, in pursuit of justice.”
The alleged rape took place in 2011, an event that left Rehtaeh Parsons scarred. The situation became worse when she faced online bullying from her peers.
Despite her family moving to a new town and the girl recovering, Rehtaeh Parsons struggled with emotional paid, and last Thursday she hanged herself in a bathroom. Her parents took her off life support after three days in the hospital, and the 17-year-old Canadian girl died.
Rehtaeh Parsons was never the same the incident 17 months ago, her mother wrote on a Facebook memorial page.
“She went with a friend to another’s home. In that home, she was raped by four young boys,” wrote Leah Parsons. “One of those boys took a photo of her being raped and decided it would be fun to distribute the photo to everyone in Rehtaeh’s school and community, where it quickly went viral.”
The alleged rapists also went to the school, and Rehtaeh could no longer face the students and their online bullying.
“She was never left alone. She had to leave the community. Her friends turned against her. People harassed her. Boys she didn’t know started texting her and Facebooking her asking her to have sex with them. It just never stopped,” her mother told CBC.
Her mother added that the suicide came in a moment of profound pain and weakness for Rehtaeh Parsons.
“She acted on an impulse, but I truly, in my heart of heart, do not feel she meant to kill herself,” her mother wrote on Facebook. “By the time I broke into the bathroom, it was too late.”
RCMP officials had originally investigated the gang rape of Rehtaeh Parsons but said there wasn’t enough evidence to charge the boys allegedly involved.