It is understandable that friends and family members would instinctively rush to the defense of loved ones accused of a terrible crime. And, of course, they’re innocent until proven guilty, and there may be details about the Rehtaeh Parsons case which we haven’t heard yet.
That said, what kind of jackals would do something like this?
Rehtaeh Parsons’ mother is calling a rash of posters, some placed on the street outside her home, a form of harassment.
“It just felt like someone kicked me in the stomach. How dare they do that?” Leah Parsons told Global News.
“My daughter is gone because of them and they have the nerve to show up on my street and my community where my children live and keep harassing us. That’s harassment.”
Rehtaeh was taken off life support just over a week ago, after she hanged herself in her Cole Harbour home. Rehtaeh was allegedly sexually assaulted by four boys in 2011, and a picture of the assault was distributed throughout her school. An initial police investigation did not yield any charges.
Parsons says it was the assault and subsequent bullying that pushed her daughter to commit suicide.
The posters, printed in bright neon colours, were put up in Cole Harbour, Eastern Passage and Halifax. Entitled “Speak the Truth,” the posters encourage people to “listen before you judge” and to “stay strong” and “support the boys.”
This isn’t the only backlash. After Sunday’s rally outside the Halifax Regional Police headquarters on Gottingen St, a counter-protest took place with the same message of “support the boys.” There was also a Facebook page created to support the young men, although it has since been taken down reportedly at the behest of the RCMP.
“Just keep your heads up guys,” wrote one poster. “This will go away in time and just keep in mind everybody that knows you, knows you didn’t do anything.”
Global News has tried repeatedly to reach out to the boys and their families, but they have not offered a comment. [emphasis added]
I never saw the defunct pro-accused Facebook page. But the feminist blog Dance of Red has been monitoring the alleged rapists’ supporters online, and as you might expect, they’re overwhelmingly focused on attacking the character of a girl who can no longer fight back.
And they think this makes them look innocent.