Cyberbullyingis the use of the Internet and related technologies to harm other people, in a deliberate, repeated, and hostile manner. As it has become more common in society, particularly among young people, legislation and awareness campaigns have arisen to combat it.
DefinitionLegal definitionCyberbullying is defined in legal glossaries as actions that use information and communication technologies to support deliberate, repeated, and hostile behavior by an individual or group, that is intended to harm another or others.use of communication technologies for the intention of harming another personuse of internet service and mobile technologies such as web pages and discussion groups as well as instant messaging or SMS text messaging with the intention of harming another person.Examples of what constitutes cyberbullying include communications that seek to intimidate, control, manipulate, put down, falsely discredit, or humiliate the recipient. The actions are deliberate, repeated, and hostile behavior intended to harm another. Cyberbullying has been defined by The National Crime Prevention Council: “When the Internet, cell phones or other devices are used to send or post text or images intended to hurt or embarrass another person."A cyberbully may be a person whom the target knows or an online stranger. A cyberbully may be anonymous and may solicit involvement of other people online who do not even know the target. This is known as a 'digital pile-on.'
Cyberbullying vs. cyberstalkingFurther information: CyberstalkingThe practice of cyberbullying is not limited to children and, while the behavior is identified by the same definition when practiced by adults, the distinction in age groups sometimes refers to the abuse as cyber stalking or cyber harassment when perpetrated by adults toward adults. Common tactics used by cyberstalkers are performed in public forums, social media or online information sites and are intended to threaten a victim's earnings, employment, reputation, or safety. Behaviors may include encouraging others to harass the victim and trying to affect a victim's online participation. Many cyber stalkers try to damage the reputation of their victim and turn other people against them.Cyberstalking may include false accusations, monitoring, making threats, identity theft, damage to data or equipment, the solicitation of minors for sex, or gathering information in order to harass. A repeated pattern of such actions and harassment against a target by an adult constitutes cyberstalking.Cyberstalking often features linked patterns of online and offline behavior. There are consequences of law in offline stalking and online stalking, and cyber-stalkers can be put in jail. Cyberstalking is a form of cyberbullying.Methods usedManuals to educate the public, teachers and parents summarize, "Cyberbullying is being cruel to others by sending or posting harmful material using a cell phone or the internet." Research, legislation and education in the field are ongoing. Basic definitions and guidelines to help recognize and cope with what is regarded as abuse of electronic communications have been identified.Cyberbullying involves repeated behavior with intent to harm and repeated natureCyberbullying is perpetrated through Harassment, Cyberstalking, Denigration (sending or posting cruel rumors and falsehoods to damage reputation and friendships), Impersonation, Exclusion (intentionally and cruelly excluding someone from an online group)Cyberbullying can be as simple as continuing to send e-mails or text messages harassing someone who has said they want no further contact with the sender. It may also include public actions such as repeated threats, sexual remarks, pejorative labels (i.e., hate speech) or defamatory false accusations), ganging up on a victim by making the person the subject of ridicule in online forums, hacking into or vandalizing sites about a person, and posting false statements as fact aimed a discrediting or humiliating a targeted person. Cyberbullying could be limited to posting rumors about a person on the internet with the intention of bringing about hatred in others' minds or convincing others to dislike or participate in online denigration of a target. It may go to the extent of personally identifying victims of crime and publishing materials severely defaming or humiliating them.Cyberbullies may disclose victims' personal data (e.g. real name, home address, or workplace/schools) at websites or forums or may use impersonation, creating fake accounts, comments or sites posing as their target for the purpose of publishing material in their name that defames, discredits or ridicules them. This can leave the cyberbully anonymous which can make it difficult for the offender to be caught or punished for their behavior. Though, not all cyberbullies use anonymity. Text or instant messages and emails between friends can also be cyberbullying if what is said or displayed is hurtful to the participants.Some cyberbullies may also send threatening and harassing emails, instant messages or texts to the victims. Others post rumors or gossip and instigate others to dislike and gang up on the target.Growing awarenessCyberbullying has subsequently been defined as "when the Internet, cell phones or other devices are used to send or post text or images intended to hurt or embarrass another person". Other researchers use similar language to describe the phenomenon.Law enforcement: cyberbullying, cyberstalking and electronic harassmentA majority of states have laws that explicitly include electronic forms of communication within stalking or harassment laws. Most law enforcement agencies have cyber-crime units and often Internet stalking is treated with more seriousness than reports of physical stalking. Help and resources can be searched by State or area.SchoolsThe safety of schools is increasingly becoming a focus of state legislative action. There was an increase in cyberbullying enacted legislation between 2006-2010. Initiatives and curriclulum requirements also exist in the UK (the Ofsted eSafety guidance) and Australia (Overarching Learning Outcome 13). In 2012, a group of teens in New Haven, Connecticut developed an app to help fight bullying. Called "Back Off Bully" (BOB), the web app is an anonymous resource for computer, smart phone or iPad. When someone witnesses or is the victim of bullying, they can immediately report the incident. The app asks questions about time, location and how the bullying is happening. As well as providing positive action and empowerment over an incident, the reported information helps by going to a data base where administrators study it. Common threads are spotted so others can intervene and break the bully's pattern. BOB, the brainchild of fourteen teens in a design class, is being considered as standard operating procedure at schools across the state.Protection for victims of any ageThere are laws that only address online harassment of children or focus on child predators as well as laws that protect adult cyberstalking victims, or victims of any age. Currently, there are 45 cyberstalking (and related) laws on the books.While some sites specialize in laws that protect victims age 18 and under, Working to Halt Online Abuse is a help resource containing a list of current and pending cyberstalking-related United States federal and state laws. It also lists those states that do not have laws yet and related laws from other countries. The Global Cyber Law Database (GCLD) aims to become the most comprehensive and authoritative source of cyber laws for all countries.
BehaviorChildren and adolescentsKids report being mean to each other online beginning as young as 2nd grade. According to research, boys initiate mean online activity earlier than girls do. However, by middle school, girls are more likely to engage in cyberbullying than boys. Whether the bully is male or female, his or her purpose is to intentionally embarrass others, harass, intimidate, or make threats online to one another. This bullying occurs via email, text messaging, posts to blogs, and web sites.The National Crime Prevention Association lists tactics often used by teen cyberbullies.
- Pretend they are other people online to trick others
- Spread lies and rumors about victims
- Trick people into revealing personal information
- Send or forward mean text messages
- Post pictures of victims without their consentStudies in the psychosocial effects of cyberspace have begun to monitor the impacts cyberbullying may have on the victims, and the consequences it may lead to. Consequences of cyberbullying are multi-faceted, and affect online and offline behavior. Research on adolescents reported that changes in the victims' behavior as a result of cyberbullying could be positive. Victims "created a cognitive pattern of bullies, which consequently helped them to recognize aggressive people." However, the Journal of Psychosocial Research on Cyberspace abstract reports critical impacts in almost all of the respondents’, taking the form of lower self-esteem, loneliness, disillusionment, and distrust of people. The more extreme impacts were self-harm. Children have killed each other and committed suicide after having been involved in a cyberbullying incident.The most current research in the field defines cyberbullying as "an aggressive, intentional act or behaviour that is carried out by a group or an individual repeatedly and over time against a victim who cannot easily defend him or herself" (Smith & Slonje, 2007, p. 249). the use of sexual remarks and threats are sometimes present in cyberbullying, it is not the same as sexual harassment, typically occurs among peers, and does not necessarily involve sexual predators.
AdultsStalking online has criminal consequences just as physical stalking. A target's understanding of why cyberstalking is happening is helpful to remedy and take protective action to restore remedy. Cyberstalking is an extension of physical stalking. Among factors that motivate stalkers are: envy, pathological obsession (professional or sexual), unemployment or failure with own job or life; intention to intimidate and cause others to feel inferior; the stalker is delusional and believes he/she "knows" the target; the stalker wants to instill fear in a person to justify his/her status; belief they can get away with it (anonymity). UK National Workplace Bullying Advice Line theorizes that bullies harass victims in order to make up for inadequacies in their own lives.The US federal cyberstalking law is designed to prosecute people for using electronic means to repeatedly harass or threaten someone online. There are resources dedicated to assisting adult victims deal with cyberbullies legally and effectively. One of the steps recommended is to record everything and contact police.
ResearchAustraliaThe nation-wide Australian Covert Bullying Prevalence Survey (Cross et al., 2009) assessed cyber-bullying experiences among 7,418 students. Rates of cyber-bullying increased with age, with 4.9% of students in Year 4 reporting cyberbullying compared to 7.9% in year nine. Cross et al., (2009) reported that rates of bullying and harassing others were lower, but also increased with age. Only 1.2% of Year 4 students reported cyber-bullying others compared to 5.6% of Year 9 students.
CanadaSimilarly, a Canadian study found:23% of middle-schoolers surveyed had been bullied by e-mail35% in chat rooms41% by text messages on their cell phonesFully 41% did not know the identity of the perpetrators.
European UnionReporting on the results from a meta analysis from European Union countries, Hasebrink et al. (2009) estimated (via median results) that approximately 18% of European young people had been "bullied/harassed/stalked" via the internet and mobile phones. Cyber-harassment rates for young people across the EU member states ranged from 10% to 52%.FinlandIn addition to the current research, Sourander et al. (2010) conducted a population-based cross-sectional study that took place in Finland. The authors of this study took the self-reports of 2215 Finish adolescents between the ages of 13 to 16 years old about cyberbullying and cybervictimization during the past 6 months. It was found that, amongst the total sample, 4.8% were cybervictims only, 7.4% were cyberbullies only, and 5.4% were cyberbully-victims. Cybervictim-only status was associated with a variety of factors, including emotional and peer problems, sleeping difficulties, and feeling unsafe in school. Cyberbully-only status was associated with factors such as hyperactivity and low prosocial behavior, as well as conduct problems. Cyberbully-victim status was associated with all of the risk factors that were associated with both cybervictim-only status and cyberbully-only status. The authors of this study were able to conclude that cyberbullying as well as cybervictimization is associated not only with psychiatric issues, but psychosomatic issues. Many adolescents in the study reported headaches or difficulty sleeping. The authors believe that their results indicate a greater need for new ideas on how to prevent cyberbullying and what to do when it occurs. It is clearly a world-wide problem that needs to be taken seriously.
2000A survey by the Crimes Against Children Research Center at the University of New Hampshire in 2000 found that 6% of the young people in the survey had experienced some form of harassment including threats and negative rumours and 2% had suffered distressing harassment.2004In September 2006, ABC News reported on a 2004 survey of 1,500 students between grades 4–8 which found:42% of kids have been bullied while online. One in four have had it happen more than once.35% of kids have been threatened online. Nearly one in five had had it happen more than once.21% of kids have received mean or threatening e-mails or other messages.58% of kids admit someone has said mean or hurtful things to them online. More than four out of ten say it has happened more than once.58% have not told their parents or an adult about something mean or hurtful that happened to them online.2005The Youth Internet Safety Survey-2, conducted by the Crimes Against Children Research Center at the University of New Hampshire in 2005, found that 9% of the young people in the survey had experienced some form of harassment. The survey was a nationally representative telephone survey of 1,500 youth 10–17 years old. One third reported feeling distressed by the incident, with distress being more likely for younger respondents and those who were the victims of aggressive harassment (including being telephoned, sent gifts, or visited at home by the harasser). Compared to youth not harassed online, victims are more likely to have social problems. On the other hand, youth who harass others are more likely to have problems with rule breaking and aggression. Significant overlap is seen — youth who are harassed are significantly more likely to also harass others.Hinduja and Patchin completed a study in the summer of 2005 of approximately 1,500 Internet-using adolescents and found that over one-third of youth reported being victimized online, and over 16% of respondents admitted to cyber-bullying others. While most of the instances of cyber-bullying involved relatively minor behavior (41% were disrespected, 19% were called names), over 12% were physically threatened and about 5% were scared for their safety. Notably, fewer than 15% of victims told an adult about the incident.Additional research by Hinduja and Patchin in 2007 found that youth who report being victims of cyber-bullying also experience stress or strain that is related to offline problem behaviors such as running away from home, cheating on a school test, skipping school, or using alcohol or marijuana. The authors acknowledge that both of these studies provide only preliminary information about the nature and consequences of online bullying, due to the methodological challenges associated with an online survey.According to a 2005 survey by the National Children's Home charity and Tesco Mobile of 770 youth between the ages of 11 and 19, 20% of respondents revealed that they had been bullied via electronic means. Almost three-quarters (73%) stated that they knew the bully, while 26% stated that the offender was a stranger. 10% of responders indicated that another person has taken a picture and/or video of them via a cellular phone camera, consequently making them feel uncomfortable, embarrassed, or threatened. Many youths are not comfortable telling an authority figure about their cyber-bullying victimization for fear their access to technology will be taken from them; while 24% and 14% told a parent or teacher respectively, 28% did not tell anyone while 41% told a friend.2007In 2007, Debbie Heimowitz, a Stanford University master's student, created Adina's Deck, a film based on Stanford accredited research. She worked in focus groups for ten weeks in three schools to learn about the problem of cyber-bullying in Northern California. The findings determined that over 60% of students had been cyber-bullied and were victims of cyber-bullying. The film is now being used in classrooms nationwide as it was designed around learning goals pertaining to problems that students had understanding the topic. The middle school of Megan Meier is reportedly using the film as a solution to the crisis in their town.2008In the summer of 2008, researchers Sameer Hinduja (Florida Atlantic University) and Justin Patchin (University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire) published a book on cyber-bullying that summarized the current state of cyber-bullying research. (Bullying Beyond the Schoolyard: Preventing and Responding to Cyberbullying).Their research documents that cyber-bullying instances have been increasing over the last several years. They also report findings from the most recent study of cyber-bullying among middle-school students. Using a random sample of approximately 2000 middle-school students from a large school district in the southern United States, about 10% of respondents had been cyber-bullied in the previous 30 days while over 17% reported being cyber-bullied at least once in their lifetime. While these rates are slightly lower than some of the findings from their previous research, Hinduja and Patchin point out that the earlier studies were predominantly conducted among older adolescents and Internet samples. That is, older youth use the Internet more frequently and are more likely to experience cyber-bullying than younger children.2011Distribution of cyberbullying venues used by young people in the US, according to the Centers for Disease Control The National Crime Prevention Council reported in 2011 that cyber-bullying is a problem that affects almost half of all American teens.Comparison to traditional bullyingCertain characteristics inherent in online technologies increase the likelihood that they will be exploited for deviant purposes. Unlike physical bullying, electronic bullies can remain virtually anonymous using temporary email accounts, pseudonyms in chat rooms, instant messaging programs, cell-phone text messaging, and other Internet venues to mask their identity; this perhaps frees them from normative and social constraints on their behavior.Additionally, electronic forums often lack supervision. While chat hosts regularly observe the dialog in some chat rooms in an effort to police conversations and evict offensive individuals, personal messages sent between users (such as electronic mail or text messages) are viewable only by the sender and the recipient, thereby outside the regulatory reach of such authorities. In addition, when teenagers know more about computers and cellular phones than their parents or guardians, they are therefore able to operate the technologies without concern that a parent will discover their experience with bullying (whether as a victim or offender).Another factor is the inseparability of a cellular phone from its owner, making that person a perpetual target for victimization. Users often need to keep their phone turned on for legitimate purposes, which provides the opportunity for those with malicious intentions to engage in persistent unwelcome behavior such as harassing telephone calls or threatening and insulting statements via the cellular phone’s text messaging capabilities. Cyberbullying thus penetrates the walls of a home, traditionally a place where victims could seek refuge from other forms of bullying. Compounding this infiltration into the home life of the cyberbully victim is the unique way in which the internet can "create simultaneous sensations of exposure (the whole world is watching) and alienation (no one understands)." For youth who experience shame or self-hatred, this effect is dangerous because it can lead to extreme self isolation.One possible advantage for victims of cyberbullying over traditional bullying is that they may sometimes be able to avoid it simply by avoiding the site/chat room in question. Email addresses and phone numbers can be changed; in addition, most e-mail accounts now offer services that will automatically filter out messages from certain senders before they even reach the inbox, and phones offer similar caller ID functions.However, this does not protect against all forms of cyberbullying; publishing of defamatory material about a person on the internet is extremely difficult to prevent and once it is posted, millions of people can potentially download it before it is removed. Some perpetrators may post victims' photos, or victims' edited photos like defaming captions or pasting victims' faces on nude bodies. Examples of famous forums for disclosing personal data or photos to "punish" the "enemies" include the Hong Kong Golden Forum, Live Journal, and more recently Juicy Campus. Despite policies that describe cyberbullying as a violation of the terms of service, many social networking Web sites have been used to that end.Legislation against cyberbullyingMain article: Cyberstalking legislation
United StatesLegislation geared at penalizing cyberbullying has been introduced in a number of U.S. states including New York, Missouri, Rhode Island and Maryland. At least seven states passed laws against digital harassment in 2007. Dardenne Prairie of Springfield, Missouri, passed a city ordinance making online harassment a misdemeanor. The city of St. Charles, Missouri has passed a similar ordinance. Missouri is among other states where lawmakers are pursuing state legislation, with a task forces expected to have “cyberbullying” laws drafted and implemented. In June, 2008, Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-Calif.) and Rep. Kenny Hulshof (R-Mo.) proposed a federal law that would criminalize acts of cyberbullying.Lawmakers are seeking to address cyberbullying with new legislation because there's currently no specific law on the books that deals with it. A fairly new federal cyberstalking law might address such acts, according to Parry Aftab, but no one has been prosecuted under it yet. The proposed federal law would make it illegal to use electronic means to "coerce, intimidate, harass or cause other substantial emotional distress."In August 2008the California state legislature passed one of the first laws in the country to deal directly with cyberbullying. The legislation, Assembly Bill 86 2008, gives school administrators the authority to discipline students for bullying others offline or online. This law took effect, January 1, 2009.A recent ruling first seen in the UK determined that it is possible for an Internet Service Provider (ISP) to be liable for the content of sites which it hosts, setting a precedent that any ISP should treat a notice of complaint seriously and investigate it immediately.Research on preventative legislationResearchers suggest that programs be put in place for prevention of cyberbullying. These programs would be incorporated into school curricula and would include online safety and instruction on how to use the Internet properly. This could teach the victim proper methods of potentially avoiding the cyberbully, such as blocking messages or increasing the security on their computer.Within this suggested school prevention model, even in a perfect world, not one crime can be stopped fully. That is why it is suggested that within this prevention method, effective coping strategies should be introduced and adopted. As with any crime, people learn to cope with what has happened, and the same goes for cyberbullying. People can adopt coping strategies to combat future cyberbullying events. An example of a coping strategy would be a social support group composed of various victims of cyberbullying. That could come together and share experiences, with a formal speaker leading the discussion. Something like a support group can allow students to share their stories, and allows that feeling of them being alone to be removed.Teachers should be involved in all prevention educational models, as they are essentially the "police" of the classroom. Most cyberbullying often goes unreported as the victim feels nothing can be done to help in their current situation. However, if given the proper tools with preventative measures and more power in the classroom, teachers can be of assistance to the problem of cyber-bullying. If the parent, teacher, and victim can work together, a possible solution or remedy can be found.There have been many legislative attempts to facilitate the control of bullying and cyberbullying. The problem is due to the fact that some existing legislation is incorrectly thought to be tied to bullying and cyberbullying (terms such as libel and slander). The problem is they do not directly apply to it nor define it as its own criminal behavior. Anti-cyberbullying advocates even expressed concern about the broad scope of applicability of some of the bills attempted to be passed.In the United States, attempts were made to pass legislation against cyberbullying. Few states attempted to pass broad sanctions in an effort to prohibit cyberbullying. Problem include how to define cyberbullying and cyberstalking, and if charges are pressed, whether it violates the bully's freedom of speech. B. Walther has said that "Illinois is the only state to criminalize 'electronic communication(s) sent for the purpose of harassing another person' when the activity takes place outside a public school setting." Again this came under fire for infringement on freedom of speech.Harmful effectsResearch had demonstrated a number of serious consequences of cyberbullying victimization.For example, victims have lower self-esteem, increased suicidal ideation, and a variety of emotional responses, retaliating, being scared, frustrated, angry, and depressed.One of the most damaging effects is that a victim begins to avoid friends and activities, often the very intention of the cyberbully.Cyberbullying campaigns are sometimes so damaging that victims have committed suicide. There are at least four examples in the United States where cyberbullying has been linked to the suicide of a teenager. The Suicide of Megan Meier is a recent example that led to the conviction of the adult perpetrator of the attacks.Intimidation, emotional damage, suicideAccording to the Cyberbullying Research Center, "there have been several high‐profile cases involving teenagers taking their own lives in part because of being harassed and mistreated over the Internet, a phenomenon we have termed cyberbullicide – suicide indirectly or directly influenced by experiences with online aggression."Cyberbullying is an intense form of psychological abuse, whose victims are more than twice as likely to suffer from mental disorders compared to traditional bullying.The reluctance youth have in telling an authority figure about instances of cyberbullying has led to fatal outcomes. At least three children between the ages of 12 and 13 have committed suicide due to depression brought on by cyberbullying, according to reports by USA Today and the Baltimore Examiner. These would include the suicide of Ryan Halligan and the suicide of Megan Meier, the latter of which resulted in United States v. Lori Drew.Adults and the workplaceCyberbullying is not limited to personal attacks or children. Cyberharassment, referred to as cyberstalking when involving adults, takes place in the workplace or on company web sites, blogs or product reviews.Cyberbullying can occur in product reviews along with other consumer-generated data are being more closely monitored and flagged for content that is deemed malicious and biased as these sites have become tools to cyberbully by way of malicious requests for deletion of articles, vandalism, abuse of administrative positions, and ganging up on products to post "false" reviews and vote products down.Cyberstalkers use posts, forums, journals and other online means to present a victim in a false and unflattering light. The question of liability for harassment and character assassination is particularly salient to legislative protection since the original authors of the offending material are, more often than not, not only anonymous, but untraceable. Nevertheless, abuse should be consistently brought to company staffers' attention.Recognition of adult and workplace cyberbullying tacticsCommon tactics used by cyberstalkers is to vandalize a search engine or encyclopedia, to threaten a victim's earnings, employment, reputation, or safety. Various companies provide cases of cyber-stalking (involving adults) follow the pattern of repeated actions against a target. While motives vary, whether romantic, a business conflict of interest, or personal dislike, the target is commonly someone whose life the stalker sees or senses elements lacking in his or her own life. Web-based products or services leveraged against cyberstalkers in the harassment or defamation of their victims.The source of the defamation seems to come from four types of online information purveyors: Weblogs, industry forums or boards, and commercial Web sites. Studies reveal that while some motives are personal dislike, there is often direct economic motivation by the cyberstalker, including conflict of interest, and investigations reveal the responsible party is an affiliate or supplier of a competitor, or the competitor itself.
Awareness campaignsSpainThere are multiple non-profit organizations that fight cyberbullying and cyberstalking. They advise victims, provide awareness campaigns, and report offenses to the police. These NGOs include the Protégeles, PantallasAmigas, Foundation Alia2, the non-profit initiative Actúa Contra el Ciberacoso, the National Communications Technology Institute (INTECO), the Agency of Internet quality, theAgencia Española de Protección de Datos, the Oficina de Seguridad del Internauta, the Spanish Internet users' Association, the Internauts' Association, and the Spanish Association of Mothers and Parents Internauts. The Government of Castile and León has also created a Plan de Prevención del Ciberacoso y Promoción de la Navegación Segura en Centro Escolares, and the Government of the Canary Islands has created a portal on the phenomenon called Viveinternet.United StatesIn March 2007, the Advertising Council in the United States, in partnership with the National Crime Prevention Council, U.S. Department of Justice, and Crime Prevention Coalition of America, joined to announce the launch of a new public service advertising campaign designed to educate preteens and teens about how they can play a role in ending cyber-bullying.A Pew Internet and American Life survey found that 33% of teens were subject to some sort of cyber-bullying.January 20, 2008 – the Boy Scouts of America's 2008 edition of The Boy Scout Handbook addresses how to deal with online bullying. A new First Class rank requirements adds: "Describe the three things you should avoid doing related to use of the Internet. Describe a cyberbully and how you should respond to one."January 31, 2008 – KTTV Fox 11 News based in Los Angeles put out a report about organized cyber-bullying on sites like Stickam by people who call themselves "/b/rothas". The site had put out report on July 26, 2007, about a subject that partly featured cyberbullying titled "hackers on steroids".June 2, 2008 – Parents, teens, teachers, and Internet executives came together at Wired Safety's International Stop Cyberbullying Conference, a two-day gathering in White Plains, New York and New York City. Executives from Facebook, Verizon, MySpace,Microsoft, and many others talked with hundreds about how to better protect themselves, personal reputations, kids and businesses online from harassment. Sponsors of the conference included McAfee, AOL, Disney, Procter & Gamble, Girl Scouts of the USA, WiredTrust, Children’s Safety Research and Innovation Centre, KidZui.com and others. This conference was being delivered in conjunction and with the support of Pace University. Topics addressed included cyberbullying and the law, with discussions about laws governing cyberbullying and how to distinguish between rudeness and criminal harassment. Additional forums addressed parents’ legal responsibilities, the need for more laws, how to handle violent postings of videos be handled, as well as the differentiation between free speech and hate speech. Cyberharassment vs. cyberbullying was a forefront topic, where age makes a difference and abusive internet behavior by adults with repeated clear intent to harm, ridicule or damage a person or business was classified as stalking harassment vs. bullying by teens and young adults.Community supportA number organizations are in coalition to provide awareness, protection and recourse for the escalating problem. Some aim to inform and provide measures to avoid as well as effectively terminate cyberbullying and cyberharassment. Anti-bullying charity Act Against Bullying launched the CyberKind campaign in August 2009 to promote positive internet usage.In 2007, YouTube introduced the first Anti-Bullying Channel for youth, (BeatBullying) engaging the assistance of celebrities to tackle the problem.In March 2010, a 17-year old girl named Alexis Skye Pilkington was found dead in her room by her parents. Her parents claimed that after repeated cyberbullying, she was driven to suicide. Shortly after her death, attacks resumed. Members of eBaums World began to troll teens' memorial pages on Facebook, with the comments including expressions of pleasure over the death, with pictures of what seemed to be a banana as their profile pictures. Family and friends of the deceased teen responded by creating Facebook groups denouncing cyberbullying and trolling, with logos of bananas behind a red circle with a diagonal line through it.See also-----------------------------------------------------Again, thanks to Anonymous for helping to expose one of the alleged rapist, Kyle Brimicombe and his trashy crew who are harassing the Parsons family, Here is the link to the pic referenced in the Chronicle Herald....please share to those who are looking for the unmasking to continueApril 16, 2013 - 6:10amMarch stabbing of boy may have link to Rehtaeh caseRehtaeh Parsons's case wasn’t over last fall when the RCMP wrapped up their investigation. It went on, at least in the streets between teenagers, according to several people with knowledge of a stabbing about a month ago.The attack, reportedly related to Rehtaeh’s case, reveals how high tensions were running in the small communities of Cole Harbour and Eastern Passage even before the recent media furor and talk of vigilantism.It also raises serious questions about whether the investigation into Rehtaeh’s alleged sexual assault, and a photo that was circulated after, was stunted by other students’ fear of those accused.SEE ALSO: Facebook page shut downRCMP reported on March 10 that two groups of boys had gotten into a “heated verbal exchange” at the Dartmouth bus terminal near the Sportsplex. When three of the boys got on the bus, about six others followed the bus in a car.When the bus passengers got out at their stop in Eastern Passage, those in the car attacked them in a laneway, RCMP reported. All three teenage victims were sprayed with an irritant and one was stabbed but not seriously injured.The group of boys in the car included some whom Rehtaeh had accused of sexually assaulting her, according to people with direct knowledge of the incident.Those on the bus included the girl’s friends. Rehtaeh went to the hospital later to see one of them.“She was very upset by it,” said Jason Barnes, Rehtaeh’s mother’s partner.“She didn’t say specifically what took place or how it came to be. There was a disagreement between them.“The individual that was stabbed was one of her best friends and stood by her through this whole thing. She was very upset by what transpired that night.”RCMP made no arrests at the time and said they hadn’t confirmed whether the two groups of boys knew each other.The stabbing victim would not speak to The Chronicle Herald about the incident or what he told police at the time. A portrait of what happened was pieced together through one first-hand account and interviews with four people who were close to those present or saw them immediately afterwards.The boys in the car weren’t quiet about it themselves, according to three other young men who live in Eastern Passage and know them well.“He was bragging about it a lot,” said one of the Eastern Passage men, referring to the boy who allegedly appeared in the 2011 photo with Rehtaeh.Although sources agreed that boy was present for the stabbing, they said he didn’t hold the knife.Four sources, including the three young Eastern Passage men, did not want their names printed, saying they were worried about reprisal. And that is also how many students at Cole Harbour District High feel about the boys in question, said the three young men who all used to attend the school.“I guess you could say they are more or less scared,” said one.“For the people who weren’t in that group, it’d be like, ‘Stay away from them.’”When the photo of Rehtaeh was circulated, the presence of that particular boy in the photo with her likely played a role in how many students responded, said another. Lots of students recognized there was something amiss with the photo, he said.“They were concerned, but nobody would say anything. They would just kind of sweep it under the rug.”RCMP announced Friday they had reopened their investigation into Rehtaeh’s allegations, only five days after the Cole Harbour girl’s suicide.RCMP spokesman Cpl. Scott MacRae said he couldn’t discuss whether the case is linked with the Eastern Passage stabbing or whether the information that came in this week had anything to do with the stabbing.Citing privacy laws and the continuing investigation, he also wouldn’t say whether the suspects in Rehtaeh’s case were previously known to police.The boys involved are all minors or have only turned 18 recently.“Anything to do with young people or possible investigations, it falls under the Privacy Act and the Youth Criminal Justice Act, so it’s very hard for the police,” said MacRae.According to people in the community, the boys Rehtaeh named are part of a group of teens and older friends who have run into trouble with the law before.One of the boys who was said to have taken part in the March stabbing is listed in court records, although the specific charges he faced as a minor aren’t known.The boy who appeared in the photo with Rehtaeh was kicked off a high school sports team after pretending to pull a gun on a police officer at a school dance, said a former classmate. The parent of another player on the team confirmed that the boy had been dropped from the team after trouble at a school dance.The Chronicle Herald is not identifying the parent by name in order to avoid identifying the boy.A former Cole Harbour District High student said the alleged perpetrators nearly robbed him once when they were walking around the neighbourhood with Mace in hand.“I ran into them,” but the group stopped short of attacking him when they recognized him, he said. Two of those who threatened him that day were ones Rehtaeh accused of sexual assault, he said.In a Facebook picture posted March 17, a week after the stabbing, at least one of the boys Rehtaeh accused posed with two friends, holding out a can of bear spray or Mace and giving middle fingers to the camera.The RCMP is encouraging anyone else with specific information related to the reopened sexual assault investigation to come forward, said MacRae.“We do want to assure the public that police are going to investigate, and we want to create an openness that people want to come forward.”In terms of ensuring students and others feel safe talking to police, there is a school resource officer in Cole Harbour District High, and students who “want to talk” can go to that officer, he said.Police stepped up their presence at the school one day last week in response to the threat of a fight, and they will continue to plan around students’ needs, MacRae said. Police may also find new ways to seek information from students.“I can’t go into too much detail about what’s planned,” MacRae said.Police want information, “whatever avenue they can get it,” he said.“We’re aware sometimes there’s public pressure in terms of people wanting to co-operate and provide information,” MacRae said.“But if the community, as a whole, wants to help or be part of a solution, then (finding) those avenues to get information to the police, that officers can work with, that’s the issue.“The police are willing to work with the community as a whole to let people access police and provide information.”He wouldn’t say whether police would reinterview any people related to the investigation.Rehtaeh’s boyfriend, Mike Wells, was with her the night her friend called with news he had been stabbed, distressing her. But she didn’t learn right away who had attacked her friend and he wasn’t sure how that news affected her, Wells said.“He wouldn’t tell her that right away over the phone,” Wells said.The families of the four teens alleged to have sexually assaulted Rehtaeh either could not be reached for comment or refused to speak.The events of the past week have left that group of boys and their friends feeling threatened themselves, including some who were not present the night of the alleged sexual assault on Rehtaeh in November 2011.Anonymous hackers warned Thursday that “99 per cent” of people who had posted names of supposed suspects online had gotten some wrong.The hackers have said they have confirmed four names but won’t publicize them for now.By Friday, some boys had left town temporarily, fearing for their safety, said one local mother.Hearing people talking about the case, it is clear “they want blood,” she said.At the home of the teen who was said by many to have appeared in the photo with Rehtaeh, the lights were off and a newspaper lay on the porch at dinnertime Friday. No one answered the door. No one answered the phone on the weekend.Lights were also off Friday at the home of another whose name has been circulated, although a dog barked inside.At a third home, the one where the alleged sexual assault is said to have taken place, a man opened the door but shut it again quickly when Rehtaeh’s name was mentioned.The boys’ friends posted in a Facebook group earlier this week defending them against what they said were false rape accusations.“Yes, (the boy) has always been a little shit disturber,” wrote one young woman. “But if there’s one thing I know for truth is that (he) would never do something like this.”As she left her house Friday, the mother of a teenage boy who has long been friends with some of those accused said, “I’m glad that they’re reopening the investigation.”“Whatever happened, it’ll be nice for the truth to be out there for everybody, whatever that truth may be,” said Heather, whose last name is not being printed to avoid identifying the boys.With Katelynn GoughApril 10, 2013 1:18 PMRehtaeh Parsons, Canada teen, kills herself after rape and bullying, mother says(CBS) HALIFAX, Nova Scotia - A Canadian woman said Tuesday her 17-year-old daughter hanged herself after she never recovered from an alleged rape by four teenage boys (WHO?) that left her deeply depressed and bullied in her community, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) reported.Leah Parsons, of Nova Scotia, said she took her daughter, Rehtaeh, off life-support Sunday after she hanged herself last week. She said one boy took a photo (EVIDENCE ) of the alleged assault in 2011(WHO??) and her daughter was subjected to bullying after it went viral. Police concluded there were no grounds to charge the four boys after a year-long investigation, according to the CBC.Royal Canadian Mounted Police Cpl. Scott MacRae said the investigation was completed in consultation with prosecutors and said there was insufficient evidence to proceed with charges, the network reported. Nova Scotia Justice Minister Ross Landry said he has no plans to review the case because he has no reason to doubt the integrity of the police investigation. Landry said he has yet to hear of any formal complaint from Parsons about the police investigation, though he added she was able to file one.According to the CBC, hundreds of comments were posted on a Facebook page set up in tribute to Rehtaeh's life demanding someone be held accountable for her death."Clearly the justice system failed her, society failed her, the school system failed her, the mental health system failed her," one post said.April 10th, 2013, 8:41 amAN OPEN LETTER TO ANONYMOUS ABOUT REHTAEH PARSONSDear Anonymous:I have never written to you, the global hacktivist group, before. Like everyone else, I have read about your exploits and, more than once, nodded my head with approval. It’s comforting to see citizens periodically bring certain groups to heel, like child pornographers or the Church of Scientology.I am writing to you today about something else, however.In Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia, a girl named Rehtaeh Parsons killed herself last week. She was 17 years old. That’s her, up above.Her name was Heather spelled backwards. Rehtaeh was a straight-A student, she was much-loved by her family and others. She was a good kid.In November 2011, when she was 15 years old – just a child – she was raped by four males in a basement. One of them photographed her being raped, and then circulated it to many others. They thought it was funny.Rehtaeh was thereafter harassed and abused and bullied by students at her school. The torment got bad enough that Rehtaeh had to move to another town. Months later, she returned, but the bullying and abuse never stopped. She was sent messages calling her a “slut.”You may ask what happened to the four males who raped her, and who circulated the photograph of Rehtaeh being raped – which, incidentally, meets the definition in Canadian law of child pornography. Nothing. Nothing happened to them.The RCMP, who allegedly investigated, are led in Nova Scotia by Alphonse MacNeil. He calls himself a “consensus builder” and has two daughters. I’m sure you could find his email address if you needed to. The Nova Scotia government, which agreed with – and energetically defended – the RCMP’s decision to do nothing about the rape or the child pornography, is led by NDP leader Darrell Dexter. Interestingly, he represents Cole Harbour in the provincial legislature. His email isn’t readily available, either, but I know you’ll find that, too. His Attorney-General is Ross Landry. Yesterday, Landry refused to reopen the case; by the afternoon, he had seemingly changed his tune. His constituency office email is here. I don’t know what his email is. The names of the little bastards who did this, and who are still alive and walk free in Cole Harbour, are unknown to most of us. But, as in the Steubenville, Ohio case, I am certain anyone who is sufficiently motivated can find out who the little bastards are, and name and shame them.I’m unclear how to appeal to you, Anonymous. But if there was ever a case that cried out for your attention – and if there were ever men like MacNeil, Dexter and Landry who deserved to be fired, or worse, for their pathetic responses – I don’t know what it is. What happened to Rehtaeh and her family is so horrible, so evil, I am ashamed that it happened in my country.In closing, I should note that Rehtaeh’s heart was sent to Toronto yesterday, to be transplanted into another person. I don’t know why I feel a need to mention that to you, but I do.Maybe because, in some way, it feels like Rehtaeh is still watching now, to see who will do something, and who will do nothing.Sincerely,WarrenPublished Tuesday, April 9, 2013 10:59PM ADTLast Updated Wednesday, April 10, 2013 2:42PM ADTNova Scotia justice minister revisits review of Rehtaeh Parsons caseCTV AtlanticNova Scotia’s justice minister said officials may re-open an investigation into a teen’s alleged assault after the 17-year-old took her own life last week. Ross Landry announced late Tuesday that he is asking government officials to present options to review the alleged rape of Rehtaeh Parsons. “I’ve listened to Nova Scotians…I’ve received many comments from across the country and it deeply affected people,” Landry told CTV News. | Mom says teen took her own life after rape, bullyingPublished Tuesday, April 9, 2013 6:45PM ADTLast Updated Tuesday, April 9, 2013 6:55PM ADTCTV AtlanticRehtaeh Parsons’ mother says her daughter was once a happy, loving, caring teen. But everything changed in November 2011 after the teen went to a friend’s home in Cole Harbour, N.S. Leah Parsons says her daughter, who was 15 at the time, was raped by four boys that night and that the event eventually led to her tragic death on the weekend.“It ended up being four guys and the two girls. They started drinking vodka straight. Somewhere in there, one of the girls left and then it was Rehtaeh with four guys,” says Parsons.So, Rehtaeh doesn’t remember all of it. She remembers a guy leading her up the stairs, guys taking turns on top of her.”She says someone took a photo of the incident.“Rehtaeh told me it was a picture of her throwing up out the window and a boy having sex with her,” says Parsons.Parsons says the picture spread like wildfire through Rehtaeh’s high school and through the community of Cole Harbour. She says her daughter was bullied, shunned and humiliated by most of her classmates - even by people she considered friends. She says some people called Rehtaeh a ‘slut.’“One girl that was her friend put on her status ‘sluts need to leave the school anyway.’ Just, bullying and boys that she didn’t know sending messages…it was just, was non-stop. She couldn’t show her face in the community anymore because she was called names.”Rehtaeh’s family supported her through it all; Parsons even left her job so she could focus on her daughter. The teen eventually switched schools and even checked herself into a hospital for six weeks to help her cope with her depression and suicidal thoughts. Things slowly improved and she made new friends, but her past followed her like a dark shadow.Parsons says the 17-year-old hanged herself in the bathroom on Thursday.“I didn’t even knock on the door. I just picked it open and could feel the weight of her body on the door. I didn’t think anything. I just opened the door and said ‘Rehtaeh.’ Then I had to cut her down. She was hung. She was hanging.”Rehtaeh’s family took her off life support on Sunday.Police investigated the sexual assault claim, but no charges were laid in the case.“They completed their investigation and, in consultation with the Crown, there was insufficient evidence to proceed with charges,” says Halifax RCMP Cpl. Scott MacRae.On Tuesday, Nova Scotia Justice Minister Ross Landry said he would not order a review of the investigation because there is nothing to indicate that police did not follow proper procedures.“I think kids have to be accountable for their actions,” says Parsons. “Rehtaeh used to say they’d talk about bullying at school, but they don’t care.”Rehtaeh’s funeral is scheduled for Saturday.Parsons says she wants her to be remembered for the sister, daughter and animal lover that she was, and not by the rumours that tortured her young, short life.February 7, 2013 10:33AM ESTCTVNews.ca StaffA Winnipeg teenager who stood up to his sister's cyber-bullies on Facebook in a video message is grateful for the support he's received but is disappointed charges haven't been laid in the case. Tyler McFee, 18, posted a two-and-a-half minute video rant after his 15-year-old sister was threatened online by other girls who said they would beat her up at home and on the way to school. The bullying started with name-calling and progressed to threats after their mother died of breast cancer six months ago."I'll make going to school your worst nightmare," one teen allegedly wrote. Fed up, McFee did what any big brother would do, and stood up for his sister."You think it makes you tough saying you could beat up a girl? No...you're just trying to get approval from friends. No...it's not cool," the university student said in his video post.His message has been seen by thousands and moral support has been pouring in. "Most of it was very very positive," he told CTV News.However, little action was taken against the cyber-bullies."The person posted a video and laughed at everything that's happened," he said. Winnipeg police said they have seen the video. McFee was hoping charges would be laid against his sister's cyber stalkers or a restraining order would be issued, but that didn't happen."I'm a little upset because I really wanted something to happen here," said McFee. A police spokesperson said they spoke to everyone involved and have closed the matter. However, the Facebook profile of the alleged bully is no longer active, said McFee."I almost feel like an Amanda Todd kinda thing... because they're bullying her pretty hard," said McFee.In a cry for help, Todd, 15, posted a video to YouTube about the years of bullying she endured before commiting suicide last October. Todd's last words on her video were: "I have nobody. I need someone." The death of the Port Coquitlam, B.C., teen launched vigils, tributes and calls for a national anti-bullying strategy -- yet a proposal for that was defeated in the House of Commons.Privacy lawyer Brian Bowman, who helps bullying victims get justice, said cyber cases are on the rise."A threat is a threat. Doesn't matter if it's online or offline," said Bowman.In January, a 17-year-old Brandon, Man., girl was charged with uttering death threats on Facebook. Last year, eight girls in London, Ont., were charged with harassing another student online and in person.The Manitoba government said it's making it easier to crack down on bullies by enforcing a mandatory reporting policy in schools."The principal will make a determination on how to deal with that in the best interests of the student and the community," said Education Minister Nancy Allan.Mary Hall of Safe Schools Manitoba said there should be dialogue in the classroom about bullying. But parents need to talk to their children at home about the issue, she said."We can have legislation, policies and codes of conduct, and those are huge preventative pieces," said Hall."But we also need to have those ongoing discussions with young people," she said.Darren McFee said his daughter shut down when he asked about the problem."I didn't see how bad it was...kids are reluctant to say anything," he said.
"Her brother knew more than I did."If you know someone who's a harassment victim, Bowman suggests contacting the platform -- Facebook or Twitter -- and going to the police to determine your options.A recent Ipsos Reid poll commissioned by Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada suggested 78 per cent of Canadians want more action taken to reduce bullying while 94 per cent said it's the school's responsibility to manage the issue.Fifty-nine per cent surveyed reported being bullied as a child or teen.Last June, Quebec amended its Education Act to include anti-bullying measures. Teaches must report and address bullying and intervene. Parents must be notified if their child is a bully or a victim."Parents of a child who's been bullied are going to have a right to know what are the consequences for the student who's done the bullying behaviour," said Mona Segal, an educational consultant."In the past that information was confidential, " said Segal.Many parents, including Joyce Shanks, like the new Quebec law."The culture has to change in Canada for students feel safe and go to school in a safe environment," said Shanks. "This is definitely a step in the right direction," she said.Belinda Magee, a school program co-ordinator at Royal Vale Elementary School, believes the law will give school officials the tools they need to deal with the problem."I think it's going to send a message to the kids that are bullying to stop their behaviour," she said. "It's going to send a message to the kids that are being bullied that they are getting the support that they need."-- With files from CTV's Rajeev Dhir, Jill Macyshon and Kevin Gallagher.On Tuesday night Nova Scotia Justice Minister Ross Landry said he’s asking government officials to present options, as soon as possible, to review the Rehtaeh Parsons case. Leah Parsons says her daughter Rehtaeh committed suicide after being raped and bullied by her classmates. “So from a justice perspective, as the minister responsible, it’s very important that I’m listening to people and that I respond to their concerns.Rehtaeh's mother, Leah Parsons, told CTV News that her daughter committed suicide about 18 months after an alleged sexual assault. She said Rehtaeh, who was 15 at the time, went to a friend's home in Cole Harbour in November 2011 and that she was raped by four boys.“It ended up being four guys and the two girls( WHO ? ). They started drinking vodka straight ( WHO ? ). Somewhere in there, one of the girls left and then it was Rehtaeh with four guys,” said Parsons.“So, Rehtaeh doesn’t remember all of it. She remembers a guy leading her up the stairs, guys taking turns on top of her.”She said someone took a photo of the incident.“Rehtaeh told me it was a picture of her throwing up out the window and a boy having sex with her,” said Parsons.Parsons said the picture spread like wildfire through Rehtaeh’s high school and through the community of Cole Harbour. She said her daughter was bullied, shunned and humiliated by most of her classmates - even by people she considered friends. She said some people called Rehtaeh a ‘slut.’ “One girl that was her friend put on her status ‘sluts need to leave the school anyway.’ ( WHO? ) Just, bullying and boys that she didn’t know sending messages…it was just, was non-stop. She couldn’t show her face in the community anymore because she was called names.” Rehtaeh’s family supported her through it all; Parsons even left her job so she could focus on her daughter. The teen eventually switched schools and even checked herself into a hospital for six weeks to help her cope with her depression and suicidal thoughts. Things slowly improved and she made new friends, but her past followed her like a dark shadow.Parsons says her daughter hanged herself in the bathroom on Thursday.“I didn’t even knock on the door. I just picked it open and could feel the weight of her body on the door. I didn’t think anything. I just opened the door and said ‘Rehtaeh.’ Then I had to cut her down. She was hung. She was hanging.”Rehtaeh’s family took her off life support on Sunday.Police investigated the sexual assault claim, but no charges were laid in the case.“They completed their investigation and, in consultation with the Crown, there was insufficient evidence to proceed with charges,” said Halifax RCMP Cpl. Scott MacRae.“I think kids have to be accountable for their actions,” said Parsons. “Rehtaeh used to say they’d talk about bullying at school, but they don’t care.”Early Tuesday, Landry said he would not order a review of the investigation because there is nothing to indicate that police did not follow proper procedures.But late Tuesday, he issued a statement saying he has asked senior government officials to present options, as soon as possible, to review the case.He said he has been reviewing details of the case and consulting with officials throughout the day, and expects options within the next few days.“We need questions answered and we need to have more dialogue, and we need to look at our young people and how we can better prepare them to show respect and privacy for other individuals,” he said.“It’s one thing to say I have confidence in the justice system. The public needs to have confidence in the justice system, and if that gets shaken, then it’s my responsibility to react, and that’s what I’m doing.”Landry also told CTV News he “had a very personal conversation” with Rehtaeh’s mother Wednesday morning.“Something that really resonated in the discussion was the distribution of images, or information getting out in the cyberworld,” said Landry.“I think we need to look at how our laws are structured in regards to the distribution of images.” With files from CTV Atlantic's Kelland SundahlAPRIL 10, 2013 12:57 PM EDTRehtaeh Parsons: N.S. justice minister to review alleged rape, bullying caseQMI AGENCYFIRST POSTED: WEDNESDAY, APRIL 10, 2013 12:45 PM EDT | UPDATED: WEDNESDAY, APRIL 10, 2013 12:57 PM EDTThe province of Nova Scotia is looking further into the case of the teenager who killed herself after photos circulated online of her alleged rape led to intolerable bullying.Rehtaeh Parsons, 17, was taken off life support Sunday after hanging herself in the bathroom of her home on April 4."This situation is tragic. I am deeply saddened -- as I think are all Nova Scotians -- by the death of this young woman," Justice Minister Ross Landry said in a statement Tuesday.He also backtracked on his earlier decision to let the case stand."It's important that Nova Scotians have faith in the justice system and 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 statement said.Parsons' mother Leah created a Facebook memorial page that alleged her daughter was raped by four boys when she was 15, that photos of the account spread online and that students at her Cole Harbour, N.S., school bullied her to the point the family had to move out of town.RCMP Cpl. Scott MacRae told QMI Agency police investigated the alleged rape but there wasn't enough evidence to lay charges.Leah blames unchecked bullying and the justice system for her daughter's death."Rehtaeh is gone today because of the four boys that thought that raping a 15-year-old girl was OK and to distribute a photo to ruin her spirit and reputation would be fun," she wrote on Facebook.The RCMP has launched an investigation into Rehtaeh's death.Landry said he has asked senior government officials to present him with "options" for reviewing the case, which he expects to have within a few days.He also said he plans to meet with Leah.An obit that appeared Wednesday in the Halifax Chronicle Herald newspaper remembered Rehtaeh as"a free spirit and free thinker.""A compassionate heart, Rae felt for those less fortunate and never wanted to hurt others. She was a passionate painter who found beauty in things others overlooked."April 10, 2013 at 10:56 amThe case of Rehtaeh Parsons: Canada’s Steubenville?Posted by Diana ReeseIt’s been called Canada’s Steubenville.Rehtaeh Parsons, just 17 years old, wastaken off life support Sunday after she’d attempted suicide Thursday by hanging herself in the bathroom. Her story, though, began almost 18 months earlier when she was 15 years old and four boys allegedly raped her at a friend’s house in November 2011.Rehtaeh Parsons died Sunday, nearly 18 months after an alleged rape by four high school boys. (Facebook)Like the rape of the West Virginia girl by twohigh school football players in Steubenville, Ohio, the victimization didn’t stop with the sexual assault.One young man hadsnapped a photo of the incident with his phone, and thatphoto was sent to every student in their school, according to Parsons’s mother Leah Parsons. This is the part I don’t understand: Instead of siding with a teenage girl who’s been violated, some of Parsons’s classmates called her “a slut.”“Rehtaeh was suddenly shunned by almost everyone she knew,” her mother wrote on the Facebookpage she set up in her daughter’s memory. “The harassment was so bad she had to move out of her own community to try to start anew in Halifax.”Rehtaeh struggled with depression and thoughts of suicide, even checking herself into a psychiatric hospital for several weeks.After learning of the alleged rape, the family reported it, but too much time had passed for a rape kit. Without that kind of evidence, the case turned into her word against that of the boys, and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police concluded there was insufficient evidence for prosecution after a year-long investigation.Tuesday, Nova Scotia’s Justice Minister Ross Landry said he is now looking into ways to review the case, reversing his earlier position.The justice system “failed” her daughter, Rehtaeh’s mother wrote on Facebook. She blamed her daughter’s death on three factors:The boys who raped her and then thought it was “fun” to share a photo “to ruin her spirit and reputation;” the “bullying and messaging and harassment that never let up;” and the failure of the justice system to prosecute the case.Just as social media was used to harass her in life, ithas now come — too late to save her — to her defense, with calls for justice.This isn’t an isolated case. We have Lizzy Seeberg at Notre Dame, we have the WestVirginia girl raped by Steubenville football players, and we have the case of my best friend’s daughter, who was raped by three student athletes her sophomore year of high school at a party in a suburb of Kansas City, Mo.Again, the victimization did not stop with the rape. Stories circulated about that night and she was labeled a slut. Friends dropped her. She wanted to forget it. She did not tell her parents until after a suicide attempt and a bout with anorexia.Now, nearly five years later, she still struggles.Her mother believes these cases “are incredibly common,” she told me. “I don’t understand this victimization of the victim and having people turn on her.” She blames a culture that nurtures student athletes, elevating them to a “god-like status” and allowing them anything they want. She also wonders if some of the girls who were so hateful to her daughter will someday look back and realize their behavior was wrong. | HERERehtaeh Parsons Suicide: Nova Scotia Politician Kelly Regan Raises Troubling QuestionsThe tragic suicide of Nova Scotia teen Rehtaeh Parsons has prompted a politician to raise troubling questions about sexual assault services in the province.Parsons, who was just 17, was the alleged victim of a gang rape two years ago and an online bullying campaign over several months, according to her mother.A heartbreaking story from Halifax's Chronicle Herald details how she tried to hang herself last week and was taken off life support on Sunday.Her death sparked outrage across Canada from those who wondered why more wasn't done by police or the justice system to punish those who allegedly assaulted the teen and distributed photos online.But in Nova Scotia, Liberal MLA Kelly Regan told the legislature on Tuesday that the justice system is too often found wanting when it comes to sexual assault.“Nova Scotia has the highest rate of sexual assault and some of the lowest charge, conviction and sentencing rates in Canada,” she said.Regan reiterated a call by the executive director of the Avalon Sexual Assault Centre to enact a province-wide strategy to address sexualized violence.She also lamented that a sexual assault nurse examiner program is not available across the province.“Today Nova Scotians woke up to a horrifying story in the paper of a young girl who was the victim of a brutal attack, but let's face it, we have woken up to story, after story, after story, after story, after story, after story of sexual assault in this province,” she said.Justice Minister Ross Landry said that while he was concerned about all violence in Nova Scotia , he had “great confidence” in the police to conduct appropriate investigations.“The difference between us, as a government, and the opposition, is that they don't have confidence in our police, that they don't have confidence in our public prosecution (and) they don't have confidence in our court,” he said. “We have confidence. We believe in those processes and that they do their jobs.”However, on Tuesday night, Landry said he asked Nova Scotia’s Justice Department to review the questions that Parson’s mother, Leah, has about the RCMP’s handling of her daughter’s alleged assault. He had initially shot down such a review.“In regards to the issue of second-guessing the police at every case, no, I’m not going to do that,” he said.The review might provide some answers — and some small measure of peace — to the grieving mother that Rehtaeh Parsons left behind.“The justice system failed her,” Leah Parsons wrote on Facebook. “Those are the people that took the life of my beautiful girl.”