Dedicated to Rehtaeh

TThe Person Rehtaeh once was all changed one dreaded night in November 2011. She went with a friend to another’s home. In that home she was raped by four young boys…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. Because the boys already had a “slut” story, the victim of the rape Rehtaeh was considered a SLUT. This day changed the lives of our family forever. I stopped working that very day and we have all been on this journey of emotional turmoil ever since.
Rehtaeh was suddenly shunned by almost everyone she knew, the harassment was so bad she had to move out of her own community to try to start anew in Halifax. She struggled emotionally with depression and anger .Her thoughts of suicide began and fearing for her life, she placed herself in a hospital in an attempt to get help. She stayed there for almost 6weeks. The bullying continued, her friends were not supportive. She needed a friend and eventually along the way a few new friends came along and a few old friends came forward.
Rae then moved back to Dartmouth, always with the concern of what will be said about her, said to her. Again, she was the one raped…she was the victim being victimized over and over again. One year later the police conclude their investigation to state that it comes down to “he said, she said” they believed the boys raped her but the proof in a court of law was difficult to gather. The photo sent…”well Leah, that’s a community issue!” The bullying never stopped but she learned to keep her head high and surrounded herself with the ones who truly cared. I will have eternal gratitude for her friends Jenna, Dawid and Mike for the past few months. They are the ones she leaned on for strength and courage.
Just two weeks ago she stopped smoking pot, started looking for work and with the help of one of her teachers and a new therapist she was making progress. When the calming effects of the pot subsided, her feelings of anger began to re-surface and she was struggling. I will say that she has told me many times that “Mom, although I often feel like killing myself…I could never do that to you because you would be devastated.”
This past week she was having lots of mood swings and her boyfriend Mike and Jenna wore the brunt of it but Thursday April 4th she had a great day, made plans for the weekend etc. Later that evening she had an outburst, acted on that impulse and locked herself in the bathroom. And to stop any rumours from spreading…. She acted on an impulse but I truly in my heart of heart do not feel she meant to kill herself. By the time I broke into the bathroom it was too late. My beautiful girl had hung herself and was rushed to the hospital where she remained on life support until last night.
This page is to celebrate the Rehtaeh we knew and loved. One of Rae’s pet peeves was that when someone passed away, suddenly they were liked and people cared. She wouldn’t want people who bullied her, talked about her, put negative statuses about her over the past year, and sent awful messages to be on this page. I know who you are because everyone message was a pain we shared together, there was not much that she didn’t tell me or show me. People were so very cruel to her so if you were one that felt it ok to bully someone in so much pain –STAY AWAY. Rehtaeh is gone today because of The four boys that thought that raping a 15yr old girl was OK and to distribute a photo to ruin her spirit and reputation would be fun. Secondly, All the bullying and messaging and harassment that never let up are also to blame. Lastly, the justice system failed her. Those are the people that took the life of my beautiful girl. Rehtaeh stood up for others, showed compassion to animals and people. She was an amazing artist .She made my life complete. When Rehtaeh was born I dedicated everything to her and promised her the world. Others in this world took that away from her.