Rehtaeh Parsons was a gifted teenager with boundless curiosity and a love for family, science, and the natural world. But her life was derailed when she went to a friend’s house for a sleepover and the two of them dropped by at a neighbour’s house, where a group of boys were having a party.
The next day, one of the boys circulated a photo on social media: it showed Rehtaeh half naked, with a boy up against her. She had no recollection of what had happened. For 17 months, Rehtaeh was shamed from one school to the next. Bullied by her peers, she was scorned by their parents and her community. No charges were laid by the RCMP.
In comfortable, suburban Nova Scotia, Rehtaeh spiralled into depression. Failed by her school, the police, and the mental health system, Rehtaeh attempted suicide on April 4, 2013. She died three days later.
But her story didn’t die with her. Rehtaeh’s death shone a searing light on attitudes toward issues of consent and sexual assault. It also led to legislation on cyberbullying, a review of mental health services for teens, and an overhaul of how Canadian schools deal with cyber exploitation.
My Daughter Rehtaeh Parsons offers an unsparing look at Rehtaeh’s story, the social forces that enable and perpetuate violence and misogyny among teenagers, and parental love in the midst of horrendous loss.
"A necessary call-to-action, My Daughter Rehtaeh Parsons is a heartwrenching look at the ripple effects of misogyny and the devastating impacts of an indifferent legal system. Rehtaeh Parsons was a resilient young woman who fought like hell for a more just world, and it is a gift to all of us that Glen has continued that work. I believe we have a collective responsibility to bear witness and heed his call for change." - Julie S. Lalonde
"My Daughter Rehtaeh Parsons asks all of us to deeply examine the roots of sexual violence, the ways in which it is perpetuated in our society, and how we all need to take action. Glen Canning skillfully shares the grief that is bearing witness to your child being harmed not only by her peers but by the systems that purport to support her." - Farrah Kahn
"Heartbreaking. Simply heartbreaking. This is a tragedy we must not look away from because it reveals so much about this world and the issues and problems we must confront head-on. This book, with its unrelenting poignancy and honesty, is a necessary read to begin that long, hard, necessary look." - Jared Yates Sexton
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