Wednesday, April 10, 2013

We're All Dishonouring Rehtaeh Parsons

We're all dishonouring Rehtaeh Parsons by being worse people for her passing.

If the suicide of a 17 year-old isn't bad enough, our neglect of its causes certainly is.

Instead of trying to figure out how to make sure troubled young people get the help they need and don't end their lives prematurely, Canadians are instead focused completely on vengeance. But vengeance has never stopped a young girl from committing suicide, and it's Rehtaeh's suicide that is the real tragedy.  

Our simple instinctual preference to focus on Rehtaeh's rape is the easy way out. It allows us to justify our basic instincts that demand retribution while allowing us to avoid having to solve the more complex problems that made this victim feel helpless and abandoned which directly caused her to take her own life.

Rehtaeh's rape was a horrible crime, but it did not take her life away. For eighteen months after being sexually assaulted, for a year and a half we all failed her. Government services were lacking, community support was non-existent, and those close to her did not see the warning signs.

Solely focusing on her rape is the action of a lazy and irrational society that not only doesn't want to admit it didn't help a young girl who needed it, but is also a clear demonstration that it doesn't have the will to prevent it from happening again.

Those outraged over the rape of Rehtaeh Parsons are acting out the most natural way. They're foaming at the mouth over rape because rape is easy to get mad at, it's easy to feel like we're doing something when we shout for rapists to be strung up.

The emotional repulsion we all have for rape allows us to justify our more basic instincts of wanting retribution. Our focusing on rape allows us to concentrate our rage on people who aren't us, allowing us off scot-free for failing her.

The criminal investigation into Rehtaeh's rape should be reviewed, but the real tragedy is the society that for eighteen months didn't provide the help a young victim needed. Our continued blind pursuit of vengeance and our ignoring the more pressing and complex problem of preventing other young girls from committing suicide is only making sure the tragedies won't end.

That is the most dishonourable thing we could do.

5 comments:

REBEKAH MAJORS-MANLEY said...

YOU OBVIOUSLY ARE UNFAMILIAR WITH THE GRIEF PROCESS. WE ARE NOT ALL DISHONOURING REHTAEH PARSONS, THAT IS SUCH BULL- WE ARE GRIEVING. CAN YOU GIVE US A MOMENT OR TWO TO PROCESS WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED AND TO ALLOW US FEELINGS- THIS IS THE SAME BULLCRAP THAT THE STORY IS ABOUT- MR SCOTT ROSS BLOGGER- ALLOWING ONE TO HAVE AND EXPRESS SADNESS AND NOT TRY TO RUSH US THROUGH OUR FEELINGS AND DENY THEM- WHO THE HELL ARE YOU?

thescottross.blogspot.com said...

Rebekah, I was not pointing a finger, saying a specific person was dishonouring Rehtaer Parsons, I was referring to the irresponsible actions we are all taking by preferring easy vengeance to the hard work necessary to prevent future suicides.

I do believe we are all guilty of dishonouring Miss Parsons if in response to her tragic passing we act like animals shouting for rapist blood.

Just as we honour our veterans by remembering their sacrifices and promising to not repeat the mistakes of the past, we must honour Rehtaeh by promising to do everything we can to make sure another young person doesn't feel like she has no other option but to commit suicide.

Those that are forming mobs to go after the rapists, becoming lesser human beings, while ignoring the causes of suicide and not trying to prevent future ones, are in my opinion dishonouring Rehtaer Parsons.

REBEKAH MAJORS-MANLEY said...

AGAIN YOU DO NOT SPEAK FOR ME WHEN YOU SAY "I WAS REFERRING TO THE IRRESPONSIBLE ACTIONS WE ARE ALL TAKING"....LEARN TO SPEAK FOR YOUR OWN SELF.ALSO IN RESPONSE IF WE DO NOT HOLD HER RAPISTS ACCOUNTABLE THEN WE ARE TRULY DISHONORING HER.FORMING MOBS-IF THAT IS A PROTEST THEN I SAY HAVE THEM AND RAISE MORE AWARENESS, RAISE MORE MEDIA ATTENTION AND CHANGE THE RAPE CULTURE BY THE RIPPLE EFFECT.SPEAKING AS A VCTIM OF SUICIDE AND AS AN EDUCATOR. STOP SPEAKING AS IF YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO SPEAK FOR ME AND OTHERS YOU DO NOT.

thescottross.blogspot.com said...

Rebekah, I was not speaking for everyone, nor did I say I was. Saying we're all doing something is a rhetorical device, much as is your use of the term "rape cuture".

I would suggest in the future you refrain from using caps lock in commenting as it detracts from your argument.

REBEKAH MAJORS-MANLEY said...

IN YOUR "RULE ORIENTED " OPINION. I ALWAYS USE CAPS AND FOR A REASON! SEE MY ABOUT ON MY FACEBOOK POST!