Friday, April 12, 2013

Rehtaeh Parsons and the Bully Harper

It's hard to imagine a worse horror story.  

A young woman is sexually assaulted, and publicly humiliated.

Her school does nothing. A  police investigation goes nowhere.

Then she is bullied, and then she kills herself. 

But still it gets worse. Because now there are vigilantes, and calls for mob justice. And Stephen Harper is using all that to try to cover-up one horror with another. Trying to play up the crime, and downplay the bullying. 

The prime minister said what Rehtaeh claims happened to her goes beyond bullying. "I think we've got to stop using just the term bullying to describe some of these things. Bullying to me has a kind of connotation … of kids misbehaving.

What we are dealing with in some of these circumstances is simply criminal activity. It is youth criminal activity, it is violent criminal activity, it is sexual criminal activity and it is often internet criminal activity," said Harper.

As if bullying was just "kids misbehaving." As if it wasn't bullying that killed Rehtaeh.

The cruelty, the public humiliation.

The relentless bullying she couldn't escape...

“She was never left alone. Her friends turned against her, people harassed her, boys she didn’t know started texting her and Facebooking asking her to have sex with them since she had had sex with their friends. It just never stopped...”

Anyone who doesn't understand that, either can't remember what it was like to be young. Or went to school before they invented the internet.

But of course, that's not what Stephen Harper, the worst bully this country has ever known, wants you to believe. Because him and his foul Cons would rather not remind Canadians how they recently killed a plan for a national anti-bullying strategy.  

Votes from a handful of Conservative backbenchers weren’t enough to push through an NDP proposal to strike an all-party committee to study and craft a national anti-bullying strategy.

Just to pleasure their rabid religious base, who fear that anti-bullying programs will stop them from abusing gay kids.

Even though so many Canadian children are being bullied to death...

Even though national anti-bullying programs have proved effective in helping to save the lives of young people in other countries. Where there are governments willing to tackle the problem, and know that only EDUCATION can solve it.

Unlike the Harper Cons who would use this tragedy to push their fascist law and order agenda. And would rather spend millions on their fraudulent Porky Action Plan ads, than create a national ad campaign aimed at saving the lives of Canadian kids.

Oh well. I've been fighting bullies on this blog for eight years, and before that I fought them in school. And this latest tragedy will only motivate me to fight them and the bully Cons even harder.

Always dreaming of a kinder, gentler world.

Always hoping that our side can find the resources to make more ads like this one...

Because bullies are LOSERS. And so is Stephen Harper. 

As for poor Rehtaeh and all the others, tonight I renew the vow I made so long ago.

So help me, no matter how hard the struggle, no matter how long it takes.

The Cons WILL be defeated.

And the bullies WILL be beaten...

Click here to recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers.


wazz said...

This is a horrifying circumstance Simon and I hope the SOBs responsible are brought to justice. I agree with the parents in the article that the bullies are to blame, as well as the cops for dropping the ball. I can't pin blame on the school though. The school isn't a shield or a Star Wars system for what kids are texted on their personal phones by idiots aldd day or all night. This sounds like a criminal matter involving booze and underagers and it's the cops reponsibility. No evidence when there are fucken pictures? And you are certainly right about Harper's double standard here; a ass who's govt killed anti-bullying legislation is all contrite now in front of the cameras Fuck that. Go anonynous.

Anonymous said...

If it happens in India, it's called gang rape and "we" are all sooooo righteously indignant for the poor victim. If it happens here, "there's not enough evidence" to pursue and prosecute the OBVIOUSLY guilty. Rape is a capital offense of the most egregious type of violence known to MAN. It should be punishable by the death sentence. Period. Fuck anybody who says differently.

Anonymous said...

Harper coming down on "bullying" ---- that's rich.
How did his Liberal Government get elected?
By attack ads against his opponents.
Is that NOT bullying?

Orwell's Bastard said...

Marvellous piece Simon. I've said it before. You've got one of the biggest hearts in the blogosphere, and with your indignation and straight-from-the-heart honesty, you set an example for the rest of us.

Keep on keepin' on.

Simon said...

hi wazz...yes it is horrifying and so sad. And I do hope the police can do some serious investigating this time. Although beyond the crime and punishment aspect I think it's important to focus on education, because only that can spare other kids from a similar fate. For I see at least four things that need to be addressed here. Teenage binge drinking, a lack of respect for young women, sexual manners or limits, and of course the bullying which thanks to social media has now become almost impossible to escape. And yeah, every time I see Harper posing as The Lord Protector of Young People it drives me bonkers. For all he's done is threaten their future, or jail them. Gawd. Isn't it wonderful how by the simple act of defeating his ghastly government, we're finally going to be able to start dealing with so many problems. Can't happen soon enough...

Simon said...

hi anonymous...although I have zero tolerance for rapists and bullies, I'm not in favour of the death penalty for anyone. And in this case the authorities will have to take into account is that this happened at a teenage party, where according to some reports I have read, they were all drunk/stoned out of their minds. So I think an example has to be made, but I hope that it won't end there, and that people understand that we're dealing with a multi-faceted social problem, that has to be seriously addressed on many fronts, if we are going to get the results we want. We couldn't save poor Rehtaeh, but hopefully we ca save others...

Simon said...

hi anonymous...I know, isn't it the limit? By any reasonable account Harper has bullied his opponents, and our parliamentary system, more than any other leader.
So even if he did want to crackdown on bullying it just wouldn't work eh? It would be like the fox telling the chickens that he wants to protect them, by putting them in his oven. When in fact what Harper really wants is to try to use this tragedy to pump up his Great War on Crime, which is just about the only issue that still works for him. A few weeks ago he was declaring war on the mentally ill, now he'll try to persuade people that all kids are out of control, and it's time to jail even more of them. So it's important to keep some sense of perspective, or Harper will use it against us...

Simon said...

hi OB...thanks for that sweet comment, I appreciate it immensely. I do try to wear my heart on my sleeve when I write, even though I'm not always successful, and we live in a cynical age. It's not for any grand reason, just the only way I can cope with the horror of living in Harperland. I figure if I can fool myself, I can fool others. ;)
Seriously though, I must say that I am delighted to see that you have resumed writing after a brief hiatus. We really need to rock this country out of its fatal slumber, we need all the good people we can get, so thank goodness you're back...

P.S. If you spent your hiatus in some warm tropical spot, please don't tell me, or I think I'd kill myself... :)

Anonymous said...

I know this happened in Canada but wanted to post my mind:
Women get raped in India:
Massive protest and preventive measures/inventions
Reaction from West: 'India is a land of billion rapists'
'India is evil'
Women get raped in US:
Cover up, denial, law enforcers doen't bother helping, media doesn't bother reporting etc.
Reaction from the west:
'She was drunk at a party and therefore asking for it'
'Oh those poor rapists'
' is evil'
Just google Steubenville
Number of women raped per 100,000:
India: 1.7
USA: 30
'B b but what about unreported cases?'
Dunno abou India but IIRC only 24% cases in US is reported. So total for US: 125
Even if say that only 5% of rapes are reported in India (a ridiculous claim), total number would be: 30
If its 2%: 85
Even with these generous (read: ridiculous) numbers, US still 'wins'. Not to mention, all those school shootings. Virginia is the latest.
In reality, even one rape is bad.
I am just annoyed at the whole '1 billion rapists' bandwagon.

wazz said...

Hi Simon

I agree with your education aspectand that schools can do much to prevent this sort of thing - by focusing on anti-bullying - and many of them already do that - and provinces too - with legislation - such as what Ontario passed and what the NDP proposed federally - but which the bullying Cons quashed. With this, education does play a part in that respect. But beyond that school admin cannot control or prevent, otherwise, what is posted on social media outside of the classroom on personal phones all day and night. But we all know what the Con cowboys and hillbillies think of eduction.. they only want to dumb it down and farm it out to the private sector, and voucherize it like in the USA where most private voucher schools are religious ones (because secular private schools are not subsidized further by churches, congregations etc and so are much expensive) - so millions of kids wind up getting a voucher surprise of 'creation science', intolerance and bigotry being jammed down their throats - on public money.