Then there’s Rehtaeh Parsons.
Why do teenage rapists post pictures of themselves raping someone on the internet? Just because they can?
Well, that, plus the fact that their brains haven’t finished developing yet, and the frontal cortex is where you get impulse control and all that.
But even so. All this random meanness and cruelty floating around…it’s the worst thing about the internet, and it’s just fucking toxic.
We need an even simpler rule. “Don’t be shitty” – something like that. When in doubt, don’t be shitty. If you blurt something out in a heated moment, take it back or apologize or at the very least stop there. Don’t draw targets on people and then follow them around forever after.
Reteah’s death comes on the heels of Steubenville, Ohio and months after British Columbia’s tragic Amanda Todd case — the Canadian teenager who tragically took her own life last October. This repetitive tale is exhaustingly familiar: young guys do something terrible to a teenage girl, in person and cyber-bullying ensues, then the guys get away with it unscathed (unless Anonymous and/or the Ohio courts get involved).
Yeh that’s not a good pattern.
Then there’s the fact Rehtaeh’s bullying is considered a “community issue” by Nova Scotia’s justice minister. According to him: “As a community, we need to have more dialogue with our young people about respect and about support to educate our young boys and our young girls about what’s appropriate behaviour, what’s not appropriate behaviour.”
This begs a second question, since when is young boys taking a picture of a rape of a 15-year-old girl and then distributing it considered an issue for the community to handle?
Should be raises a second question, but never mind – yes what? Rape and then passing around photos of the rape – that’s more than bullying. It’s not something to have a “dialogue” about.