There is no justice in this universe but what happens right here, on this planet, when there are repercussions for transgressions against one another. Sometimes, though, you have to settle for what you get.
Trigger warning for sexual assault and bullying of a sexual assault victim.
Rehtaeh Parsons committed suicide after having been sexually assaulted at the age of 15 by four boys, then enduring two years of harassment and bullying that included a photograph of the assault. The RCMP couldn’t do anything because they claimed there was no evidence to go on. Some of the more morally inclined members of Anonymous gave the police some evidence, though, using the EXIF data on the (digital) photograph, and two of the suspects have been arrested on charges of making and distributing child pornography.
Police said the evidence did not support sexual assault charges against the two.
They are due in youth court on Aug. 15. They cannot be identified because they were minors at the time of the alleged offences.
Police arrested the pair at 8 a.m. AT at their respective homes following an investigation by the RCMP/Halifax Regional Police Criminal Investigation Division.
According to Leah Parsons, Rehtaeh’s mother, four boys sexually assaulted her daughter when she was 15. The Cole Harbour, N.S., teen was then said to have been mocked by classmates, enduring relentless harassment and humiliation after a photo of the attack was circulated at school and on social media.
Well, it’s pretty obvious why the evidence didn’t support sexual assault charges, without my having ever seen the picture — they were likely pictures of the aftermath of the assault and probably didn’t include proof of what had just transpired. So even though there was ample evidence that she’d been assaulted, the evidence doesn’t apparently show anything about who did it.
Here’s the thing, folks: you’re grossly unlikely to ever have enough evidence to convict someone for a rape or sexual assault, much less mere sexual harassment. The standards of evidence for putting someone away for these illegal acts is very high, and the presumption of innocence wins out almost every time. This is generally a good thing that our courts try to only punish the demonstrably guilty, regardless of how successful it ever is and how the system can be gamed by individuals with a mind to do it. The down side of it, though, is that the only justice that a rapist will likely ever see will not be for the rape, but for catching them on other indiscretions.
With regard to the current conversation about who’s trustworthy in this community and who isn’t, don’t expect anyone “named” to experience any sorts of repercussions outside of people distrusting them from now on. While that’s a step forward, it’s certainly no perfect justice.
I can see why, in such a setup, the idea of an all-seeing, all-knowing god is comforting — that someone could do incredibly heinous things and get away with them, cover them up, or even continue to victimize their original targets with impunity, is saddening, and a damning indictment of our species.