About what’s appropriate behaviour

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.


  1. Onamission5 says

    I’m guessing that the community discussion about appropriate behavior for girls is going to be “don’t do stuff to get raped” and appropriate behavior for boys is going to be “don’t brag about or post pictures of raping girls on the internet.” And then, nothing will change, not this time, just like the last time and the time before and the time before that, because those are not the conversations which need to be had.

  2. Kienhoa says

    Actually it’s very good that people broadcast what they do and how they behave. At least it shows there are issues and provides data to analyze. Also all that reaches the internet can be followed back to the source.
    Now you can be judged by the rest of the world. That must be no end of embarrassment for many.

  3. Claire Ramsey says

    What exactly would such a dialogue consist of? No dialogues.

    Call the police, arrest the perps, gather evidence in a timely way, charge them, convict them, and put them someplace where their brains can develop w/no contact with the rest of us . . . I hate the idea of having a dialogue about felonies. There are not two sides to dialogue. There is the law and there is breaking the law. It is ridiculous that the fact that rape is a goddamn crime gets overlooked in these cases.

  4. sailor1031 says

    To the extent that the parents of these boys, the schools and the general culture have allowed them to grow up with no conscience, no compassion and no knowledge of right or wrong maybe it is a community problem. So tell you what – also prosecute their parents, their school principals, the owners of the TV companies and Cable company, the makers of their cell phones, local religious leaders for teaching disresepect of women……..If we put a little thought into it I’m sure we can work many others into the frame.

    OTOH it may just be a typically pusillanimous canadian politician unwilling to fce the truth and call a spade a spade………..ho hum!

  5. Konradius says

    No, I don’t agree with the ‘no dialogue’ calls.
    There should have been a dialogue, and it should be started right now and all over the place.
    It is too late for both the perp and the victim. Yes, I think society failed the perp by not instilling the value of ‘don’t rape’ into him. However now the deed has been done the perp (and any other perp) should be made as examples to deter any potential perps that are out there.
    But I think the ideal world would not need such deterrence. In the ideal world sex education is a logical companion to all other moral teachings. And it should have started way before puberty and it should have contained information about privilege, gender bias and stereotype threat. In stead we have children’s tv that is the equivalent of ‘die ewige jude’ but then on the topic of male/female role models in stead of anti-Semitism.

    On to the ‘justice minister’ in the story. I think it’s clear that he is simply talking crap. It’s not at all about a dialogue or anything else, he’s saying that he doesn’t give a shit. To me it’s clear he’s talking about things that should happen but hey, why should he take any initiative? This guy and his party should never ever get a vote again in my book. But then hey, I’m just ranting on the internet…

  6. leftwingfox says

    There’s three big issues here.

    First was the gang rape.

    Then the refusal of the police to do anything about it despite clear evidence until her suicide became national news.

    Then there was the bullying between the rape that drove her first out of the community, and then to suicide.

    If the “community” is going to have a discussion, it will be about the bullying. That needs to happen. My worry is that when talking about bullying, they’ll ignore the rape that bullying was in support of.

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