The family of a teenager who committed suicide after she was allegedly gang-raped and bullied is urging Canadian officials to reconsider filing criminal charges.
Rehtaeh Parsons, a 17-year-old high school student from Halifax, Nova Scotia, was taken off life support on Sunday (April 7), three days after she tried to hang herself. The teen was bullied for more than a year after the alleged sexual assault, which happened in November 2011 when she was 15, her family said.
Authorities confirmed that a photograph allegedly showing Parsons having sex with one of the boys was circulated to friends' mobile phones and computers. As a result, her family said she developed suicidal thoughts.
Hacker group Anonymous posted messages saying they had identified some of the boys involved in the alleged attack. Rehtaeh's mother, Leah, as well as Nova Scotia's premier made public pleas for people to not take matters into their own hands.
"I don't want people going after those boys and people are threatening to do that. I don't want more bullying, Rehtaeh wouldn't want more bullying. And don't think that's justice. I think they need to be accountable for what they did and I don't want them to be physically harmed," said a tearful Leah Parsons.
Parsons' parents have set up a public Facebook page that has more than 30,000 likes and thousands of messages of condolences from people around the world.