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Strength in numbers

October 4th, 2013 | Posted by Amy Boughner in Issues | Parenting

I have a 3 year old girl and I am terrified of her teenage years. Not because of the fights we’re going to have or the attitude she’s going to give or the clothes she might wear or dates she might bring home.

I am terrified because of Rehtaeh Parsons.

She was 16, she was assaulted and then her peers decided to send the pictures around and laugh about it and when she protested they started the bullying and it didn’t stop even after she’d killed herself.

And I can’t wrap my head around how you tell your child that it will get better when the mental and physical beatings just keep coming and they find you everywhere.

My first instinct would be to annihilate the people who were doing it.

Today at Blissdom I got to meet Glen Canning. He is Rehtaeh Parsons’ father. He watched his daughter go through all of this and his reaction was to speak out against the bullying, to give his daughter a voice even after her death. He told us today that when Anonymous responded to a Facebook page mocking Rehtaeh’s suicide by posting the creator’s name and information Rehtaeh’s family asked them to take it down. When Anonymous had the names of the four boys who had assaulted her and kicked off the downward spiral, they asked them not to publicize those names.

He has responded to the worst of us by showing compassion and humanity and I can’t imagine having his strength.

Except that I got to meet this man, and I got to experience his kindness. He’s a gentle soul who wants his daughter’s death to mean something and he’s making it happen. And I want to make it happen too.

We seem to hear about these cases and then forget and move on, but I can’t. We owe this man more, and we owe Rehtaeh and Amanda Todd and Todd Loik and Jamie Hubley¬†and all the kids to come.

Glen Canning taught us that we need to demonstrate kindness in the face of even the most vile things, and I will do my best.

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