In reality, there is no single truth. But we can at least try to find it. The following is the true story of Rehtaeh Parsons. Readers will know that this will be the closest version of the truth of the story online. In fact, it may be the only version of the truth.
Before I start, there are some key points to help understand how and why this tale of woe became so argumentative, being reduced to one long set of accusation and counter-accusation used – as usual – by the Press to provide shock and horror for the masses.
The use of the term ‘rape’.
Rape is a lovely word for sensationalists. In Rehtaeh Parsons’ case, it has had the prefix ‘gang’ added to it for added spice. ‘She was gang-raped’ elicits so much more Internet anger and bile than ‘she had sex with a few boys’. Even better if the ‘boys’ turn into ‘men’ and Rehtaeh remains the eternal ‘young girl’.
For those who don’t like to countenance the fact that young girls have sexual intercourse with young men, it’s much easier to imagine that rape was involved. For some reason, people just don’t like to think that young women might actually like sex with multiple partners in quick succession. Deep down, we still have archaic views of female innocence.
However, what is rape? This is something that has caused a lot of furore recently.
For the vast majority of people from all walks of life, the word rape implies violence, force, threat, injury, brutality. It has always been that way. People have visions of invading armies raping the conquered women, of psychotic criminals waiting to ambush a lone female in a dark alley, of the domineering husband gruntingly forcing himself on to his petrified wife.
When people imagine a victim of rape, they see a bruised and injured person, or a sad shadow of a person beaten into submission either mentally or physically. They want to hear a story of a fight and if they don’t get that, they want at least an element of coercion. They want misery and suffering.
That is the common view of rape. But now we are increasingly seeing stories of rape that don’t fit that archetype, and that is where people are getting confused. There have been a few cases – a semi-famous footballer in the UK, a lawyer in Canada.
Note: before anybody says the usual ‘You don’t know what it’s like’ malarkey, I have some experience from both sides – being raped by a woman (what guy in their right mind is ever going to go to the police with that story?) and being sexually assaulted by a man (not worth reporting for the same reasons – males are seldom believed, and it’s too shameful to deal with). And if you want the usual self-pity victim story, I could chuck in a sadistic child-beating teacher for good measure. And I won’t throw in the legal stuff that went on when I was a child – too many people do that. Let’s just say I have more experience than most.
So here is the relatively new definition of rape scenario:
Boy meets girl. Boy and girl have a drink, maybe take drugs. Girl says to man ‘Let’s go and make love’. They have sex. Both are willing. The woman can be saying ‘Yes, yes, yes’. The guy hears no refusal, has no indication whatsoever of negativity. Next day, next week, next month, the woman can decide it was rape.
This is the big problem. Men are raised with the view that rape has at least a small presence of ‘No’. They know what rape is – an animal act in which one of the people doesn’t want to participate. They even are aware that sex with an unconscious person isn’t right, because there must be enthusiastic co-operation. They are not raised to think that a woman who has had a few drinks and gives vocal encouragement and enjoys the sexual activity is actually being raped.
It’s as simple as that, really. If every sex act that took place with a drunken woman was rape, the courts would be inundated with claims every Monday morning, overburdened with thousands of cases after every Christmas and New Year party season.
But people want it to be fairy dairy land. A lot of the anti-rape campaigners have an idealistic view of the way the world works. They seriously believe that the average man is going to have the morals of a Sir Lancelot or Gandhi, that every young woman is Julie Andrews singing ‘The Hills are Alive’ or a misled damsel in distress. The idea of people necking copious amounts of alcohol and drugs and then saying ‘Hang on a minute, intercourse is out of the question because we are out of our heads’ is preposterous. But that’s what they want to happen. It’s like the whole world suddenly becoming an Amish community.
So bear in mind what the boys in the Rehtaeh Parsons case were thinking. In their minds, as in the minds of Ched Evans and others, there was no rape. That isn’t a cataclysmic moral disaster, it’s not indicative of a patriarchal domination of disgusting men being predators – it’s the product of men being brought up with the view that rape needs to have a ‘No’ somewhere along the line, and that, if a woman is inebriated, if she has the capacity to voice affirmative desires for sex and to actively encourage it, then it cannot be classed as rape.
Nova Scotia – where men are men, and education is for fools.
It is important to note just who we are dealing with in the Rehtaeh Parsons case. We are not dealing with the happy clappy Brighton brigade where all kids are raised on muesli and diversity. We are dealing with kids who would be classified as educationally sub-normal, who are barely literate, who don’t read the Times and the works of Wittgenstein. We are dealing with written-off kids who are the product of dysfunctional families. Parents who consider drug-taking, alcohol and rampant underage sex as ‘stuff teens do’ – not indications of their kids being confused lost souls. You can see all of that in the Internet exchanges of all the families involved – illiterate Facebook posts, threats of violence, lynch mob behaviour, and in Glen Canning’s puerile attempts to involve ‘Anonymous’ and his ridiculous ‘pedophile’ accusations against me. However, I would add that the Nova Scotia court and school system reflects the same ignorance. Their reluctance to deal with this case once and for all is debatable. I can see their reasoning – dealing with the mob’s ‘he said, she said’ mentality can’t be easy, and wanting to stop the vigilante hatred may well have been at the back of their minds, but one can’t help but think they should have done a better job of explaining the whole case rather than leaving it to the Court of Public Opinion.
The Rehtaeh Parsons story
So here it is. The full story. Once and for all, here is the truest version of the Rehtaeh Parsons story you are going to get. Once upon a time…..
There was a bunch of kids. These weren’t ‘nice’ kids who go around helping old ladies and being polite. They were what could be termed, in an old-fashioned way, yobs. I could provide loads of excuses. Personally, I believe that kids reflect the parents, or are the victims of bad upbringing. No kid is born a yob. But that discussion would mean an even longer post.
Rehtaeh Parsons was one of these kids. She had fallen in with a bad lot. No big deal, there’s a million like her. She was into drugs and drink, another thing that seems to be no big deal these days (I am more old school about all that – I think it’s a crying shame, but never mind).
I’m guessing that her parents didn’t know what she was like. Parents can be blind to what their kids have become. They remember the three-year-old. When the teen years arrive, they cling on to that lost innocence. Or maybe they did know that Rehtaeh was up to mischief, but, as is so often the situation, it was more convenient to ignore it. I am always surprised by how many of these cases have ‘intervention’ screaming out from them, but it’s all too late now.
I’m also guessing that Rehtaeh was one of those unfortunate children who look for comfort and recognition in sex. People may argue that she simply enjoyed it as part of her life, but again I think differently. I don’t believe that promiscuity so young is a good thing, an expression of teen experimentation. I believe that its roots lie in lack of self-esteem and many other teen psychological tensions.
Rehtaeh ends up at a ‘party’. This appears to consist of her, four boys, and a female friend. Bear in mind that all of them are children. Stupid, dumb, uneducated, idiotic children. The boys are not ‘men’ as the Press would like us to think. In modern parlance, these kids could easily qualify for the description ‘retards’.
All six of the kids are well-practised in the worst types of delinquent behaviour. We’re not talking about virginal angelic escapades. We’re talking about kids who are jaded well before their time. They are used to rolling joints, using bongs, drinking alcohol and having sex with nobody suggesting it might be a bit risky. What else is there to do in Nova Scotia? So the idea of threesomes and foursomes is commonplace. It’s the thing to do.
They all indulge in drink and drugs. It’s all a laugh. What little brain activity they have is totally obliterated by the substance abuse.
Rehteah has sex with all the boys. Willingly. Openly. There’s no shame, there’s no force, there’s no coercion. They are all out of their heads. Even when Rehtaeh is puking out of a window, there’s no let up. At no point do the boys hear a ‘no’; at no point are they asked to stop; they are encouraged. Even when the one female leaves and returns with her mother, Rehtaeh refuses to leave. (One has to ask what the Hell this mother was doing, but that’s another problem).
This is why so many people claim that it was no rape. The activities that took place that day were no different from what had probably happened many times before. The female friend didn’t seem particularly shocked. The mother who arrived took no action yet, if they were all as drunk as skunks, you’d think she would have intervened. Nope. This is partying Nova Scotia style. Let the kids do whatever it is they do. There’s no harm in that.
How can these boys think they raped anyone? They were doing nothing new. What does it matter if they are all intoxicated if they are all just having a good time? No harm was done, Rehtaeh never complained and was all for it. Where’s the rape?
People will be reading this and saying ‘Yes it was rape’. Fair enough. I have seen it explained a thousand times – sex with a drunken person is rape. Ironically, I also see loads of advice stating that an emphatic ‘yes’ must be heard without the warning that, when drunk, ‘Yes yes yes’ is irrelevant. But I am just telling you – many, many people do not see it that way, and to expect these young idiotic children to know any better is ludicrous.
That is what they do not understand. And apparently it’s what many other people in Nova Scotia thought – heck, it’s just teen fun and games. However appalling that might seem to some people, it’s what a lot of people think.
Can we seriously accuse these boys of rape? Ignorance in law is no excuse. But these weren’t adults. Average age 15? And dim-witted 15 at that? Can we really say that these idiotic kids should be termed rapists and be locked away for years and eternally damned? For something they quite literally did not comprehend?
Can we on one side say that a 15-year-old girl is a child, therefore incapable of knowing what she was doing, yet at the same time say that the boys were twisted predator adult rapists who were fully aware of what they were doing? No, we can’t. Not if we are to remain human. Or humane.
Then came that fateful picture. Idiocy in the extreme. That was the main crime, if stupidity really is a crime. And punishment has been dished out.
The boys aren’t child pornographers. That phrase has now been totally misused. We are at a point where virtually every child has sexted – does that make them all child pornographers? The boys are idiots, that’s all. Out of their heads, they take a dumbass teen picture. They are not guilty of pre-conceived malice or of some outrageous inner evil. They are just plain dumb.
So what happens next. That is the real tragedy. The picture – for whatever reason – is sent out. It’s just like a gossip grapevine. One picture gets sent to one person, they pass it on to another, then another. Nobody really foresaw the consequences. And in the way that has become common, Rehtaeh suffers the usual cruelty of teens.
The picture was an act of teen lunacy. But to pile all the blame on the boys? As with the Amanda Todd case, there were far more people to blame. The teen wolves – male and female – would simply do what teens do. To make scapegoats of the boys absolves everyone else – teachers, police, the whole lot. Just as with the Amanda Todd case, in which all attention is drawn to Aydin Coban, all other contributors get off scot free.
The next part of the story? Maybe we’ll leave it there. Like in so many of these cases, the seeds of tragedy are there long before the events. It just takes one dreadful mistake to water them.
We know that Rehtaeh plunged into a slough of despond. What we don’t know is how much of that was entirely due to the picture. We’ve seen this before. Attempts are made in every teen suicide to narrow it down to one event. That’s rarely the case. Yet again, she was a confused and damaged child, let down by people around her. We don’t ask ourselves why a young girl should be in a drink and drug fuelled mini-orgy, treating it as if it was an everyday occurrence. We have seen her Facebook page, displaying all that online ‘who cares?’ bravado. We have seen how she felt that her mother thought she was a big disappointment – how true that was, we may not know. And we have seen that, in circumstances extraordinarily reminiscent of the Amanda Todd saga, her eventual suicide was triggered by a break-up from her boyfriend.
Are we any closer to ‘truth’? Can the Press really be justified in using the term ‘gang-raped’, let alone raped? Are we any better at understanding and dealing with the deep-seated problems that seem to affect certain types of children? I’m not sure. All I know is that all the vindictiveness and fury this case causes does nothing to allow deeper investigations and thought as to how we have allowed some children to almost become feral in their activities.
Does ‘Remember her name’ really do any good if it’s still used as a tool to persecute the boys involved, rather than a tool to seek understanding and development? What does leaving stones with her name on really accomplish? Is it really wise to pursue what is essentially a vengeful vendetta against the boys at the cost of blinding people to problems at the core? Is open warfare between feminists, MRAs, all carried out on twitter and in blogs really furthering the cause?
Or has it all become one large attention-seeking circle jerk for an idiot father, the idiot boys’ parents, and idiot feminists and journalists using it for clickbait?
Regular readers will know how I feel. They are probably bored with it. But until these types of story are told without any sensationalism, without one eye on blog hits and view counts, they will remain the property of the social media nutcases.
There’s a lot to learn from the Rehtaeh Parsons case. It’s just a shame it’s simply become twitter feed junk.