Rehtaeh Parsons – her name is Heather spelled backwards, a name her mother thought was pretty – was 15 years old when she was raped by four teenagers. After a year-long investigation, police concluded that there were no grounds to charge the four boys.
[One of Rehtaeh’s attackers] “denied being a rapist even though the photo shows him smiling as he has sex with Rehtaeh, who was 15 at the time, whilst she drunkenly vomits out of window.”
Rehtaeh’s mother said that one of her daughter’s accused rapists took a photo of the alleged assault, circulating it among friends. Rehtaeh became the center of vicious, relentless bullying when the photo went viral.
[The bullying] “lasted a staggering 17 months even though she switched schools and moved house.”
Rehtaeh hanged herself in her family’s bathroom on Thursday, April 4, after months of torment. At 11:15 PM on the evening of Sunday, April 7, her parents took her off life support.
Her father, Glen Canning, gave this statement on his blog:
“My daughter was three years old when we went to watch Babe: Pig in the City. There’s a part in the movie when Babe knocks over a goldfish bowl and the fish falls onto the floor and starts flopping around. When this happened Rae suddenly stood up on her chair in the movie theatre and started screaming for someone to help the fish. She cried for it as I tried to reassure her Babe would help (thank God he did) and that the fish would be alright.
Gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB) is a naturally occurring substance found in nearly all animal tissue, in some fruits, and in wine. It was first synthesised in the 1920s, it and was used as a general anaesthetic in the 1960s and 1970s. More recently it has been used by bodybuilders in the hope that it would promote fat reduction and muscle development, until being banned for sale as a supplement in the United States by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1990.
More commonly, it is known as a central nervous system depressant and date rape drug.
It has no odor, tastes slightly salty, and is almost undetectable when mixed in a drink.
“[TW: rape jokes] So here’s the real reason that rape jokes are troubled territory - Because rape victims say so. They get to say that. They get to feel that way. On this, they get to set the cultural rules. It’s not about right or wrong, or logic versus emotion, or arguments of over sensitivity or hypocrisy - you have the free speech to make whatever jokes you want or talk about rape in whatever way you feel is illuminating. But they get to be upset about it. And call you on it. And be hurt by it. But consider this: You get to not be a rape victim. They, however, are not afforded that luxury. Ever again.”
— Chuck Wendi
It is true that rape jokes are hurtful and upsetting for rape victims.
By understanding these reasons we can better understand what is and isn’t appropriate to joke about.
The “Steubenville rapists” started their sentences this week and we can all breathe a sigh of relief, right?
A small group of people with intimate knowledge of the events surrounding the rape believe that Trent Mays and Ma’lik Richmond were victims of a conspiracy, if you will, or a revenge plot gone wrong, if you won’t.
A particularly tragic example of revenge gone wrong hit the headlines across the UK this week, with Mick Philpott being found guilty of manslaughter. His crime? He and his wife Mairead hatched and carried out a plan to set fire to their own home in an attempt to frame Mick’s former lover, Lisa Willis, who had walked out with their four children three months earlier. The fire started hours before Philpott was due to face Willis in court for a custody hearing. In the months prior, Philpott had spread rumours that Willis wanted to firebomb the house. The plan was for Philpott to rescue his children and for Willis to be prosecuted for arson but the carefully crafted revenge plot went horribly wrong, resulting in the deaths of five of Philpott’s own children and Mairead’s son from a previous marriage. They were assisted by Philpott’s best friend, Paul Mosley, who joined the couple in a threesome on the family snooker table mere hours before the children died.
These three did not get away with murder.
But those who might ultimately be responsible for setting in motion the tragic events that unfolded that August night in Steubenville may well still get away with rape…
In the wake of Steubenville, I want to talk about shame because I have heard it mentioned many times but I have not yet seen anyone tackle the subject directly.
Shame can be many things: an affect (the experience of feeling an emotion), emotion (a “positive or negative experience that is associated with a particular pattern of physiological activity”), cognition (a faculty for the processing of information, applying knowledge, and changing preference), state, or condition (a permanent or temporary configuration).
The distinction between shame and the related concepts of guilt and embarrassment is not very clear…
In fact, one could argue that a single language is not even adequate to fully describe the range of human emotion, see also Śīla versus Nāmūs.