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Thursday, September 12, 2013

Nova Scotia Party Leaders: Prevention of sexual violence must be a platform priority

Nova Scotia teen, Rehtaeh Parsons, took her own life after enduring sexual violence when she was 15. Join thousands demanding an end to sexual violence in Nova Scotia through better education programs, and better services for survivors of assault.

Trigger warning: this email contains information about sexual assault that may be upsetting to survivors.

When my friend Leah's daughter Rehtaeh was 15, she was raped by four boys who shared photos of the assault via text message with her classmates. She was bullied relentlessly and called a slut. The police did nothing. In April, Rehtaeh couldn't take the pain anymore and she took her own life. 
Months later, those of us who knew and loved Rehtaeh, feel that the Nova Scotia Government is still failing to address the main reason she's gone -- sexual violence. 
Since her death, our government has focused on the cyber bullying that followed Rehtaeh’s attack, but they seem to forget that her tragedy began because she was sexually assaulted by four boys while intoxicated and unable to give consent. 
Last weekend, the election was called in Nova Scotia and politicians are seeking votes. This is the best possible moment to call on our leaders to actually address the issue of sexual violence. Join me in challenging Nova Scotia's politicians to make preventing sexual violence a priority in their election platforms.
Government can help prevent sexual violence by increasing consent education, creating a public awareness campaign about sexual violence, and expanding victims' services -- including in rural areas. If the Nova Scotia Government is forced to develop policies and laws to prevent sexual violence, other provinces will have a model to follow.
I know that with the support of tens of thousands of people we will be able to force Nova Scotia's politicians to start taking addressing sexual violence more proactively and more seriously. I know this, because I've seen it work before. Back in April, when I heard about Rehtaeh's death I started another petition on in a in a moment of anger and desperation. With the support of 460,000 signers, my petition helped forced the Nova Scotia Justice Minister to call an independent inquiry into the police response to Rehtaeh's case. A few weeks ago we won when the inquiry was finally launched.
Fighting the root causes of sexual violence is how we prevent these tragedies. Rehtaeh's death may have happened in Nova Scotia, but this is a problem facing our entire country. Please join me by signing and sharing my petition and making sexual violence and consent into an election issue that Nova Scotia's politicians won't be able to ignore. 
Thank you,
Sherri Bain,
A friend of Rehtaeh and the Parsons family
P.S. Please forward this email to friends and family and invite them to be part of this fight to stop sexual violence by signing at 
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