As It Happens

'A very emotional day': Rehtaeh Parsons' mother on decision to allow publication of Rehtaeh's name

This morning, the Attorney General of Nova Scotia announced that she'd made a big decision in relation to the case of Rehtaeh Parsons -- now we can say her name. Attorney General Lena Diab says anyone who publishes Rehtaeh's name won't be prosecuted, provided the name is used with respect....

This morning, the Attorney General of Nova Scotia announced that she'd made a big decision in relation to the case of Rehtaeh Parsons -- now we can say her name. Attorney General Lena Diab says anyone who publishes Rehtaeh's name won't be prosecuted, provided the name is used with respect.


For Leah Parsons, the decision to allow the use of her daughter Rehtaeh's name, under the existing publication ban, is a big deal.

"It feels very emotional today," Leah Parsons tells As it Happens host Carol Off "I'm just very happy that this happened, it's like an early Christmas present."

For months, Parsons and others have struggled with not having Rehtaeh's name published as the public's interest in the case kept growing.

Rehtaeh is the Nova Scotia teenager who died in April 2013 after attempting to kill herself, after a photo of her alleged sexual assault was shared on social media.

From now on, we're all allowed to use Rehtaeh's name -- and provided we use it respectfully, we won't be prosecuted.

"When the (publication) ban was enforced, we really felt that was a slap in the face because Rehtaeh's not here and she was silenced in life. Every system that she went to for help silenced her in many ways, and then here we are months after her name has already been out worldwide, and then silence again."

Leah Parsons, mother of Rehtaeh Parson, a victim of cyberbullying, speaks at a press conference at the Canadian Centre for Child Protection in Winnipeg, Wednesday, October 1, 2014. (Photo: John Woods)

When we spoke with Leah Parsons in 2013, she explained how she was horrified when her daughter told her she had been raped by four teenage boys in 2011 -- and how she felt violated again after she says photos began circulating at her school and online.

The police investigated at the time, but no charges were laid. Rehtaeh attempted to kill herself after that and died a few days later.

Last month, a judge sentenced one of two people convicted of distributing child pornography to a 12-month conditional discharge. The man's identity is protected because of his age at the time of the crime.

After the sentencing, we spoke with Leah Parsons, but couldn't reveal her name at the time due to the publication ban.

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