For immediate release
April 12, 2013
Toronto, ON–Members of the National Alliance of Philippine Women in Canada (NAPWC) are deeply saddened and mourn the loss of Rehtaeh Parsons, a 17 year old high school student from Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia. Rehtaeh’s young life was taken away by the grief of a crime committed against her dignity and humanity as a woman. As the news of her rape and the cyberbullying inflicted on her fill the mainstream media, we are reminded of the ongoing brutality of crimes perpetuated against women. We are also reminded that our escalating victimization and violation continue to be bolstered by the institution of patriarchy and male domination in its effort to further subordinate and subjugate women in this society.
Moreover, we are angered and appalled by the obvious neglect of the RCMP to treat Rehtaeh’s tortuous ordeal as a case of violence. By turning a blind eye on the seriousness and the gravity of the assault, the RCMP shows their complicity in condoning the actions of the perpetrators. Thus, their outright denial to do an investigation, when the case was brought to their attention, was and continues to be an outright denial of her worth and value as a woman.
Rehtaeh’s tragic death, along with the countless experiences of women who have been raped, sexually assaulted, physically beaten, and violated on the streets, in schools, and workplaces, is a testament of the increasing and continuing attacks against women’s bodies and women’s lives. We refuse to let these be neglected; last December 16, 2012, Jyoti Singh Pandey, a 23 year old university student from New Delhi, India, was gang-raped and later died from her injuries; the suicide of Amanda Todd from Surrey, British Columbia who committed suicide after pictures of her body was circulated through every school she moved to; the sexual assault and killings of Jessica Lloyd, and Corporal Marie-France Comeau by former Canadian Forces Colonel, Russel Williams; and Rheena Virk from Saanich, British Columbia in 1997, who was beaten to death by so-called close peers. These are all evidence of the increasing exploitation and the rampant assault faced by all women. Indeed, time and time again, we are faced with the bitter reality that the struggle to end violence against women is far from over.
As such, we at the NAPWC vow to continue our fight to stop violence against women, and to end patriarchy at all costs. We support the demands of Rehtaeh’s family for a full investigation on the case. We will also continue in our educating, organizing, and mobilizing to uphold and advance the women’s struggle for genuine liberation in our society.