Just months after Rehtaeh Parsons died of suicide following an alleged sexual assault and years of online bullying, her father says he’s become the target of online threats.
Glen Canning said he came across the threat about three weeks ago, posted on his YouTube page.
“Keep talkin shhit. Cuz I no urn face, your car, where u live, and what you do,” the comment read. “So keep gettin lippy, bud n u might be going to visit urn daughter.”
Mr. Canning has since passed the information onto police.
“It’s being take as something that has some merit, and we’re still going through the process of the investigation,” said Constable Tracy MacDonald of the Halifax Regional Police.
The threat was posted by a user who Mr. Canning said has been writing many other demeaning comments aimed at Rehtaeh.
“The filthy stuff is just – it’s hard to comprehend someone would be saying something like this about my daughter,” he said.
Rehtaeh’s death in April sparked months of public debate online and amongst lawmakers about cyberbullying and sexual assault. The case drew international attention, with online activist group Anonymous taking up Rehtaeh’s cause, and even Prime Minister Stephen Harper at one point weighing into the debate.
The 17-year-old’s family say that she was raped by four boys at a house party in 2011, and that a cellphone photo of the alleged assault was circulated around her school, leading to years of bullying and harassment online.
Earlier this month, two Halifax men were arrested, and are now facing child pornography charges.
Mr. Canning said that while he considers the threat against him minor compared with what Rehtaeh faced, he hopes police use the opportunity to set an example.
“Making an arrest for this would make a huge difference,” he said. “So other people who are out there harassing people online and tormenting them will get the message, and think ‘do I really want to get exposed for this?’”
Meanwhile, he’s taking extra steps to ensure his safety. The home, he said, was already armed with an alarm system even before the threats. But ever since, he’s also installed a security camera outside, to keep track of who approaches the home.
“I have my moments where I go to bed in the middle of the day and cry, so it’s hard to keep it up,” Mr. Canning said of coping after Rehtaeh’s death.
“But my daughter was brave and courageous. She put up with it as long as she could.”