Video: Leah Parsons discusses her daughter on Dr. Phil – Courtesy: CBS TV Dist. / Peteski Prod.
The story of Halifax teenager Rehtaeh Parsons was on American network television Friday when her mother appeared on the popular talk show Dr. Phil.
Leah Parsons spoke about her daughter’s suicide this year following an alleged sexual assault and urged parents to talk to their sons about consent as part a two-episode series on youth sexual assault.
“If I have to teach my daughter to protect herself, why aren’t other parents teaching their sons about consent and what consent is,” said Parsons, whose segment was filmed in front of a studio audience.
“And if a girl is in that position, she’s not an object to be taken advantage of,” she added. “She’s a human being. She needs help, not humiliation.”
Parsons travelled to Los Angeles last month to film her segment of the episode, which focused on the alleged rape of a 16-year-old girl in North Carolina by four male classmates at a party. The alleged victim and one of the teens accused in the case also appeared on the show.
Parsons told show host Phil McGraw that the case was difficult to hear about because it was reminiscent of her daughter’s.
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Rehtaeh was taken off life-support last April following a suicide attempt. Her family says the 17-year-old was bullied for months after a digital photo of the alleged sexual assault at a house party in November 2011 was passed around her school.
Parsons said Rehtaeh was “destroyed” by the photograph and believed no one was taking her concerns seriously, despite seeking help from the police and school officials.
“She was shamed right out of her own community,” she said.
Two 18-year-old men were later charged with child-pornography related offences in the case. The matter returns to court Thursday.
McGraw said the case leaves behind “big questions.”