Thoughts from a ByStander: Rehtaeh Parsons



It is 11pm. And I start to think about life from a different perspective. You know, it sort of feels like a dream. Or better yet, a nightmare. I wake up every morning with a thought that life is going to be okay and that I am trying my best to make the world a better place, and you know what, I’m not. I could do more. I could try harder. I could try and do things, but I don’t. I always thought to myself, why won’t someone just do something. Why can’t people just get together and make things happen for the better. Why do we always wish for someone else to make the change, and never stop for one split second, to think about the change we can make ourselves. I take signs of struggle for granted until I see the circumstances and the results. I’m sorry. I have to change.


When I think about home (Nova Scotia), I think about the 4 seasons. Specifically, the cold winters and warm summers. I’d like to believe that we (use) to be a hidden gem in this enormous thing we call a world. We see the news here. We know what is happening around the world. CNN and Fox News are regular tv stations. We hold about 950,000 people (And counting). We greet everyone we see, we often smile at the person coming towards us, we yield when we are not supposed to, we make sure cars and pedestrians make it across the street before we even begin to think about ourselves, we are overly polite, we open the door for the elderly, we try to support great causes, we cheer for our local Mooseheads, we are kind and generous people. We hold superstars such as Sidney Crosby, Brad Marchand, TJ Grant, Ellen Page and Classified (Amongst others). But never really get national press. Never a trend on twitter. Never a viral post on Facebook. Until now..

Timeline Photos


I just finished reading an article about a young girl name Rehtaeh. The title said it all ” Who Failed Rehtaeh“. My first impression was that, “This sucks, another story about bullying”.When will it stop? Without realizing, or even noticing, I see where the article is written and where it has taken place. Again, not really understanding or taking in the entire concept of the article, I believed this couldn’t have happened in Nova Scotia. A community I walked and found friends in. A neighbourhood I went to high school in. I still could not believe what I was reading.


I started to do more research, and more and more articles started to pop up. Nova Scotia this, and Nova Scotia that. Young girl this and young girl that.  After this point, I messaged a friend and he quickly responded with ” Pretty crazy man. Hits close to home. Too close”. Again, dumbfounded by the idea and the circumstances and issues being raised, I still could not believe Nova Scotia and this innocent girl was the centre of attention in a world wide spread of a serious cause for action. Before ending the conversation he wrote, ” It’s ridiculous man.. Society as a whole needs a wake up call”. And from that point on I said to my self “Society as a whole needs a wake up call”.


I called home and spoke to my parents for the first time in a little while. As I spoke with them, I started to think about the value of life. And the importance of parents and friends. People you trust and understand. Before ending the conversation I finished with “I love you”, and my mom mentioned briefly about the little girl from Cole Harbour, Dartmouth area. Mom: Did you hear about the little girl? Awww, what a sin”. Me: I never really said anything. I was silent. I was thinking the same thing she was. Mom: You know, it is really sad. Where were her friends when this happened? Who really stood by her side and supported her through this? Me: Again, not really sure what to say, I remain silent. And agreed with a small gesture along the lines of “yeah, you are right Mom”. Mom: You know, your friend’s aren’t  always your friends. Be careful. I love you. And don’t take so long to call me. And don’t forget to pray (Before she hung up the phone).


A Facebook post appears ( Positivity instead of Pain) and I read it. Obviously about Nova Scotia, but something in a more positive light.

1:25 am

I read another article, this time posted about the ceremony and other leads into the case. Again, overwhelmed by the details and information, I begin to look at images of the young girl whose life was taken by society’s silence.


I finally closed all of the articles, and asked myself what did I do wrong? Why didn’t I do something to help the situation. You are probably asking? How could you have done anything? And this is exactly why society continues to fail:

Stop being a bystander. Show some initiative and start something. We fail in helping the individuals that need us the most because we think someone else will do it for us. We continue to act surprised and ask questions like how could this happen? Who is responsible? Society must take a good look in the mirror. We are the problem. Society is the problem. The busy life of the average person. The upper class. The middle class. The lower class. We all hold a responsibility. The goals and commitments we have for ourselves do not involved helping others. Our first thought in the morning is not how many people we make happy today. We think about our own troubles. Our bank accounts. A big game or a sport. What am I going to eat for supper. A crush or a boyfriend or girlfriend. We are too busy thinking about ourselves, so we become selfish. We think we are not. But we are. We forget the importance and meaning of life. We believe other people will take care of it. How to treat people with dignity and respect. Leading by example and being there for one another. Stopping something that is wrong even if you are uncomfortable. Standing up for the right. The law. Things that make sense. Not just your friend. Not just your mom or dad or a family member. Everyone. Society. We need to start looking out for one another. If you do not try to make the world a better place through being positive: You Are The Problem. We will only surpass this idea if we come together and decide to make a change (together). Doing the little things like being polite. Making little changes like, helping the unfortunate. Saying hi to someone who you usually don’t say hi to. Opening the door for the person behind you. Smiling in the direction of the person across from you. Giving as much as you can. Trying to change or impact a life in a positive way. If we do not start trying to make changes, we will continue to be surprised by the effects of an ignorant society that continues to fail our youth and people in need. Change the way social media is being used. Post positivity. Report ignorance. Be there for one another. Be the change you want to see in the world. Don’t be a bystander.

Miss Parsons, I am sorry. I promise to try to make the life of those around me better. I promise to wake up every morning in hopes of changing one life or making somebody happy. I promise not to ignore those who are struggling and need a friend. I promise to try to make this world a better place, even if I do it alone. I promise

RIP Rehtaeh Parsons



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