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Updated: Thu, 03 Oct 2013 19:50:39 GMT | By The Canadian Press, cbc.ca

Rehtaeh Parsons wanted to go public before her death



Rehtaeh Parsons wanted to go public before her death

The father of a Nova Scotia teen whose suicide brought the issue of internet bullying to the forefront says she tried to convince him they should go public on the matter.

Glen Canning says the plan to go to the media was hatched by his daughter, Rehtaeh Parsons, in the months leading up to her death this past April.

Canning told a news conference in Montreal Thursday afternoon that both he and Rehtaeh's mother decided at the time going public was not the right thing to do.

But he says he would now go public under similar circumstances.

He is advising parents of kids who have been victimized by cyberbullying and being ignored by authorities to go that route.

Canning is in Montreal to give a lecture organized by Concordia University's Centre for Gender Advocacy and to lend support for better services for sex assault victims at post-secondary institutions.

His own daughter's death was brought on by months of bullying following an alleged sexual assault.

Rehtaeh's family has said the girl felt helpless after a digital photo of her allegedly being sexually assaulted circulated around the school.

Parsons was admitted to hospital in March 2012, about five months after the alleged assault, and became suicidal.

The 17-year-old girl died following a suicide attempt in April of this year.

Her death drew international media attention after her parents went public.

In August, two teens were charged with child pornography charges. The case was reopened one week after her death when authorities said they received new and credible information from someone who was willing to co-operate. Initially, police had said there wasn't enough evidence to lay charges.

'I wish I'd done that'

Canning said he now wishes he'd gone public sooner.

"She [Rehtaeh] wanted me to," Canning said. "When the police called her up and told her they weren't going to lay charges against anybody, she wanted to go public."

Canning, who used to work as a photojournalist in Halifax, said he could have easily made it happen. But with all his daughter was going through, he felt she would have been overwhelmed by the media exposure.

"There was so much going on her life, it would have been overwhelming," Canning said.

"Looking back, I wish I'd done that (gone public), but I would have never have done it had I thought it would have jeopardized her or harmed her in any way, but it was actually her idea."

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