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No Place to Hide: The Rehtaeh Parsons Story
Rehtaeh Parsons, a teenage girl from Halifax, Nova Scotia, decided to end her life on April 7, 2013. The suicide was her permanent solution to the problem of being cyber bullied and harassed over the online distribution of a photo taken during an alleged gang-rape that occurred when she was extremely drunk.
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No Place to Hide: The Rehtaeh Parsons Story

Running Time
48 minutes

No Place to Hide: The Rehtaeh Parsons Story

In 2014, Canada was rocked by the horrifying story of Rehtaeh Parsons, a 17 year old who hanged herself because she was being bullied by school mates and called a “slut”. As a story that becomes increasingly more complicated, this film reveals layers of cyberbullying, the extent of rape culture and the far-reaching effects of depression and suicide – all borne by one frail girl called Rehtaeh Parsons. It all started when Rehtaeh who was 15, at that time, went to a party, drank too much vodka and can hardly remember what happened. But what really happened was that she was sexually attacked by two maybe three boys and had no memory of anything, until photographs started spreading on social media. After this, her life became a nightmare, where the photograph followed her from school to school until she became depressed, angry and even suicidal. The film NO PLACE TO HIDE re-traces the life of this world-famous teenager, by talking to everyone who knew her and putting back the pieces of her life, one by one. Even Anonymous, the elusive internet vigilantes who had put massive pressure on the Canadian government to persecute the guilty parties in the Rehtaeh Parsons case have agreed to appear on screen in this film, to help clear the air on the case. As a case that had overwhelming social media reaction, with more than 100,000 online signatures demanding that the Nova Scotia government take notice and bring the perpetrators to shame, this is a story where the mere mention of the name Rehtaeh Parsons is meaningful enough, condemning the ban that was placed on her name until December 2014 by the Canadian courts.

Filmmaker Notes:

When I first read about Rehtaeh Parsons, I was at first angry, then disbelieving, as I started following the story in the news. Soon, I became obsessed with the case, as I followed its tragic end to her unnecessary death in 2014. I was determined to make a film about this, to start people thinking about what goes on in the world around us. And then, when Anonymous got onto the case, I started getting really wound up. How could the world ignore this case? While news media deals with current events and updates us on stories like this, it takes a full-length documentary to go deep, to give more details and to re-tell the story that we must never forget. About neglect, ignorance and victim-blaming. So I set out to find funding for the film. It took more than a year but all the while, I was in touch with Glen Canning, Rehtaeh’s dad, who has his own blog glencanning.com and finally, when I had the funds, I went with a crew to Halifax. It was blustery, rainy and really gloomy; fitting weather for our story, I thought. Leah was hard to get a hold of, because she has young kids and many dogs to care for. But when I met her, in the golden sunset of the beach at Cole Harbour, it was lovely. She’s a strong, caring woman and I can see the closeness she must have had with Rehtaeh, not a day, not a minute passes by when she doesn’t think about her, and I bonded with her, mother to mother. This film NO PLACE TO HIDE: The Rehtaeh Parsons Story is a tough one, to make and to watch. Sometimes, we the crew were in tears while filming, unable to continue. But Glen and Leah were very strong, articulate and supportive. I made this film as much for them, as for us – for the healing to begin, but mostly for the world’s young people. So they can understand what consent means. As Glen says, “We created a monster, and that monster is our young men who have no idea how to treat women. They have no idea how to be a hero. They won’t have a clue how to be a father.”

Film details
Year(s) screened
  • 2015
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