Last week I was handed an envelope of letters from Katimavik Elementary School. Grade eights there watched the documentary about Rehtaeh, No Place to Hide, and wrote about how the film affected them.
There are 60 letters in all and I’m still going through them. It was a very thoughtful thing to do. Below are some samples. I am going to post a note from each letter that was written and add them.
To them all, thank you!
“Your daughter’s story has touched me on a very deep level, which I’m sure has done the for many others. Not only do I think you, for the sake of creating a safer, more educated world, but I’d like to personally thank you, for helping my life become that much safer and making me aware of the possible things that could happen to me.”
“I wanted to share with you, Mr. Canning and Ms. Parsons, my deepest sorrow, and apologies that this incident has occurred to your family. Rehtaeh surely didn’t deserve it…”
“I can’t even imagine what you have gone through but by sharing Rehtaeh’s story you have raised awareness to help other rape victims speak out… I promise you that I will be careful when I get to high school and I will think before I do anything … I promise you I will be careful when I get to high school and I will think before I do anything.”
“I was truly shocked to learn about what happened to Rehtaeh and I am truly sorry. I think you were outstanding parents and never gave up and fought for Rehtaeh day day in and day out… you are very courageous to go public with this story, I think that it has had and will have a massive impact on many people.”
“Rehtaeh saved five lives without knowing she would. Those lives can still hope and dream. They can still find love and have children and grandchildren. They will live their lives knowing it was all thanks to Rehtaeh…”
“Again I am sorry for your loss, but so grateful that you and your family were willing to share this heart wrenching and touching story with us, showing us the reality of what our world really is. We now know not just to not be bystanders, but stand for ourselves and our friends and family, to do something about it, take a stand.”
“I really appreciate you sharing your daughters story as it really made me realize a lot of things. I need to be careful if I’m ever a situation like that, I need to be there for my friends if this ever happened to any of them and if any my friends experienced something like this I need to help them in anyway possible and I need to get them help to deal with what happened. This story really affected me…”
“Your daughter’s story has taught me many life-changing lessons and I thank you and especially her for them, her story will help and has helped so many people. I know that when I say that Rehtaeh’s story will always be something that changed me for the better. No matter how old I get I’ll remember this. Thank you for sharing this with people like me….”
“Recently, I’ve been trying to always find the positive aspects in all situations. This film has really inspired me to be a better friend and always have someone’s back, especially when they’re going through a tough time. I will definitely think more about any decisions I make and I won’t send or give hate because everyone has feelings and you never know what might hurt others. I always send you my love and lots of joy. I am so dearly sorry for your loss. I really can’t imagine what it’s like. I don’t have a child of my own yet when I grow up I really hope I can protect and help my child in this terrifying yet wonderful world.”
“When Rehtaeh was no longer with you, you could’ve just sat back in grieved, but it’s truly inspiring how you went public and speak your daughter story for the greater good of thousands of kids all around the world. I’m still outraged that this happened to you and I wish the outcome was better, but I thank you again for your courage and powerful message to kids everywhere. I’m very sorry for your loss. Rest in peace Rehtaeh.”
“Thank you, I will never look at something like this the way I did before. I didn’t understand how terrible it was, this hit me like a ton of bricks, people need to know when to step in and people don’t step in often enough, and I think if you keep this up more people will. So please continue doing what you’re doing, it’s a great thing and I know it will help prevent things like this from happening again.”
“Even though Rehtaeh lived in another province than me, I noticed we had a few things in common. We both really like dogs, we both wore glasses, and we both had multiple siblings. I also know that she had a few traits in common with some friends of mine which made me think she really was just like us. An ordinary 15-year-old girl and something unfortunate at happen to her. I learned a lot, from now on I promise to think about my words before I say them, think about my actions before I act on them, and think about pictures before I post them. Once again I’m terribly sorry for the lose of your daughter Rehtaeh, and I hope you both can find peace and some measure of closure.”