Now the young man who took that disgusting photo and distributed it, causing the girl and her family so much grief, has been sentenced to a "conditional discharge". That means that as long as he meets the requirements laid out by a judge, which includes meeting regularly with a court officer, submitting his DNA to a sex-offender registry, and writing an apology to the girl's parents, he goes free.
In other words, nothing. A slap on the wrist for destroying a girl's life.
The system was supposed to protect her. Just like it was supposed to protect so many other young people who have been assaulted, shamed, and bullied. Too many of them end up dying, either by the hands of their tormentors or by their own hands before they are taken seriously. This is the horrendous result of a society that has been historically patriarchal and misogynistic.
It's little wonder that few victims come forward, because they know that more than likely they will not be believed and/or will suffer reprisals. Instead they write in journals, post heartbreaking videos on YouTube, or rally around Twitter hash-tags like #BeenRapedNeverReported. In most cases they remain nameless because they are afraid that the system will treat them as such.
That Halifax girl does have a name: Rehtaeh Parsons. And there are other names: Amanda Todd, Megan Meier, Cora Delille, Lewis Thelwall... young people whose tormentors were either given only light sentences or not charged at all.
Something has to change.
Here's another excellent blog on the subject.