Dear Christie Blatchford,
I, like you, am a Canadian writer. We are a small but mighty bunch, sharing our words across the world. I have always had pride in other Canadian writers. I always thought that Canadian writers and journalists were the best of the best.
That was, until, I heard of you.
No, I’m not saying your writing is awful. You’re a solid writer, I give you that. However, I cannot stand behind a writer who uses their words to promote ignorance and just plain cruelty.
I’m of course referring to your articles about Rehtaeh Parsons, God rest her soul.
I know you’re probably not going to read this. I know you probably don’t care about what some bitch from Saskatchewan thinks of you. You’ll probably laugh about my tweets. You’ll probably dismiss me. Just like you did Rehtaeh.
The thing is, Ms. Blatchford, Rehtaeh isn’t here to defend herself. She’s with the angels now. But I’m still here.
My rapist denies that he raped me too, you know. He denies that he made me feel like human garbage. He denies that he killed part of my soul. However, he feels sorry that I tried to kill myself. That I almost became another Rehtaeh.
But I’m still here, and I won’t shut up.
So I’m writing this to you. I’m writing this to you because I can’t stay silent. I can’t stand by and let people say that sexual assault survivors deserve what happened to them because they were “flirtatious” or intoxicated, like you seem to think. I can’t stand by while people give the rapists more priority and credibility than their victims.
I don’t think you care about any of that. Given how many articles you’ve written on Rehtaeh, I’m willing to bet on it. You get to live in a world where all rape victims are sluts putting down good ol boys, where sexual assault happens to other people. I envy you that. What I will tell you is this: I lost faith in Canadian journalism today. I always pride myself on being from a country where shit like Steubenville doesn’t happen, where our media coverage doesn’t sensationalise violence or aggressively promote religious attitudes. I lost some of that pride today. Your columns are something I’d expect to see on a white supremacist blog, or from Fox news. I thought Canadian journalism was above that. I thought we were above that. Have you read the responses from Rehtaeh’s parents? Do you even have the guts to, after the things you said about their child? How could you use your influence, your talent, to bring more pain to parents who lost their child? How dare you?
As a fellow writer, it disgusts me when writers use their talents to do things like you’ve done. It reminds me of cartoon supervillains, gifted with incredible power who chose to hurt people and be selfish. There’s a reason that they’re the villains. Keep that in mind, Ms. Blatchford.
I wonder if part of this is because you know it will get you views and clicks and reads. I wonder if part of this is because you know it will get a response out of people. I wonder if it’s because you like to get people angry, get people violently debating. Good job, I suppose. I always thought writing and journalism was more than that. I always thought that journalism was about the truth. You’re not being edgy or thought provoking by siding with rapists. The rest of the world does that.
A lesser person would wish sexual assault on you, but I won’t. I wouldn’t wish what happened to me on my worst enemy.
I guess I’ll close by wishing you a nice life, Ms. Blatchford. Because Rehtaeh doesn’t get one anymore.
K. J. Mills