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Remains of young girl found in Toronto dumpster, area residents in shock

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TORONTO — Shock and disbelief gripped residents of one of Canada’s wealthiest neighbourhoods on Thursday as Toronto police revealed that the remains of a young girl had been discovered in a construction dumpster outside a home in the area.

Investigators said they haven’t been able to determine the girl’s cause of death, nor do they know just when she might have died, but they think her remains were placed in the dumpster sometime between last Thursday and Monday.

As police asked the public for help identifying the child, those who lived in the ritzy Rosedale neighbourhood, located north of the city’s downtown, said they were processing news of the discovery.

“It’s kind of crazy to think about, that that would happen,” said Mikkel Shiffman, who has lived in the house across the street from the discovery with his parents since he was four.

“It makes you feel that stuff like this happens a lot closer than you think.”

Officers responded to a call about remains found in a construction-disposal dumpster on Monday afternoon. The property where the remains were found is unoccupied and under construction, police said.

An autopsy completed on Wednesday identified the remains as those of a girl between the age of four and seven, investigators said. The girl may have died as early as the summer of 2021 or even before then, police said.

“Our first priority is to figure out who this little girl is,” Insp. Hank Idsinga told reporters. “We will get to the bottom of it no matter what it takes.”

On Thursday afternoon, yellow police tape could be seen stretched across the driveway of the home where the construction dumpster had stood. A police car was parked near the home, on a residential street.

At the end of a stone path beside the home’s driveway, a pot of pink flowers had been placed with a card that read “little one, we pray heaven has dried your tears.”

Steven Koshchuk, who lives around the corner from where the incident took place, said the news was jarring.

“I was extraordinarily shocked, not because of the neighbourhood or the demographics or whatever, just that someone would abuse and mistreat a child in that way and abandon them,” he said.

Terry Kirk, who has lived in the neighbourhood for about nine years, said it was difficult to think of “the circumstances around a child being treated that way.”

“It’s not something that’s part of everyday life that’s for sure,” she said.

Police said the remains of the girl had been found wrapped in a crochet blanket inside a plastic bag, and that bag was wrapped in a colourful blanket. Police shared images of both blankets in the hopes that someone will recognize them and help identify the child.

Jason Conover, who lives around the corner from where the remains were found, said he felt for whoever made the discovery.

“To find a child abandoned must have been awful for the person who did,” he said.

The girl was described as Black, of African or mixed African descent, and three feet, six inches tall with a thin build. Police said her hair was sectioned in four short ponytails, two of which were braided and secured with black and blue elastic bands.

“Kids don’t just die,” Idsinga, of Toronto police, said. “If anyone has any information whatsoever, please call us immediately.”

The Toronto police missing person’s unit and the homicide squad were working closely together on the case, police said. While some missing persons reports had come close to matching the profile of the girl whose remains were found, none were so far a definite match, Idsinga said.

Police would be looking at a charge of indignity to human remains in relation to the case but that could change rapidly as more information emerges, Idsinga said.

“We are investigating this death at its highest level,” he said. “We have the investigative assets in place to deal with wherever the evidence takes us.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 5, 2022.

 

Adena Ali, The Canadian Press

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The Gender War amongst Us

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The United Nations define gender-based violence as any act of gender-based violence that results in or is likely to result in physical, sexual or mental harm or suffering to women and other persons, including threats of acts of violence, coercion and arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or private life.

Gender-Based Violence is a global public health problem that challenges and affects the morbidity and mortality of women and the LGBTQ Community. It is estimated that 30% of women and 85% of The LGBTQ have experienced at least one form of GBV in their lifetime since the age of 15. The United Nations study among Women of reproductive age revealed that Intimate Partner Violence(IVP) ranged from 15% in Urban Regions(ie Japan) to 71% in Rural Regions (ie Ethiopia)Evidence reveals that this problem is most prominent in developing nations where socioeconomic status is low and education limited, especially in sub-Saharan Africa countries.
Gender Prejudice and Violence directed towards Women and The LGBTQ Community is globally widespread, even within the well-educated populations of the developed world.

Gender-Based Violence is a common practice in Africa, Asia and developing nations in Latin America. Most African Cultural beliefs and traditions promote men’s hierarchical roles in sexual relationships and especially in marriage. Almost two-thirds (63%) of the African population live in rural settings which increases the difficulty to access basic amenities and communities are isolated from the influence of central governments or the laws that prohibit GBV. Despite legislative advances, GBV remains pervasive and a daily reality for Women, Girls and THE LGBTQ Communities. Within Rwanda, many Women and Girls experience multiple and intersecting forms of violence and oppression including intimate partner violence, sexual violence, early and forced marriages, genital mutilation and human trafficking.

Gender Biased Violence directed towards The LGBTQ Community is high within African society, where their lifestyle may appear as a challenge to other males’ masculinity or gender understanding. Within the Latin Community, such violence exists but is far less felt than in areas within Africa. The Latin Worlds’ understanding of masculinity seems to vary, appearing to be more accepting of “the different”. Many Latin Males have multiple gender partners even within marriage. African attitudes are far more conservative and unyielding.

Gender Politics have shaped our world, moving from ancient acceptance of the power and influence of Womanhood to a place where religion became the excuse to oppress Women and other elements of society like the LGBTQ Community. Humanities’ move toward freedom and self-expression has been squashed by the manipulative, powerful masculinity of Mankind. Impressions of a controlling, protective society show us what we are to believe and how we are to live our lives.

Equality, self-determination and self-expression for Women and the LGBTQ Community still remain important aspects of the developed world’s policymaking and implementation. Within the continents of Africa, Central and Latin America, and some Asian nations government policymakers attempt to legally establish the necessary laws to protect their populations, but cultural, political and societal traditions and prejudices have entangled themselves within these nations’ evolutionary movement towards equal rights and gender democracy. A Gender War remains among us, within us, allowing prejudice, fear and hate to shape our society. Like all wars, there are many casualties, but with education, determination and the hand of justice applied, this war can be won.

Steven Kaszab
Bradford, Ontario
skaszab@yahoo.ca

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Journalists in Canada face 'alarming' levels of stress, trauma and harassment, report suggests – CBC.ca

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Members of Canada’s news industry are suffering “alarming” levels of work-related stress and trauma, a new report suggests, and researchers are calling for better supports to help journalists cope with covering COVID-19 and other crises.

The findings, based on 1,251 voluntary responses to an online survey conducted between Nov. 1 and Dec. 18, 2021, showed that media workers have dealt with high rates of mental health conditions over the past four years.

Sixty-nine per cent of respondents reported anxiety, 46 per cent said they had depression, and 15 per cent said they experienced post-traumatic stress injury.

The lead researchers on the project said the report underscores how the upheaval of a pandemic-accelerated news cycle has exacerbated the pressures of working in a profession steeped in competition and tragedy.

“Our findings confirm our worst fears and suspicions about the industry,” Carleton University journalism professor Matthew Pearson said at a news conference on Parliament Hill on Wednesday.

“The onus is now on all of us — from the front lines, to newsroom leaders, executives and journalism educators — to grasp the gravity of this situation and meaningfully address it to reduce the harms Canadian media workers are suffering on the job.”

Co-author Dave Seglins, a CBC News journalist and mental health advocate, said the information age has ramped up stress for journalists facing more demanding workloads and perilous job security, while also opening the floodgates for online misinformation and harassment.

More than half of participants surveyed said they had experienced online harassment and threats, and 35 per cent said they had encountered harassment in the field.

The harms of harassment were particularly pronounced among women, transgender and non-binary journalists, the report said. Black, Arab, South Asian and Filipino journalists reported higher rates of online harassment. Workers who were more identifiable as members of the media, such as video journalists and photographers, were more likely to be targeted in the field.

The survey also indicated that exposure to trauma is taking a toll on media workers, with 80 per cent of participants saying they’ve experienced burnout as a result of reporting on stories about death, injury and suffering. Some participants also reported experiencing other emotional and psychological side effects, such as suicidal thoughts or “numbing out” by using alcohol or other substances.

More than half of participants said they had sought medical help to deal with work stress and mental health, while 85 per cent of those surveyed said they had never received training on mental health and trauma at work.

The “suck it up” culture of many newsrooms deters journalists from seeking help to manage their struggles due to fears about how speaking up could impact their careers, Seglins said, and many employers lack the expertise, resources and benefits needed to support journalists’ well-being.

He urged news organizations to collaborate with workers to identify and redress these gaps to ensure the proper functioning of the Fourth Estate.

“All of this is having a profound impact on the health of people who work in the news industry — the watchdogs of our democracy,” Seglins said.

The Canadian Press provided images for the report, and the survey was distributed to Canadian Press employees.

The polling industry’s professional body, the Canadian Research Insights Council, says online surveys cannot be assigned a margin of error.

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Canada donates $1 million to probe sexual violence by Russian troops in Ukraine

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OTTAWA — Canada is committing an extra $1 million to help the international community investigate sex crimes by Russian troops in Ukraine.

Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly said Canada would give the extra funds to the International Criminal Court to help it investigate sexual violence toward women, and also crimes against children.

Ten RCMP officers, and Canadian civilian law enforcement experts, are helping to investigate war crimes in Ukraine, including sexual violence by Russian troops.

Global Affairs Canada said the extra money could be used to help fund specialist sexual violence investigations and to protect victims who may be witnesses in war-crimes cases.

The funds may also be used to provide psychological support for victims.

Joly said it was important that Russian troops who have used sexual violence against Ukrainians be brought to justice.

“Canada condemns in the strongest terms the use of conflict-related sexual violence and we will continue to work with partners such as the ICC to end impunity for these heinous crimes,” she said in a statement.

“Those who commit sexual violence in conflict situations must be held to account.”

At a meeting in Ottawa earlier this month with Ann Linde, Sweden’s foreign minister, Joly discussed the need to treat Russian troops using sexual violence as a weapon as war criminals.

Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Joly said 10 RCMP officers would help gather evidence of rape and sexual violence by the Russian military.

Linde said Sweden has also sent “experts on investigating sexual and gender-based crime” to help the ICC with its war crimes investigation. They are interviewing refugees — “mainly women and girls and children,” she said — as witnesses.

Ukraine’s ambassador designate to Canada told members of Parliament earlier this month that Russia is using sexual violence against women and children as a weapon of war.

Yulia Kovaliv told the House of Commons foreign affairs committee on May 2 that Ukraine is compiling “horrific documented evidence” of war crimes.

“The horror is that children are victims of these sexual crimes, which are done (before) the eyes of their parents,” Kovaliv said. “Sexual crimes is part of the Russian weapon (against) Ukraine.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published 26, May, 2022.

 

Marie Woolf, The Canadian Press

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