In Memoriam: My Safta (Grandmother) (Revised)

When some keep it private, I am posting my memoriam to my grandmother because I wanted to share with the world how much my grandmother meant to me.

As young as I can remember I loved visiting my grandmother.

She was a 2nd mother to me. So caring and motherly.

Always made sure I was taken care of.

When I was sick she would nurse me back to health.

When I was in trouble she was there for support.

When I was young and on my own struggling she would slip me $20 bills keeping it secret from my grandfather who was conservative with money, even though I never asked.

When I got myself into trouble, she got me out.

She’s been through a lot in her life. Much worse than I. She knew how it was to be in dire straights, she survived the Holocaust.

I always had great respect and affection for her.

My grandparents were my family when my parents moved to the US in 1999, their home was a place to escape to when I was lonely or needed support. I’d call them weekly to see how they were doing.

And my grandmother, she always without hesitation welcomed me with open arms. Always hospitable and made me comfortable.

She loved me no matter what.

I always felt accepted and never neglected.

There was always a place in her heart for me.

My grandfather was immobile for years, my grandmother took care of him, cleaned him, changed him and cared for him.  And she always cleaned and kept her home immaculate. That was her nature. And she never left his side. That’s how caring and selfless she was.

My grandmother was a strong woman, had a couple mild heart attacks but never complained.

In 2004, while being wheeled in from surgery lying on the hospital bed she saw me in the waiting room and said, “Joey, I am okay don’t worry”. She never ever wanted people to feel sorry for her.

Whenever she was in the hospital I was always there by her side. Just like how she was there for me. She told me she met god and he told her not her time yet.

She had mild Alzheimer’s before my uncle died, when he died in 2008 her mental condition got worse. Two years later in 2010 my grandfather died, her Alzheimer’s had become much worse. She sat in front of the TV and would stare. She would just say a few things, I always asked her how she was, she always say she’s good. She lost most of her memory and only remembered a few people, but always remembered who I was.

A week ago my grandmother wasn’t feeling well, but never said anything, she looked ill so my mother took her to the hospital.  Tests showed she had a tumor blocking her stomach. And days later had an operation to remove it. It was a very risky long 4 hour surgery, fortunately the doctors told us the cancer did not spread, we were all so relieved and looked forward to her coming back home, and like always she was a fighter, but this time she lost the fight.

She didn’t know what was going on, kept saying that she’s okay and not sick and wanted to go home, she asked me if she can come to my home. It was so difficult to watch her in pain.

The day after the surgery, I was at the hospital visiting like every day prior, my grandmother was in more pain and kept asking why were the tubes so tight in her stomach, I kept saying to her it’s because she had surgery, she didn’t understand why.  She’d pause then asked again. She also kept asking if my mother lived in the hospital I had to say yes to calm her down. She always wanted my mother at her side. When my mother too a break from watching her, my grandmother found the strength to get herself out of the bed and rip the tubes out, managed to get herself up and into the hallway looking for my mom. The nurses at first did not watch her.

That was the last time I saw her alive.

On the way home I planned to stop by the hospital to visit her but I didn’t because I thought she was going to be home soon. I didn’t expect her to get much worse so fast.

For some reason I didn’t stop by the hospital that day.

The same day, I got a phone call from mother who’s been at my grandmother’s side night and day and said my grandmother had an infection, she had complications from the surgery which the doctors warned us about.

Things got much worse.

My grandmother had mucous in her system. She then had problems breathing and they put her on a respiratory machine. The doctors had to drain the mucus in her lungs by putting a tube down her throat but my grandmother didn’t want it, she was dealing with enough pain. My mother told the nurses to get the doctor, 5 mins later which felt like hours she told the doctors she’ll hold her up and they try to put the tube in, they tried and tried. My mother kept trying to bring her back, the doctors tried to look for a pulse on my grandmother but they couldn’t find it, my mom kept holding her, calling her name, my grandmother’s head leaned on my mom’s chest as she was holding her, crying saying we could do this. It was too late.The doctors said “I’m sorry but she’s gone”. They saw how determined my mother wanted to help and save my grandmother that they had tears.

Shortly after my mother called me and told me my grandmother died. I rushed to the hospital..

As I approached the room, everything seemed like slow motion, and there she was life selfless to lifeless in the bed, I couldn’t contain myself, tears just poured. I knew her time was going to come soon, but not so quick. I wanted to see her before she left us.

As I left the hospital, tears mixed with rain, as if it washed away my sorrow, taking away the pain. So many memories I cherished raced though my mind.

There are only good memories of my grandmother. As I look at pictures of her and reminiscence of the past, more tears. She meant so much to me.

The day of the funeral, they had rain in the forecast but the dark clouds burst into a perfect sunny sky. Like the warmth she graced. And then a bird flew up above and took flight.

A verse that matches to that sight came to mind and with meaning (as gay as it sounds);

Fly, fly, fly high against the sky, so high almost touch the sky. Thank you, thank you, thank God for you, the wind beneath my wings.

She would sit at the same spot when she lived at my parents home, no longer there, it hurts.

It’s difficult to say good-bye, we all wish we can hold on to the people we love and never let them go.

But there is a time where we have to say good-bye and know that they’re in a better place.

R.I.P Safta. Love You. You’ll forever be in my heart.


10 years for Assaulting 21 people.

Over and over again sentences like this boggle my mind. I am not excusing the fact what this douchebag was wrong but I’ve only seen and heard crimes again are not taken as harsh and criminals are sentenced to just a couple of years. Someone who’s actually did time with pedophiles ( a facility for addictions/anger/sex crimes) the cases heard were so despicable it makes you cringe and these predators were only sentenced for months to less than 2 years. The damage, scarring and impact these children deal with for the rest of their lives amounts to much greater than an adult who has been assaulted and the guy in this article is sentenced to 10 years for 21 victims, much deserved but in Canada he’ll be out way before that, but why aren’t sentences like this handed down to pedophiles? Who’s the victim here? Pedophiles get life sentences in the USA, Canada 2 years. Talk about miscarriage of the justice system.

Former North York General anesthesiologist Dr George Doodnaught was sentenced Tuesday to ten years imprisonment for sexually assaulting 21 of his patients.

Many of his victims, filling rows of the packed courtroom, shed tears as Superior Court Justice David McCombs read his decision.

As Doodnaught, 65, was handcuffed and taken into custody from court, a few of his victims clapped.

His “reprehensible conduct must be condemned in the strongest terms,” said McCombs.

In November, Doodnaught was found guilty of sexually assaulting 21 women between the ages of 25 and 75 while they were semi-conscious on the operating table.

All but one of the women were undergoing surgeries at North York General Hospital between 2006 and 2010. Doodnaught was a popular anesthesiologist at the hospital for 26 years.

Photos View photos

  • George Doodnaught is shown in a Toronto police handout photo. The anesthesiologist convicted of sexually assaulting 21 sedated women during surgeries has been sentenced to 10 years in prison. zoom

The Crown had asked for 12 to 15 years during the sentencing hearing earlier this month. The defence suggested eight to 10 years.

Doodnaught’s lawyer Brian Greenspan said that they are appealing the convictions but not the sentence. He would not comment on whether bail is being sought pending appeal.

In his lengthy judgment released in November following the 76-day trial, McCombs found that Doodnaught took advantage of his position in the operating room, concealed behind a sterile screen that separates patients’ upper and lower bodies.

Hidden from the doctors and nurses, Doodnaught fondled the breasts of sedated female patients, kissed their mouths and forced them to perform oral sex and masturbation, McCombs found.

In victim impact statements read to the court during the sentencing hearing, the women, whose names are protected by a publication ban, described how the assaults robbed them of the ability to trust anyone, particularly doctors.

Many of them have been diagnosed with depression and anxiety, some facing frequent panic attacks.

They struggle in relationships with their partners and children, have suffered financially due to difficulties working and fear undergoing any medical procedures or even being in a hospital.

Patients had made three formal sexual assault complaints to North York General Hospital about Doodnaught before a complaint in 2010 sparked a criminal investigation.

The hospital’s chief of anesthesiology was aware of the complaints but the senior hospital administration only learned of them after the 2010 complaint was made, McCombs found in his ruling.

Serious complaints about staff, including allegations of sexual assault, are now being reported directly to the hospital’s CEO.

Doodnaught may now face a disciplinary hearing with the Ontario College of Physicians and Surgeons that could result in the loss of his licence.

Is pedophila a sexual orientation?

Let’s not get this twisted here, there are those people, with little intelligence who think ALL gays are pedophiles. Before you come to that idiotic misconception educate yourself, and get out of your fuckin home and learn about the world around you. I’m gay and I have zero interest in children sexually, it’s sick. It only brings outrage when I hear any type of abuse to children. But I am not here to justify gays.

There is no cure to pedophilia, courts can send these offenders to get help to suppress their feelings and not act out it requires intense therapy and in Canada the courts send these offenders for a couple of years, the USA sends them to jail for life. It’s a sick world and if you’re a parent it’s your duty to protect your children and trust no one. Victims create victims, it’s a cycle that keeps repeating itself.

Pedophilia has been widely viewed as a psychological disorder triggered by early childhood trauma.

Now, many experts see it as a biologically rooted condition that does not change — like a sexual orientation — thanks largely to a decade of research by Dr. James Cantor at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health.

Cantor’s team has found that pedophiles share a number of physical characteristics, including differences in brain wiring. It’s now thought that about 1 to 5 per cent of men are pedophiles, meaning they are primarily attracted to children.

These findings have been widely accepted among scientists, but have had little impact on social attitudes or law. However, we are left with the alarming question: if some men are born pedophiles, what should society do with them?

Bolstered by this research, pedophiles who have never molested children are seeking social acceptance.

‘We can resist’

Ethan Edwards has always loved little girls.

For years, he told himself his feelings were protective and loving, nothing more. But when he hit 50, he found he couldn’t stifle his desires any longer.

“I realized that young girls certainly took my breath away, more than grown-ups are usually charmed by kids,” he says.

Edwards, using a pseudonym, wrote about this realization on Virtuous Pedophiles, a website he co-founded for pedophiles who have never molested children. The group says their attraction is one they were born with and cannot change, but can control.

Edwards says the goal of Virtuous Pedophiles is to prevent child abuse, by reducing the stigma against non-offender pedophiles.

“We do not choose to be attracted to children, and we cannot make that attraction go away,” reads the website, which has about 200 members.

“But we can resist the temptation to abuse children sexually, and many of us present no danger to children whatsoever. Yet we are despised for having a sexual attraction that we did not choose, cannot change, and successfully resist.”

The biology of pedophiles

Sitting inside his office at the College St. research hospital, Cantor is surrounded by books on sexology and eccentric decor — a framed sign that reads “Data Is My Porn,” a throw pillow that spells “penis” in Braille.

Down the hall at the Kurt Freund Phallometric Lab, Cantor’s research team conducts experiments on convicted sex offenders. The men view nude images of children and adults of both sexes, while a device measures blood flow to their penises.

The method, called phallometry and invented by Freund in the 1950s, accurately measures sexual interests in 90 per cent of men, Cantor says.

“It’s the most obvious test in the world,” he says. “The procedure gives us a relative measure of how he reacts to the adult categories versus the child categories.”

His team has found that pedophiles share many physical characteristics. They are shorter, on average, than other men. They are three times more likely to be left-handed or ambidextrous. Their IQs are about 10 to 15 points lower. Finally, they are more prone to childhood head injuries — which Cantor chalks up to a natural clumsiness.

These physical characteristics are determined before birth, so the explanation for pedophilia must be in part prenatal, Cantor says.

“It’s become harder and harder to explain pedophilia on just (early childhood events). It’s either purely biological or a mix of biological and experiential. But pure experience can’t explain these data.”

Cantor, an internationally respected clinical psychologist, has also conducted studies with sex offenders using MRIs. He has found they have less white matter — the connective tissue that carries messages to other parts of the brain — than other types of criminal offenders.

The evidence suggests pedophilia results from atypical wiring in the brain. Cantor calls it “cross-wiring”: the stimuli that usually evoke nurturing and protective reactions in adults is instead evoking sexual reactions in pedophiles.

Similar experiments are being conducted across the globe, most notably at Berlin’s Institute of Sexology and Sexual Medicine, but Cantor’s research has greatly influenced the view among researchers that pedophilia has a biological basis.

Pedophiles are thought to be overwhelmingly men. About a third of those men prefer boys, about a third prefer girls, and a third will be attracted to both.

Although female sex offenders exist, they are rare and it is more difficult to test their desires. Queen’s University sexologist Dr. Meredith Chiversconducted a similar genital-based test on women, but found, curiously, that females respond to everything — including images of bonobos copulating. (One theory is that during evolution, women developed this response as an automatic defence mechanism for rape.)

Some researchers disagree on whether the brain differences in pedophiles occurred before birth or in early development. Regardless, many are coming around to the view that pedophiles cannot be “cured” — but some can be stopped from molesting children.

Preventing child abuse

“Not all sex offenders who target children are pedophiles, and not all pedophiles are sex offenders,” says Dr. Michael Seto, a pedophilia expert and forensic researcher with the Royal Ottawa Health Care Group.

Seto, a former colleague of Cantor’s at CAMH, has found that only 50 to 60 per cent of convicted sex offenders are pedophiles. The rest have sexually abused children for reasons beyond attraction — personality disorders, chaotic households or violent impulses.

His research has focused on psychological traits shared by sex offenders, potentially providing insight into why some pedophiles molest children, while other “virtuous” pedophiles like Edwards are apparently able to control their urges.

Seto has found that sex offenders are much more likely to have a sexual abuse history than other types of criminal offenders. Certain traits, including impulsiveness, risk-taking behaviour, sexual preoccupation and lack of empathy, are also shared by sex offenders.

He has argued forcefully for pedophilia to be thought of as a sexual orientation — an idea he acknowledges is controversial, but hopes will actually help prevent child abuse.

“Right now, it’s really slanted so that the treatment services are for people who have gotten into trouble,” he says. “Obviously, we need that, but I think where there is a big gap is in terms of prevention. How do we reach people who are sexually attracted to children and are aware of it?”

One of the concerns with labelling pedophilia a sexual orientation is the potential for parallels to be drawn with homosexuality. Seto is quick to point out the difference between orientation based on age, and orientation based on gender.

However, if pedophilia was widely viewed as a sexual orientation, effective treatment could focus on self-regulation skills — avoiding acting on one’s urges — rather than trying in vain to change sexual preferences, he wrote in a research paper last year.

“Pedophiles will remain hidden if they continue to be hated and feared, which would impede efforts to better understand this sexual orientation and thereby prevent child sexual exploitation,” he wrote.

Mandatory reporting laws make it incredibly risky for pedophiles to tell therapists about their desires. In Canada, one is only required to report to the police if a specific child is at risk, but the laws can be misunderstood by mental health professionals, says Seto.

The Harper government recently announced tougher measures against child predators, including a public sex offender registry. Seto says this is misguided, given that the recidivism rate for convicted sex offenders is actually quite low, at about 10 to 15 per cent.

“One of the worries would be that would further drive individuals underground,” he says. “It could also lead to problems that decrease the likelihood they can successfully be integrated.”

Ironically, Cantor says the idea that pedophiles are born, not made, can be used to support opposing political views — some will say “lock ’em up and throw away the key,” while others will call for sympathy and therapy.

Cantor often receives emails from distraught men seeking guidance on controlling their desires. The side effect of strict mandatory reporting laws is that people don’t come in for help, he says.

Pedophiles among us

To the unassuming onlooker, Ethan Edwards leads an ordinary life in Pennsylvania. He is in his mid-50s and works as a software developer. He was married for more than a decade and raised three daughters. He is well-respected in his community.

But Edwards harbours a secret that, if exposed, threatens his entire livelihood and reputation. He is attracted to girls as young as 4 — and although he says he has never molested a child, his desire is enough to make him a monster in most people’s eyes.

“For me, the biggest problem with this is the isolation,” he says in an interview over Google Chat. “Everyone else thinks I’m sick and dangerous. Well, not everyone, but most of society.”

Edwards is actually a rarity among pedophiles, in that he managed to suppress his desires until he was middle-aged. Most pedophiles become aware of their urges at puberty or by the time they are young adults; many will describe their desires as romantic, not just sexual.

He is also able to maintain relationships with adult women — he says he was attracted to his wife while they were married. Perhaps surprisingly to some, he says he was never attracted to his daughters, citing an innate repulsion to incest.

Even now that he has accepted he is attracted to children, he swears that he will never act on his urges.

“I think it’s because my protective instinct towards children is so strong,” he says.

Edwards says he has never seen any child pornography. Instead he looks at seemingly innocuous photos of children — almost always wearing clothes, at least bathing suits. Cantor calls it “victimless,” although some might dispute that.

He launched his website with Nick Devin, also a middle-aged professional using a pseudonym, after meeting him on another support group, Both felt sex with children was inherently wrong, and they wanted to create a website for other pedophiles with that view.

On Virtuous Pedophiles’s “First Words” page, pedophiles — many of them teenagers or young adults — describe their relief at finding the group.

“I am in my late 20s and have been dealing with unwanted attraction to young boys since I was a teenager,” writes one member. “Though I have never acted on these attractions with anyone, this is my primary sexual attraction, and it bothers me greatly. I have considered suicide many times.”

Many pedophiles online do not share the viewpoint of Edwards and Devin.

On some sites, anonymous writers advocate for lowering the age of consent.

“It should be clear to anyone with any grey matter that pedophilia is just another oppressed sexual orientation or interest, and age doesn’t somehow magically make consensual sex between two people into something evil,” writes one user.

Another writes: “Nobody will ever quite understand the pain that we feel . . . seeing and longing for something we love but cannot have . . . and if we reach for it . . . we are accused of being sadistic monsters who only want to hurt kids. It will not last forever. Things will change.”

Edwards says he is disturbed by the activists that are “pro-contact” and hopes that young, struggling pedophiles find his group first.

Religious group tries to heal gays to become straight

Here you’ve got buffoons who think that by religion they can change sexuality, hoping that they can change someone to become something “they” want them to be. Only if works that we change assholes into nice people (there are people who are born assholes), murderers, pedophiles etc. Better yet, gays need to form groups to do the same, to change a straight person to gay, just because we believe it’s better that way.  Mind you, there are some straight men gays want to change.

How about leaving people the fuck alone and let them live their lives without forcing religion down their throats. Religion is a cult, it only exists because it’s there to have people falsely believe, by brainwashing them, that it in doing so it will change their lives, when in reality it doesn’t and only causes destruction.

Most religious people are kinda screwed up themselves. We can only pray.



It’s been close to 15 years since Darin Squire participated in Toronto’s Living Waters program, and he’s still putting his life back together.

Voices from the program still linger in his mind some days, hissing at him that he’s “a horrible person” for being gay, he said.

The 45-year-old knows that’s not true. But sometimes he struggles to truly believe it.

“They need to understand the depth of the damage this organization causes and the lives it destroys,” said Squire, who joined the program in the late 1990s.

Dave Lawson, a leader of Living Waters Toronto, defended the group by saying it does more good than harm: “I don’t know anyone in our program who has said they’ve been hurt,” he said. “I think it’s just important for people who want help for the issue that that help is there.”

A Star reporter went undercover inside Toronto’s Living Waters program for five months and received counselling for his gay desires, which were described to him as a “sexual addiction.”


Leaders guided participants through prayers to unearth the root of their “sexual brokenness,” a term that included homosexuality, infidelity and pornography addictions.

Therapies that attempt to “heal” homosexuality have been debunked by psychologists and progressive Christian churches for years, but the controversial Living Waters program still operates as a registered Canadian charity with the Canadian Revenue Agency.

For Squire, one of the most traumatizing experiences was the search for the supposed roots of his same-sex desires — a practice still common in the program today.

Squire said a leader directed him through childhood memories of sexual and emotional abuse growing up in London, Ont. The leader then linked Squire’s homosexual desires to the abuse.

“When they say you choose to be gay and you can fix that, they’re essentially saying, ‘You chose to be abused,’ ” said Squire.

“When you’re told that part of you is wrong and needs to be corrected, you start to question the rest of you,” he said. “It’s psychologically damaging and it becomes a part of you.”

For Squire, the inability to be “healed” made him feel as though his Christian beliefs weren’t strong enough. He had failed God.

After a year and a half in the Living Waters program — the end of a 10-year journey of denying his sexuality — Squire left the program feeling ashamed.

He said Living Waters indoctrinated him to believe that as a gay man he could be only three things: a prostitute, a pedophile or a recklessly promiscuous swinger.

“I was told there was no such thing as a healthy happy homosexual. They do not exist,” he said.

He accepted this supposed fate and descended into a self-destructive “depraved lifestyle,” he said.

“No one walks out of there and says, ‘It just doesn’t work for me.’ We walk out of there broken. People go in there unhealthy and come out unhealthier.”

But Living Waters wouldn’t let him go, he said. The program’s leaders followed Squire, showing up at his workplace and calling him incessantly to tell him that he had “fallen away from Jesus,” Squire said.

He eventually found solace in Toronto’s queer-affirming Metropolitan Community Church, which helped him reconcile his religious beliefs with his sexuality. However, he ultimately drifted away from the church and Christianity altogether.

“I’m deeply spiritual, no longer Christian,” he said.

A former leader’sregrets

Once a leader at Living Waters Toronto, Daniel Cranley says he wouldn’t recommend the program to anyone.

Cranley joined it around 2000. Then 23, he was referred to Living Waters by its founder and in-house psychotherapist Barry Lee, who gave him one-on-one therapy.

After less than a year, he started to be groomed for a leadership role. He began dating a woman and was put in charge of music.

With the help of Dave Lawson, who was himself just becoming a leader, Cranley led a group of four or five gay men who wanted to become straight. The program sent him to retreats and conferences in Alberta and Quebec, where he met dozens of other individuals like him stationed across the country.

Internally, he continued to struggle. His gay feelings remained unchanged — uncorrected in the eyes of the program. He was told he needed more faith.

“There were times where I said, ‘But I see happy gay couples all the time.’ And they would say, ‘It’s not real happiness. They’re covering up the pain and their sin,’ ” he said.

After three years, he started to realize he wasn’t going to change.

During a meeting with the program’s leaders, Cranley confided that he was still gay.

“I’ve got all sorts of healing from this group but my orientation hasn’t changed,” he remembers telling them.

The group members began laying their hands on Cranley’s body, praying for him. As he stood encircled by those who had supported him for four years, he expected them to “have rallied behind me, the way they always had.”

That didn’t happen.

A short time later, the co-ordinator told him he was “no longer conducive to the ministry,” Cranley said. He was asked to leave.

“It made me realize this whole changing process was entirely on me,” he said. “That’s where the damage lies: They are there to support you as long as you’re trying to change. The minute I made that shift to ‘my orientation was not changing,’ I was on my own.”

Cranley had come to believe he was internally flawed because he didn’t have enough faith to change.

But his falling out with Living Waters did not quash his faith.

Cranley had worked part-time at an Anglican church in Oshawa while attending Living Waters. After being told to leave, he found refuge within the church, and its priest became a mentor.

“I still cannot articulate why I maintained my faith throughout the process other than there was a certain God-given resilience. There was something about the process that made me say, ‘This will not destroy me.’ ”

With the priest’s encouragement, Cranley began pursuing Anglican ordination. He hopes to be placed at a church soon and leading a congregation of his own.

Looking back, there were aspects of the Living Waters program — the sense of a supportive community, healing prayers — that were beneficial, said Cranley, who is now 35. It allowed him to connect to God and to recover from the abuse he suffered as a teenager.

Still, he would never recommend Living Waters to anyone.

“If you don’t get the results then it’s your fault — it’s a problem with your faith. That’s the biggest problem with programs like that,” he said.

“That’s what leaves people angry as hell.”

Toronto mom sentenced to 6 years for daughter’s death

**NEWS FLASH to all those parents who shouldn’t be parents!***  Beating or torturing your child to teach them a lesson DOES NOT TEACH them a lesson, you stupid dumbfucks! Why do these idiots not get it??

A horrible parent beats and tortures her child and is sentenced to jail for just 6 years, ONLY SIX FUCKIN YEARS!! to be be shortened to 1/4. I really hope this sick and pathetic woman rots in jail and I hope she gets beaten and tortured in jail bu those jailhouse bitches.. for her to feel the pain and anguish that her child went through. Once she’s out she needs to be deported to that country from which she came from and never see Canada again. Parents like her piss me right off.  How can anyone do this to child? Something I could never comprehend. If a child is misbehaving or is “bad”, look within YOURSELF and realize YOU’RE the problem. Violence towards children, child abuse sickens me. I am going to sound crazy for second but…SUFFER BITCH….SUFFER! Just the way your child did.

And the Canadian justice system just locks her up for 6 years!! JUST 6 YEARS!  Pathetic as this woman.

Why do they even have a “justice system”  when people who do this despicable acts of crime goes to jail for a few years? Hang the bitch by her CUNT! (The evil comes out when I hear these stories).

Sabrina Siconolfi blinked back tears and looked over her shoulder at her parents as she was led from court in handcuffs to begin a 6-year-sentence for criminal negligence in the death of her two-year-old daughter, Sakina Abdurahman.

It was the first strong display of emotion on Friday in the University Ave. courthouse for Siconolfi, 32, who earlier begged Justice Ian Nordheimer to return her to her three surviving children.

Before the judge announced her sentence, he noted that Sakina’s tiny body was covered with wounds — including at least 34 bruises to her back and lower limbs and a bite mark — when paramedics arrived at the family’s apartment on Victoria Park Avenue on July 9, 2010.

“There’s no group in our society who is more defenceless and therefore more deserving of our protection, than children, especially infants,” Nordheimer said.

Forensic specialist Dr. Michael Pollanen concluded the Sakina died of heat stroke during a severe summer heat wave, but that her multiple injuries contributed to her death.

Her injuries also included widespread fresh bruising and abrasions to her scalp and face and a healing fracture in her right ribs.

Siconolfi had sole custody of Sakina and her younger brother while an older child was in the care of her parents. Siconolfi was seven months pregnant with a fourth child at the time of Sakina’s death.

Nordheimer gave her credit for 128 days in custody before she was freed on house arrest. She will immediately begin serving a prison term.

Defence lawyers Tyler Smith and Todd Morris had argued for a three-year term and extended parole, with a year’s credit for time served.

Crown attorneys Jason Gorda and Dominique Kennedy sought a seven-year penitentiary term.

Kennedy told the judge that Siconolfi has repeatedly lied to authorities and shown no remorse. “She’s the one person that Sakina was supposed to be able to rely upon to keep her safe,” Kennedy said.

Kennedy noted that Siconolfi waited an hour and applied makeup to her daughter’s body in an attempt to hide bruises on the day of her death.

“This is not a one-time mistake,” Kennedy said. “This is not a slip-up. This is not an impulsive act. This is something that occurred over a long period of time.”

Smith argued that his client was in the throes of a serious depression at the time of Sakina’s death, brought on in part by physical, emotional and sexual abuse from former partners.

He added that she was so cash-strapped that she couldn’t afford an air-conditioning unit.

Siconolfi told the judge she wanted another chance to be a good mother.

“I hope that you do give me the right to rehabilitate myself,” she said before the judge passed sentence. “I have three other children . . . My parents are getting older. They’re not going to be able to raise them for long. They’re going to need me back again.”

“Looking back, I do realize the mistakes and bad choices that I made,” she said.

Why it’s ‘Toronto the Good,’ not ‘Toronto the Friendly’

I like my city but I often complain about. Careless drivers, inconsiderate people and a lot of immigrants who think I need to accommodate to their norms;  my small quiet well behaved dogs scare the hell out of these people.  But above all this, unfriendly people. I must admit, I look unfriendly but I am not. Chat me up and I can converse with the right person forever. If anything, I’ve got a complex personality, a balance between introvert and extrovert-ism  within.. A lot of times the introvert in me is prominent. But Toronto is unfriendly..yes. I think that comes with the Territory though, living in a big city.


In Toronto the Good, I’ve been a frequent burger-and-pint patron at my local bar for 15 years.

Each time I go in, it may as well be my first.

There’s a reason the expression is “Toronto the Good,” not “Toronto the Friendly.”

I once met a guy with Caribbean parents who’d grown up in London, England, and then thought he’d won the lottery of life by meeting a Canadian girl. He moved here, had kids and was happy. When he heard my U.K. accent though, he confided that he liked Toronto well enough, “but the people are pretty miserable.” We looked at each other and our eyes said: “Can’t have it all, huh?”

Friedrich Engels, in The Condition of the Working Class in England, noticed that 19th-century London had an eye-contact problem. “Each keep(s) to his own side of the pavement . . . while it occurs to no man to honour another with so much as a glance,” he wrote.

Nowadays, it’s far more marked here than anywhere else I’ve been, including London. The absence, for those who move here or return from other places, is an odd beast: impossible to discuss coherently with anybody who doesn’t already know it.

Some moments from other cities will illustrate what I mean by “friendly”:

Years ago, I’m 26 and in New York. Of course I’ve spent my airport cab money on clothes and am improvising it by subway. Smartphones and apps don’t exist. Lateish for my plane and loaded with baggage, my jitters are noticed by two locals, who approach me unbidden to ask where I need help going. They’re strangers to each other as well as to me, but that doesn’t stop them debating my best route with pleasure so animated it echoes off the subway tiles. My useful little flash-mob comes to a consensus and we three part with big smiles; me back to Toronto Where That Would Never Happen.

Years later, I’m in London, negotiating double-decker buses and deep subways with a baby and stroller. Every time I can’t move without help, extra arms appear — and kind faces make frank, practiced eye contact, usually with my child as well: asking her name and sparing a few seconds to lean right in as she whispers it with a toddler’s sibilance.

More Video

  • Police announce attemped murder charges in boy's beating

    Police announce attemped murder charges in boy’s beating

  • Thorncliffe gets new kindergarten-only school

    Thorncliffe gets new kindergarten-only school

This summer, it’s Berlin. In the stairwell of our rental-apartment building neighbours look at us, nod a solemn acknowledgment and then pause to hold the door open. This without exception. They call my daughter “kleine Maus” (little mouse) with chuckling affection and with an over-the-shoulder “schoenen tag!” (have a great day), they’re gone.

None of these towns are legendary for warmth but they’re warmer than here. Strangers in Toronto have been known to address my kid with a term of endearment . . . maybe five times in her four years. Strangers in Toronto will share a giggle or a rueful “I know!” about something when we have dealings in a store or doctor’s office. Occasionally. Strangers in Toronto help me haul the stroller down the streetcar steps into terrifying traffic that has come to a fragile pause, but usually Sheba doesn’t get a grin or a hello, and I am rarely honoured with eye contact from my Samaritan.

My immigrant friend who complained of “miserable” Toronto misread things a bit though; it’s not misery, I’m sure, but unwillingness to be the first. In a community that doesn’t practice eye contact and “good morning,” social forms taken for granted elsewhere read, quite logically, as alarming. Greeting a stranger in an elevator, waiting room or — as happened recently to me, on a porch crowded with parents of my daughter’s camp friends — elicits a startled, high-pitched “Hi!,” as though caught with lowered pants.

The German philosopher Walter Benjamin wrote that “One of the inherent qualities of the gaze is that it expects to be returned by the person to whom it is given.” The Toronto problem is that expecting no return, most are unwilling to gaze.

For all of us, whether tuned in to it or not, the steady beat of transient human connection, unfreighted by any personal need or intimacy, is a buoy for the spirits; a few grains of humble, but transformative sweetness. Our hearts soften a tiny bit when strangers make eye contact and the effects are powerfully health giving.

Can a society be good without being friendly? It’s a fascinating socio-ethical question. My kid still doesn’t know friendly places from unfriendly ones, because she hasn’t learned to be sensitive to social nuance. I treasure this brief period of her life; melt inside when she tells a stranger “I like your earrings!” and the stranger beams with grateful surprise.

Oh Toronto, Good or otherwise: can’t you give us a healthier dose of that?

Mom charged with attempted murder after boy suffers life-threatening head injuries

Okay…I am not a parent but if anyone had the brains and common sense and were a good parent they’d know beating their child is outright stupid and irresponsible.


Kids are NOT born bad, they’re raised that way due to poor parenting. Violence in the home, beating your child will make your child worse if not a monster when they’re older. They will be violent. This is how murderers are created. So this is what you all stupid parents. GIVE up your children to a better home. To people who will actually discipline your kids the right way. Violence will not solve anything. You are not to have kids. You were not meant to have kids. Give them up for adoption! 

And then go castrate yourself to never have kids again!


The mother of an 11-year-old boy is facing three charges, including attempted murder, after an assault Friday morning in an Etobicoke apartment sent her son to hospital with life-threatening injuries.

The 32-year-old woman also faces charges of aggravated assault and failure to provide the necessities of life, Toronto police Const. Victor Kwong said Friday, adding the boy’s condition had been downgraded to critical.

Police had to break the lobby doors to get into the building. In the apartment they found the boy with severe head injuries.

Two other children were removed from the apartment, where police believe the incident took place, and were placed in the care of Children’s Aid, said Kwong.

Emergency services were called to the Eva Rd. building, near Bloor St. W. and Highway 427, around 1:10 a.m.

Photos View gallery

  • An 11-year old boy is in hospital with life-threatening injuries after an early morning assault. zoom

Jagruti Vyas, who lives a few doors down from the apartment, said she heard “some screaming noise before the police came. So much noise was going on.”

Esther Jeon, who lives on the same floor, was in the hallway with her mother and brother when police arrived.

Her brother said he heard a woman saying the Lord’s Prayer.

“She was reciting it,” said Samuel Jeon.

The ruckus two doors down from his apartment roused Kumar Ramachandran from his sleep. He said he was about to call 911 but police had already arrived.

He said he heard objects being thrown, screaming that went on for 10 to 15 minutes and one “big loud noise.”

Ramachandran said arguments and shouting are heard on a regular basis from the neighbours, but nothing like this.

“That was crazy,” he said.

Vyas, who works in the building’s management office, said she doesn’t know the family personally but they had been renting their unit for two or three years.

Ramachandran said his 10-year-old daughter played with the 11-year-old boy in the unit where the incident took place.

The boy, who he described as “very friendly,” had also been to Ramachandran’s home.

“Those kids are good,” he said of the 11-year-old boy and his siblings.

On the 11th floor — directly below the unit — resident Christopher Lee said he, too, heard loud noises coming from the unit late Thursday and early Friday, but that’s not unusual.

“But last night they were louder — like a thud, much louder than usual. It sounded like big objects were hitting the floor,” he said Friday morning.

Police are not releasing the names of family members to protect the boy’s identity.

Another woman was arrested at the scene, but has since been released with no charges.

With files from Arshy Mann and The Canadian Press

Lawsuit claims hair drug Propecia hurt sex life of some men who used it

For about 8 years I’ve been taking Propecia and then Avodart which is somewhat like Propecia with different chemical makeup, apparently more potent and according to studies works more effectively than Propecia. I have been using it for hair loss. My hair started to recede slowly when I was about 27 and then became more noticeable when I was about 33 years old.  I’ve not noticed any side affects, none, not even sexual side affects. Since I’ve been using the medication it did slow the receding process and has even grown some hairs back.


REGINA – A Saskatchewan law firm is hoping to launch a class-action lawsuit over allegations a popular hair-growth drug has ruined the sex lives of some of its users.

In statements of claim filed in Regina and Calgary, two men say they lost interest in sexual activity after taking Propecia.

The claims, which have not been proven in court and have yet to be certified as a class-action, allege that drug maker Merck Frosst Canada didn’t adequately warn people about the risks of Propecia.

Sexual dysfunction is listed as a possible side effect to the drug.

But the men allege that Merck didn’t properly warn people that sexual dysfunction could continue even after they stopped taking the treatment.

A call to Merck was not immediately returned Friday.

According to the Regina statement of claim, the man started taking Propecia after having a lump on his head removed in December 2007. His doctor gave him a free sample to encourage hair growth where the lump had been and a prescription for more.

The man claims he noticed hair wasn’t growing on his head, but in rather large patches on his neck and back. He also alleges he noticed a decrease in his sex drive and had difficulty maintaining an erection.

The statement of claim in Calgary was filed on behalf of a man who started on Propecia in 2000 and took it for four years.

The man claims his relationship with his wife suffered and they grew apart because his sex drive decreased.

Regina lawyer Tony Merchant, who filed the claim, argues the warning about the side effect wasn’t good enough.

“The drug companies, not just in this case but in others, then say, ‘number 1, we had this warning there.’ But what they really mean is it’s buried somewhere and it’s not a meaningful warning of any kind,” said Merchant.

Why is it so hard to hook up in Toronto?

All a long I’ve been blaming myself on why I’ve been single forever, it’s got to be me, than I realized it’s just not that, it’s the people in Toronto. And finally many, many people have gave me confirmation I am not the problem. Thank you. Toronto just sucks.

Why is it so hard to hook up in Toronto?

Is there something particular about our city that makes courtship especially difficult here? We present four theories.

Last month, a New York Times article declaring the “end of courtship” went viral.

The piece’s central lamentation—that technology has usurped romance, or, as one interview subject put it, that dating has devolved into “a cycle of text messages, each one requiring the code-breaking skills of a cold war spy”—probably resonates, in some way, with the average Torontonian single.

But the more relevant conversation to be had here in Toronto is about how, arguably, we’ve never, as a city, experienced anything more than a tepid pick-up culture.

In fact, the rise of digital communication notwithstanding, Toronto has earned something of a reputation for being particularly un-flirtatious—a phenomenon that residents from more sexually aggressive Canadian cities, like Montreal and Halifax, are often quick to bemoan.

The question is, why? What is it about Torontonians—or Toronto itself—that makes it so unlikely to get hit on offline, out in the public sphere?

After conferring with a number of twenty and thirty-something Toronto dwellers across lines of gender and sexual orientation, plus an expert or two, I’ve assembled a list of possible explanations:

1. Our keep-to-yourself culture: Known for being rigid, arms-crossed concertgoers and eerily silent transit riders, it follows that Torontonians are reserved when it comes to displays of spontaneous, romantic interest, lacking the requisite ballsiness to approach a stranger.

This isn’t to say that individuals are necessarily aloof, but the mores of our quite-large city have ingrained a culture of shame around talking to strangers without a “practical” purpose—and that includes flirting.

“It’s been my feeling here that people aren’t really receptive to being casually asked out in person,” says Peter, 30, a Toronto social-work student who primarily uses online dating to meet women.

“I feel like if I just walked up to someone in a bar, it wouldn’t be considered ‘normal.’ There’s no kind of known social codes around it. I wouldn’t know if the person was single, or if it would be awkward. Basically, I’d feel like a sleazeball.”

Samantha Joel is a Ph.D student in the psychology department at the University of Toronto. Her research includes analyzing how people make decisions about romantic relationships.

“I would say there’s a strong social norm in Toronto to keep to oneself in public spaces, to not make eye contact or start up conversation,” she notes.

“It’s seen as very peculiar if someone breaks these norms, and even seen as a sign they wouldn’t be a good potential partner. If a stranger expresses interest, I think people here respond to it with suspicion, and might see it as an indicator that the person isn’t completely stable.”

So, not only are we afraid to break the tacitly agreed-upon code of silence, but we may well be perceived as creepy if we do it to express romantic interest.

2. Water, water everywhere: Full disclosure: the majority of individuals I interviewed who complained about Toronto’s lack of sexual aggressiveness were relatively young, professional, heterosexual women, some of whom perceived that the romantic odds in Toronto were stacked against them.

Priya, 35, a Toronto-based freelance writer, observed that heterosexual men outside of Toronto—both in other Canadian cities and abroad—were much more forward.

“Guys in Toronto are spoiled; there are a lot of attractive women here, so men have a perceived notion of abundance, of the interchangeability of women—an ‘I don’t want to be tied down with this one when I can get this one,’ kind of thing,” she says.

She adds that the onus is on women, too, but that she’s never had much luck with asking out a guy she didn’t know.

Heather, 26, recently moved to Toronto from Halifax to attend graduate school.

“Because there are so many people in Toronto, everyone thinks about their other ‘options’ and not about what’s right in front of them,” she observes. “Halifax is small; you know what the dating pool’s like and egos aren’t as big, so people are more willing to put themselves out there.”

Shannon Tebb, owner of the Toronto dating-consulting service Shanny in the City, is a professional dating consultant, matchmaker, and life coach.

“There is lots of competition in this big city—beautiful women are a dime a dozen,” she says, suggesting that Toronto’s straight men may have something of an advantage. Assuming there is truth to this phenomenon, it doesn’t exactly encourage pride-on-the-line courting of strangers.

There’s even some statistical evidence to support this claim: According to the 2010 Statistics Canada census, women accounted for 50.4 per cent of Canada’s total population; in Toronto, the total number of women exceeded that percentage, albeit slightly, making up 50.9 per cent of the city’s inhabitants.

Further, StatsCan data from 2011 shows that, between 2006 and 2011, most provinces and territories saw increases in the number of women aged 20 to 34; in downtown Toronto, the existence of large financial, governmental, health, and educational institutions has made the proportion of working-age people exceed the national average.

One could extrapolate, then, that Toronto is particularly full of youngish people and especially youngish women (whether or not they’re interested in men), giving straight men the sense of having boundless options.

And when you’re not straight? Duncan, a 26-year-old student originally from Nova Scotia, says meeting someone in Toronto is easier than in a place like Halifax.

“Being in a bigger city’s better when you’re gay—though I do agree that out in the public sphere, Torontonians are really standoffish.”

3. We’re work-obsessed: Torontonians have a reputation for being career-focussed to a fault. Mary-Ann, 32, is a public servant originally from Quebec. Though she now lives in Montreal, she spent the last seven years in Toronto.

“I had a huge learning curve with Toronto dating,” she says. “I was used to a dating climate where things are more straightforward. In Montreal, for example, you’ll be in a liquor store or convenience store and there’s this constant flow of flirtatiousness—it’s just more part of the everyday. I didn’t get those little gems in Toronto.”

She wonders if it’s because Torontonains are simply more stressed out.

“People work their asses off in Toronto because it’s such an expensive city—the rent is so expensive.”

Shannon Tebb believes the sheer number of pedestrians that one passes each day makes it tough to connect with anyone. “The constant hustle and bustle tends to limit one from stopping and taking the time to notice an individual passing by. This notion of always being in a hurry, not taking the time to relax and enjoy sitting in the park, can really reduce your chances of finding love.”

Indeed, we may be tenser in Toronto than those in a smaller, more inexpensive city like Montreal. And, compared to a bustling yet engaging city like New York, we’re further burdened by our aforementioned, almost crippling sense of social reserve.

4. The 2 a.m. Syndrome: Some of the people I spoke with argued that, while getting hit on in a Toronto bar isn’t a total rarity, the way in which it often happens is a turn-off. Priya says Toronto’s bar scene suffers from “2 a.m. syndrome.”

“Last call hits, the level of drunkenness and energy changes, and people are seriously on the make. And then you are in danger of the gross come-on,” she says.

Perhaps we can’t win, then, and perhaps these generalizations are too vast to be relatable. And yet, I stand by the claim that, on balance, Toronto mores make it a particularly tough place to meet someone organically—outside of the internet, through mutual friends, or an old-fashioned blind set-up.

So before mourning the end of courtship entirely, perhaps we Torontonians should first contemplate why we failed to be a good pick-up city from the get-go.