By Linda Cako
“Our military must be focused on decisiveness and overwhelming … victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail,”
By Vanessa Ifepe
A pop star by the name of Melanie Martinez was accused of rape by her former friend Timothy Heller, a former member of the band Dresses. This accusation was said against her on Monday and quickly after, she sent a tweet out to her followers stating the accusations were a lie and Heller agreed to what had taken place. The next day, Heller told Newsweek that she thinks Melanie became aware of the pending accusation a month before which when Timothy sent out a tweet saying she was debating telling her story.Melanie tried to contact her numerous times probably for the purposes of keeping her quiet. Although a truly horrendous story, it brings up a conversation that isn’t had enough. It speaks the hidden truth, women can be abusers too.
With all the recent sexual assault allegations in Hollywood, we only see men being accused for this horrible crime but the reality is, an abuser has no gender. Anyone is able to be a perpetrator just like anyone can be a victim. Heller even explains in the Newsweek article that she didn’t come forward because the fact that Melanie wasn’t a man made her feel like her experience was invalidated. When reading all the abuse stories under the tag #metoo, she couldn’t determine whether her story was classified as abuse. This is the problem with our society. We assign gender to everything and when something does not go the way society views it, we see it as impossible. This should not be the case. Just like many other sexual assault victims, Heller loved Melanie even after it happened and felt that it was her duty to protect her by keeping the incident a secret.
“Girls can rape girls,” Heller wrote in her testimony on twitter, “best friends can rape best friends.” Melanie took advantage of her during her weakest point and tried to make up for it by helping further her career in little ways. She let Melanie abuse her because she loved her, because she felt she owed her and mainly, because she just wanted it to stop. This is the underlying tone of so many other victims stories and it’s sad to admit that, the people who you love can hurt you the most. It doesn’t matter who they are or what gender they identify as, they can hurt you. In the words of Heller, friendship does not equal consent. Family members do not obtain automatic consent either. It’s important to understand that anything that violates you or makes you feel uncomfortable in ANY way, is NOT okay.
Melanie had the audacity to contact Heller shortly after saying that she should go meet a healer. If the allegations are true, that’s such q cruel thing to say to someone whose pain you caused! How convenient to be concerned about the friend you cut off ties with after they accuse you of rape.
I am so happy that Timothy was inspired by the recent sexual assault accusations and came out with her own story. It angers me that people would abuse someone’s trust is such a way and then pretend as if the emotional toil that comes after is not their fault. It saddens me that this story may get neglected and skipped over just because the accused is a women. The world shouldn’t be like this. This shouldn’t be assigned to a gender, it just doesn’t make any sense to me why the world operates this way. I encourage everyone who reads this to follow up on this story, read Timothy’s testimony on twitter and remember that, women can be abusers too.
I know fans of hers may be reluctant to believe these allegations and I get it. Nobody wants to believe someone they look up to would do something so horrible but I encourage you to set aside your bias and focus on the important message behind this allegation.
Nabaum, Alex. “Abuse.” theispot Stock, https://www.theispot.com/stock/search?search_stock=Abuse&search_stock_match=all&stock_subject=&stock_type=. Accessed 19 Dec. 2017.
By Tatiana Bogdanov
26 people were killed on November 5th. Another 20 were injured. Texas experienced its worst mass shooting in modern history, in a church. Sutherland Springs, the community in which it took place, is shaken.
The pastor’s 14-year-old daughter is among the dead.
Devin Patrick Kelley is the perpetrator of this crime. At around 11:20 am, he was seen at a gas station across from the church. Shortly after, he crossed the road, and opened fire as he entered. The shooter soon fled the church, as another resident opened fire on him. He was later found dead in his car due to a gunshot wound.
This isn’t the first time we’ve seen something like this. Hell, it’s far from the first time we’ve seen something like this. Take a look at what happened in Las Vegas, where 58 people died and 546 were injured, the single deadliest mass shooting in American history. The Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, where 20 children died, remains burned into many people’s minds.
Under the most narrow definition of mass shooting used by the Congressional Research Service, America has seen 10 from January 1st to November 5th of this year, one a month. Under the broader definition that the Gun Violence Archive uses, America has seen 307 mass shootings at the same time, raising the average to seven a week.
So what’s wrong? Why is this happening, in one of the most developed countries in the world? Why are we seeing so many innocent people reduced to statistics?
I’d wager to say that gun control may be the issue here.
Apparently, not even a shooting where 58 people were killed can convince American lawmakers that something has to be done. Not even a shooting where kids lost their lives could convince American lawmakers that something has to change. Not even a shooting in a church, a sacred place for the 67.3% of Americans that practice Christianity/Catholicism, is enough for a, “huh, maybe laws do have to change”.
Of course, not every American is turning a blind eye to this. In fact, most aren’t. According to the Pew Research Centre, 52% of Americans believe that gun control laws should be more strict. There is broad support for preventing people with mental illnesses from purchasing guns, requiring background checks at gun shows, and creating a government database to track all gun sales. But, the Centre also finds that these people are less likely to contact government officials about gun law reform, than people that are in favour of less gun control.
So, in the end, nothing gets done.
After a mass shooting in America, the news is overtaken by the event. The conversation, however, has little focus on gun control laws. We receive coverage of what happened, some talk about gun control reform from liberal news sources, and lots of talk about how it’s the fault of mental illness from conservative news sources and the NRA, until something else happens, and the country just… moves on. Shrugs it’s shoulders, and looks away. The debate for stricter gun laws is never long enough to actually push for any change.
It’s almost as if people have become numb to the carnage because we see it so often.
And of course, conservative news sources aren’t necessarily wrong; America does need a better way of “dealing” with people with mental illnesses. They need to implement more support, more understanding; destigmatize it so people feel comfortable seeking out this support. Make psychiatric services more accessible for legitimately struggling people.
But I personally don’t think this is the root of the problem. The way America deals with mental illness also has to be discussed, but the number one way of preventing so many mass shootings?
Gun control laws.
We’ve seen it around the world. It’s not a particularly radical idea.
In 1996, Australia experienced its history’s worst mass shooting, and promptly tightened up gun control (which included buying and destroying over 600,000 firearms from its population), and it hasn’t had a mass shooting since. After a school shooting in the UK, the Firearms Act 1997 was passed and all gun crimes fell dramatically. Japan has banned all swords and firearms, with a 1958 law stating, “no one shall possess a firearm, or firearms, or a sword, or swords,” and in 2014, only had six reported gun deaths.
Even Canada, perhaps the most similar country to the US, deals with gun laws better. And, we can still be considered as “having a gun control problem.” We have the fourth highest rate of gun homicides when compared to the countries in the European Union. 331 shootings have taken place in Toronto this year alone. We just have to look at the shooting that occurred at the Islamic Cultural Centre of Quebec City on January 29th, to know that Canada has work to do too.
Comparing Canada to the US though? It makes Canada seem pretty damn strict. Canada implements background checks for anyone purchasing a firearm, in any situation, focusing on mental illness and addiction. The US only requires one when purchasing from a licensed dealers. Canadian residents wishing to purchase a firearm are required to take a safety course, which includes a written and practical exam, and have to retake it every five years. In the US, there is often no such requirement.
As Canadian citizens, as the neighbours of the good ol’ USA, we have to be concerned about this problem. What starts in the US can spread all around the world.
We’ve seen that with Donald Trump and his ideologies, with 92 lawmakers part of a far-right party being elected in Germany, with the January mosque shooting in Canada being perpetuated by a man who expressed support for Trump.
So for now, we should work on minimizing gun violence in Canada and the countries still dealing with this problem, and hope that the US follows suit. No country should have citizens dying for no reason at all.
“How many people will have to die before we will give up these dangerous toys?”
-Stephen King, Guns
Do you agree or disagree? Share your opinion here.
By Justin Shapiro
I – HIS WRATH
For years he walked the ides of the free, turned
to ashes by the men of yield, slayed
by killers without names, the spawns of Tempter.
Riddled theirs minds of disease and plague, dawn marked a day of their nightmare.
Leave now, he said, Anne our children we will meet, sacred
lands become dirt with fields of their blood.
The children lay dead in the streets of the village,
masked men watched over with arms.
They will toss carcass from windows, he said,
Zu Shenatir would lie proud.
Fourteen children, a fortnight of death, from the depths he rose again.
The Wolf of Bedburg feasts on flesh, staining the stones below the tavern.
Peter darling, where is our son? What has happened to our son?
The night grew old, he whispered so faint.
The boy has brains, only a fool would ignore.
The man followed a voice of a soulless being,
then centuries ahead they would go.
A woman hanged from the branches, swayed
in the wind far above, past the dirt roads in the centre of Rome.
Six hundred stiff, and Tofana to blame, what a woman to come of this crime.
Throw stones at her feet, they watched as she bled, suffered much worse
than poison she passed.
It was no colder than a sword, deep in her sheath,
death was unkind but certain in time.
Killed those hated, and the error was clear, hanged in the streets
in the centre of Rome. The man had seen the age, he
searched for the bridge, his greed was beyond this realm.
II – HIS GREED
Morning sparked like the gold on his dresser, filled
with riches not shared or earned.
Undeserved, now marked with a cross, the night was a crimson sky.
Crassus would have burned in the village for rent,
with a light turned the tides of war.
Parthia brought him riches, and his greed would arrive, he was struck with a feeling of haste.
Soon came his death and the end of all wealth, seized
from Valhalla, tasted the sweetness of bliss.
Buried far below, in the fourth circle of Hell.
Inferno once protected by his screech, foul cries,
Virgil, he spoke so wisely of his pain.
His words can be heard by mortals in hades.
Papé Satàn, papé Satàn aleppe.
He sang the words from the void, a cloud, the youth of the abyss rung loud.
Arose Sixtus IV, faceless to lords.
A lie, a toxin, the vermin of men.
Taxed brothels, a fraud of an untrue paradise, hiraeth cried from the souls.
Sent to the Centre he was condemned for the ultimate,
the worst of all sins defined.
Roads of stone and marble, stacked
in rows beyond the walls of castles, sieged
by armies of deformed. Bodies blackened, skin spotted and foul,
spread from town, they feasted with pests of waste.
Farewell, they said, burning the dead, darkness leaked from the orifice.
The only hell lives on Earth, where smoke burns of skin.
Children born with marks,
Red stars of flame, born
With only sorrow, and pain would follow their words.
The man had seen the age, he
searched for the bridge, his memoir was beyond this realm.
III – HIS MEMOIR
A cold night was alone, a ring in the sky, burned
holes of pain and their terror, marked
with flames in cosmos where the hounds would cry, blinded
the towns of horrors to come. Came for men with blades, sent
for the woman soon after, the town was watched by the gods. A bolt struck
his chest, the ground blackened with ash, his eyes shed light through the clouds.
Dare to defy my supremacy,
Dare to mock my creation, dominated
this world as I have, I have laid eyes on aversion much worse.
My bolt will cleanse the hatred, deep within your heart,
it will melt away your flesh and bone beside the cross of gore. All sin within, all blood and ache,
you are blessed with more than mercy.
The Titans, they clashed in the skies, the wars raged on above.
Never show them mercy, until this faithful day,
where the immortal disobeyed his nature.
Seas turned to blood, and oceans to bones, Virgil
will lead the soldiers of shade.
The man had seen the age, he
searched for the bridge, his love was beyond this realm.
IV – HIS LOVE
Her eyes spoke with pain, her lips cried of grief.
She was fair, and spoke songs of love.
Her breath shapes the tides, her face, a spell to
all men who lay eyes. Throwing swords for a glimpse at her locks of polished gold,
men fought wars for a place at her side.
I cry to you my love, he said,
your beauty is far beyond the tales,
far beyond the songs and paintings, farther
than the heavens above. Past Olympus,
the walls of your birth, my eyes see past your unparalleled beauty.
The nine muses are not worthy of the eyes bestowed,
upon your face, your body, an immortal façade.
You mock my descendants, the immortal divinity? She spoke so true.
No mockery in my word, only admiration for your cause,
he answered, only passion in his heart.
Come to me my son, and a son you are,
nothing more or less, one must live with desire.
Your love for me, another feather on my wings,
another man to aid in flight.
I will walk through the gates of hell for you, he said,
past the Hydra, its heads eternal like my love.
Your greatness, a place at your side, a greater blessing than life itself.
You speak with kind words, yet your actions deceive.
Travel to the depths, where dusk burns through dawn.
Speak to the man with the head of flames,
his eyes, obscure, bloodshot with agony.
My son, only hatred you will find,
your belongings worth no more than the dirt you walk.
Your swords, but a spike in his foot, leave them here with a watchful eye.
I am far from a servant, he cried, yet my love will endure.
I will confront the spirit,
for I am nothing but a shell, born
with an everlasting flame.
I am no less than this evil you speak.
The man had seen the age, he
searched for the bridge, his trial was beyond this realm.
V – HIS TRIAL
Merriment over screams of terror,
flesh melts from their skin, blackened and grey.
Condemned for the defiance, rooted deep within their bones, temptations
ignored by none.
Ghostly lights swarm the skies of dead marked stars, red
figures of hate gloom beneath scorched earth.
The cries of innocence, insane sense of sanity, those
who accept their fate, bleed in warmth.
A ship of flames floats beyond seas of ash,
into rivers of infection and waste.
He stepped towards the gate of blood and stone.
You come so soon, whispered ever so faint.
Does pain stimulate your essence, my friend?
For I am the essence of pain, for that there is wealth, I am certain of it and all.
Open the gates for a man of courage, let me gaze upon his face.
Only a man, no sword or dagger, do you mock an immortal being?
Mockery is not a craft I partake; I am here for a message of truth, he said.
The figure sat in a throne of limbs.
A divine one spoke of your presence, she told
stories of your pain, your power and will.
My will and power?
Defined in a class so black and white, do
you mistake me for a mortal man?
The figure stepped from his throne.
There is hatred in your mind,
you must enter what is left of mine.
Your pain, but a fraction, the ice above water.
The truth is what you seek, so be it.
Kneel before me, only then, it be told.
I will not kneel, not now, not ever for a spirit of hate, he said.
Never for a spirit of suffrage, a troubled
soul of immortality, beset by its existence.
He stepped away, towards the gate.
I have seen the truth, what it is that you fear.
A soul filled with pain, freed by death,
yet you are immortal and sealed for all.
Trapped in your nightmare, an eternity of pain, cursed with the absence of death.
Eyes red with fury,
the spirit, struck with anger, it vanished into the flames.
The man had seen the age, he
searched for the bridge, his fate was beyond this realm.
VI – HIS FATE
Pain of no truth,
hate with no cause.
The answer was clear,
his glass once shattered.
A dagger to the heart, the blow of death,
a dark entity, with the unfortunate gift.
Death, in that he is blessed.
His hatred, immortal, body a vessel of age.
Only death cures the broken, destroyed,
what burns inside, every breath that enters,
every word that exists, regret any and all of his days.
He has met the divine, seen the night far below,
those who are cursed in their diamond skin, the immortal.
All living dead.
It is the dead who live,
barbed arrows stick from their heart, unable to bleed.
It is his wrath that acts,
greed who speaks,
love that guides.
It remains in death, and in that he was certain,
then brushed his heart with a silver blade.
A Raymond Carver Style Short Story
By Esther Eisen
The alarm rings. I sit up and look at my messy apartment. I get up and take a
quick shower before putting on my uniform. It still smells from yesterday. I finish up
getting ready and walk to the bus stop.
The bus comes and it’s the same bus driver as usual. We nod at each other
and then I go and sit down. I overhear two teenagers.
“Oh my god, I hate school,” she says.
“It’s the worst. I’m so stressed. I just want to go home,” he says.
“I can’t wait to graduate and move on. I hate the whole high school
atmosphere. Just looking at the building gives me chills,” she says.
“Same. It’s so gross. Just yesterday I felt gum under my desk. Isn’t it
someone’s job to make sure it isn’t there?” He says.
I feel my face flush. I clench my fists. I take deep breaths and move to the
Other ends of the bus.
As I walk to the back door of the school, I see my co-worker, Andrew. We
started working here the same year.
“Hey,” he says.
“Hey,” I say.
“How’s it going?” he says.
“It’s alright,” I say.
“Same,” he says.
I walk to the basement and into the room. As I walk through the halls, I hear
conversations among the students.
“I want the new iPhone because I’ve had mine for a year and sometimes it
freezes”, she says.
I look down at my flip phone as I hear a boy say, “Yeah, I’m getting a car for
my grad present. But it better not is some junk car or else I’m going to be mad.”
Once I’m in the room, I grab my equipment and walk up to the top floor girls’
“Anyone in here?” I say.
“Yes,” a girl says.
I wait 3 minutes. The girl walks out. She looks me up and down and then
walks away. I walk in and mop the floors. I could do this in my sleep.
My pager buzzes. It’s the boss.
“Kid threw up in room 142. Take care of it, would ya?” He says.
“Yes Sir,” I say.
The day goes on and eventually, my day is finished. I don’t have money for the
bus ride home so I walk.
“Got any food?” a homeless man says.
“Sorry, man,” I say.
I climb the stairs past the urine to my apartment.
6:30 AM. I wake up and repeat my day. I do the same job, see the same
people, wear the same clothes. But today feels different. There’s a new kid on the
“Welcome to the job,” I say.
“Thanks. I have some first-day nerves but it should be fine. How long you
been doin’ this? ” he says.
“Twenty years,” I say.
“Do you like it here?” he says.
“It pays the bills”, I say. “I’ll give you the tour and show you how things work
for the first few days,” I say.
This means I have double the work to do but my boss told me to and I can’t
say no. Today isn’t all bad though; it’s payday.
I go to the convenient store to get my lottery tickets.
“Payday, huh?” the clerk says.
“Yep,” I say.
“you’re usual?” she says.
“Yep,” I say. I pull out the $500 I cashed at the bank.
The clerk hands me my stack of tickets. “Good luck,” she says.
“See you in two weeks,” I say.
“See ya,” she says.
The next day I get up and go to work. I wash the floors, I clean the toilet
bowls, I refill the soap. After work, I go to a pub so I can watch the TV. I put aside a
few bucks for a beer and rent. I stay for a while and watch the soccer game. I talk to
a few women and almost bring one home. I stay late to hear the winning numbers.
The next day I wake up and go to work. Andrew sees me.
“Hey,” he says.
“Hey,” I say.
“What’s new?” He says.
“Not much,” I say.
Watch this video by Daer Ding and Spencer Spiegelman:
By Gabe Nisker
I get to school. It’s loud. Music blares. It hurt my eyes. So much pink. It might hurt for you to read this. So many short sentences.
Anyways, Day of Pink was today. That’s April 12th, for those of you reading this on a day that isn’t April 12th. We celebrate LGBT+ and take a stand against bullies and maybe against injustice on the whole.
And now that I have you, I’m going to run you through my 3 big messages from today.
1. Power in numbers
There’s a really nice tree out in front of our school and by that, I mean on one of the walls in the foyer. And on that wall are a boatload of messages written by people like us. You know that old saying “two heads are better than one” — well, that’s definitely true. Approximately 1000 handwritten messages on hand cutouts are definitely better than 999. And that’s better than 998 and so on and so forth all the way to one. When we link up to put an end to bullying, we can actually make a change but you better believe it. You can’t not believe it and hope something will happen. I just used a double negative.
2. Words matter
They slice, they cut, they stab and they hurt. Be impeccable with your word. If you’re trying to say you don’t like something, don’t say “that’s so gay”. That’s not what the word means. Another example: if you’re making a presentation, be concise. A third example is if you’re writing an article, don’t write too many words. In that case, let me move on.
3. Pretty in pink
Be proud, Forest Hill because I don’t say this lightly — words do matter, you know. Anyways, collectively, we might be the best looking group of pink-wearers I’ve ever seen. That’s all.
Artwork by Arielle Souza
By: Janet Chukwu
Last year, Forest Hill Collegiate had the privilege of working with the Toronto Police to create an amazing Day of Pink event. The school showed exceptional school spirit, with the entire school dressing in pink for the special day.
Image from TPSNews.ca
Day of Pink started when a student in Nova Scotia wore pink to school and was teased for his choice of clothing. The following day, students showed their support for the student by wearing pink. The original intention was to support the student and to show support for others who identify themselves with the LGBTQ community, like the student did. Over time, the pink shirt tradition has become a symbol of support for not only those in the LGBTQ community, but for others who are constantly bullied.
Bullying is an unfortunate part of high school life. Students feast on the idea of belittling others for selfish and petty reasons, believing their bullying will put them above the person they are tormenting. Quite the opposite is true. The victims may sometimes feel helpless, if the tormenting is continuous, and eventually may feel as though they deserve to be punished. Though this piece of advice has been instilled in the minds of everyone beginning from elementary school, it is important to know that if you or someone you know is being bullied, the best way to find help is to inform an adult with whom you trust. Students shy away from this option, most often assuming that telling an adult would make the person a “snitch” and seen as a weak individual who could not solve the problem on their own. This is an unfortunate misconception among teenagers, and the stigma around telling an adult needs to fade. Studies have found that there is a strong connection between suicide and bullying, especially when the bullied are isolated and do not seek help from adults.
An adult you trust would work with you — not against you — to help fix the problem of bullying
If you know someone who is being bullied, comfort them, and let them know that you are always willing to listen to them. Do not promise to take it upon yourself and defend your friend by in turn bullying the bully.
A good friend would tell an adult about the situation who will help make it better. Bystanders also have an effect on bullying. The actions of a bystander who watches the situation from afar and believes he/she is making a good choice by not getting involved, can be considered just as hurtful as the bully. The best choice, as usual, is to tell an adult. If you wish to not have any part of the situation, let the adult know that you wish to remain anonymous, and only wanted to inform the adult of the situation.
Bullying takes on many forms. In this technological age, students find themselves in the middle of social media feuds, thinking they will gain popularity status for engaging in petty online fights. The sly but hurtful remarks teenagers make online to impress friends/followers is considered bullying. Taking pictures of another individual without their consent to purposely embarrass that person is also bullying. In some cases, cyber bullying is a criminal offence.
How do you avoid this? Before you post something, think about how the other person would feel about it. Consider how it would make you feel, if the situation were the other way around. Before posting something mean thinking it would make everyone laugh, consider the consequences that could follow, should the person choose to report the incident. This Day of Pink, wear a pink article of clothing not only because the school is encouraging you to, but to show your support for victims of bullying.