A player and his coach say the shaming of a sexual assault survivor is what sparked an intense brawl between the two Nova Scotia university men's hockey teams during a game in Wolfville, N.S. on Saturday, but the other team disputes this.
Sam Studnicka, a player with St. Francis Xavier University X-Men, and his coach, Brad Peddle, on Monday released statements about the fight with Axemen players from Acadia University.
Studnicka said the comment was made to him by a member of the Axemen, during the third period of the game. He said he told Peddle, who addressed it with the on-ice officials and the head coach of Acadia.
Studnicka said he was "completely shocked" when minutes later the opposing player was sent to take a faceoff with him.
The brawl started soon after.
Studnicka did not identify the opposing player, the sexual assault survivor, or specify what was said.
I am proud of the way my teammates stood up for me and for something bigger than hockey.– Sam Studnicka
He said in his three years playing hockey, he's faced similar "insulting and derogatory comments on the ice."
"It has taken an emotional toll on me."
He said players from the Axemen team have "elicited repeated on-ice comments directed towards me" and that it "has been frustrating."
A few videos of the fight were uploaded to YouTube.
WARNING: This video contains offensive language.
The videos show players from both teams grabbing at one another, throwing punches and hurling insults.
One video shows a player from Acadia's team hitting people with his hockey stick from the bench. It also shows Peddle standing at the divider between the benches and yelling at the Acadia bench.
Studnicka said he was happy his teammates didn't let the incident slide.
"I am proud of the way my teammates stood up for me and for something bigger than hockey. This event shows that more education is still needed on this issue," Studnicka said.
"It is a serious societal issue and we need more awareness and education on all levels so young men are aware of the implications of their words and actions."
Peddle said after 14 years of coaching at the university level, he doesn't approve of fighting in the league, but he defended his players for standing up for their teammate.
"That is more important than winning a hockey game. It is a testament to the character and integrity of the student-athletes in our locker room," Peddle said.
Peddle went on to say he believed the incident was "very avoidable" based on "repeated discussions about the situation."
"Supporting Sam has always been the top priority," Peddle said. "In this specific instance, our team took a stand to protect him from repeated, unnecessary insults that have no place in sport or the greater society."
'Not consistent' with allegation
Acadia University's executive director of varsity athletics says the school started its own investigation on Sunday and was in contact with Atlantic University Sport (AUS) on Monday.
"The information we have gathered is not consistent with the allegations," made by St. Francis Xavier, Kevin Dickie told CBC News on Monday.
Dickie said Acadia is participating in the AUS investigation, but considers both the behaviour unacceptable "on numerous levels."
AUS executive director Phil Currie told CBC News he thought it was important for Studnicka "to come forward and say his piece publicly."
"I applaud him for having the courage to do so, but that doesn't change the investigation we're pursuing in reference to the incident and our commissioner will still do his work and look at all the issues related to the incident," Currie said.
Currie said the investigation will involve interviewing all the players and "natural justice properties and philosophies."
"It's important we hear both sides of each of these issues and then, from there, determine if we need more information experts or more information from other players, whatever the case may be," he said.
Gigi Hadid is getting candid.
The 23-year-old model recently opened up about her weight loss at Vogue’s Forces of Fashion Conference, admitting that while she “wants an a**,” she’s still hurt by fans’ criticism of her body.
“I loved my body when I was curvier,” Hadid told Vogue Runway Director Nicole Phelps during the panel with Kendall Jenner, Ashley Graham and Paloma Elsesser. “Then as I lost [the weight], people were still mean.”
“Yeah, I know I’m skinny. I’m looking in the mirror. I’m trying to eat burgers and do squats,” she continued. “I want an a** too. I get it. I got it. Thank you!”
“Most of it is just nonsense. But it can still hurt,” she said. “Nowadays, people are quick to say, ‘I used to love Gigi’s body, and now she just gave in.’ But I’m not skinny because I gave in to the industry. When I had a more athletic figure, I was proud of my body because I was an amazing volleyball player and horseback rider. But after discovering that I have Hashimoto’s, I needed to eat healthy and work out. It was weird as a teenager, dealing with this when all of my friends could eat McDonald’s and it wouldn’t affect them.”
“If I could choose, I would have my a** back and I would have the tits I had a few years ago,” she added. “But, honestly, we can’t look back with regret. I loved my body then, and I love my body now. Whoever is reading this, I want you to realize that three years from now you will look back at a picture from this time period and be like, ‘Wow, I was so hot. Why did I feel so bad about myself because of some stupid thing someone said?'”
During her Vogue panel, Hadid also shared her thoughts on how the #MeToo movement had affected the modeling industry and shared her thoughts on posing nude for photo shoots.
“Some people are empowered and excited to be naked and that is amazing. And I wish I was one of those people and I am not one of those people. And I’ve accepted that about myself and that is okay,” Hadid said.
“There are times where I feel like I am excited about a photographer or a creative situation where I will do this or will do that. But there’s also times where I can be — even though I am so excited for everyone and feel so happy with their empowerment being naked themselves — it’s OK that I feel differently.”
See more on Hadid in the video below.
Tanya Scriven is still driven to tears more than a decade later, talking about her pregnancy and the health care experience she had as a large woman.
"As I got later into my pregnancy, the scales they had at the clinic wouldn't weigh me," recalled Scriven, a 46-year-old woman who lives on a farm near Swift Current, Sask. She had to visit the local hospital to be weighed with a wider scale.
"To have to go do that, and then go to my doctor's appointment was very, very hurtful. Why shouldn't I have a scale at my doctors' office that can accommodate me?" she said through tears.
"Right until now, I didn't understand how much it did hurt."
The health risks of obesity are well-documented, but people are opening up about the negative impact of medical professionals seeing them only through the lens of their weight or body mass index. Earlier this year, a Canadian woman used her obituary to plead with medical professionals to stop 'fat shaming' people.
Scriven is six feet tall and weighs more than 350 lbs., but said she is otherwise in good health and doesn't have weight-related complications like high blood pressure or diabetes.
It's a bad enough experience going to the hospital, let alone being treated poorly.– Tanya Scriven
Yet she said when visiting the hospital, she can be greeted with surprise or shock that she's not on medication, and further probing about why she isn't. She called it discrimination, to be judged on the basis of her appearance.
"Who wants to go to the hospital? It's a bad enough experience going to the hospital, let alone being treated poorly," she said.
"To me it's totally uncalled for. I don't care what size, colour or shape you are, you're still a human being."
One doctor's approach to care
Dr. Barb Konstantynowicz, a family physician in Regina, has given a lot of thought to how to broach the subject of weight, if needed, while still being sensitive with her patients.
"How do we come to health care, to talk to people where they are at?" Konstantynowicz said.
Armed with some suggestions from the Canadian Obesity Network, she and her colleague began by trying to make their clinic more welcoming, offering chairs without armrests and equipment like extra large blood pressure cuffs or a scale that can accommodate heavier patients, with a wall offering them privacy as they are weighed.
"People have to have that privacy and respect," she said, adding that the "strength of relationships," and building trust is critical.
She said doctors can start conversations about weight with permission, by asking if it would be OK to talk about the issue or if the patient wanted to discuss their weight.
"I want patients to know I'm there for them," she said.
Limited health programs for weight-loss
Dr. Gordie Kaban, director of Regina bariatric surgery, noted the prevalence of obesity in Canada is high, with Saskatchewan leading the country in obesity rates.
"Frankly it's one of the most pressing health care problems we have in developed countries," he said, pointing out being overweight can increase the risk of everything from diabetes to cancer and gallstones.
One problem he and Konstantynowicz both pointed out is a lack of co-ordinated programs, with professionals like doctors, exercise therapists, nurses, psychologists and dietitians working together to help people lose weight. Instead, some people end up turning to ineffective or even dangerous fads or diets to make changes.
"If you're going to dedicate limited resources to tackling a problem as prevalent as obesity, you really want to make sure that's an effective method to help people lose weight," said Kaban.
Konstantynowicz agreed, saying that family physicians should do the best they can with the resources they have available. That starts with talking to patients and understanding that everything from mental health, to food security, to side effects from other medication can contribute to weight gain, she said.
"They're not quick conversations."
A doctor at a conference gave Konstantynowicz a new perspective, asking how many people could carry 300 lbs. up a flight of stairs — he pointed out that some obese people do that every day.
It's important for people to recognize this and to realize that body mass index is an imperfect indicator of health, Konstantynowicz said.
"People of all sizes can be incredibly healthy," she said. "We have to re-frame how we see people, to be there and support them."
It might be called the “shame game” — a parent embarrassing a child on social media as a way of disciplining them for bad behaviour with the hope they will learn their lesson and mend their ways.
But parenting experts say such public humiliation isn’t an effective means of discipline for altering behaviour and can have long-lasting effects on a child’s self-esteem.
The comments were in response to a recent incident in which a Windsor, Ont.-area mother had her two young sons walk seven kilometres to school, carrying a hand-lettered cardboard sign saying they had been “rude to our bus driver.” Her Facebook posting that included a photo of the boys on their two-hour trek quickly went viral and garnered international media attention.
The mother, who is not being named by The Canadian Press to protect the identities of the two boys, said she took the action after receiving a call from her sons’ school about them acting out on the school bus, and that if their behaviour didn’t improve, they would not be allowed back on.
In media reports, the woman said she decided to make the kids walk, by her side, to help them understand that riding on the bus is a privilege, not a right — and she never imagined the tactic would generate such attention.
It’s not the steps she took to show her sons they should appreciate a bus ride that caused controversy, but the fact that she posted the incident online.
Still, she’s hardly alone in her decision to wield social media as a virtual strap. There are reportedly more than 30,000 YouTube videos in which parents use public shaming in a bid to make their kids shape up.
For parenting expert Alyson Schafer, such child-shaming deeds are a form of bullying that needs to stop.
The Toronto family counsellor said such disciplinary actions reflect misguided thinking on the part of the parents, who believe that if a child is made to feel guilty, they won’t repeat their misdeed.
“Unfortunately, that’s not the way discipline works,” she said. “When we use punitive [measures] — and in this case, extremely punitive because this is public shaming and humiliation — it’s not only shredding the relationship between the parent and child, but it’s also damaging the child’s self-esteem and is very hurtful to the soul.”
Charles Helwig, a professor of developmental psychology at the University of Toronto, said research has shown that using “psychological control” as a means of trying to improve behaviour is associated with an increased incidence of depression and anxiety in children.
‘It adds to the potential embarrassment’
“I hate to blame the parent directly,” he said. “Parents can do things that they think are in the best interest of the child … And obviously the parent was concerned about the behaviour and thought this would be a good way to control it.”
But “when you put it on social media, it’s essentially permanent, so it’s something that can come back to haunt the children throughout their lives. Publicizing it in this way is something that can’t be taken back.
“So it adds to the potential embarrassment and harm.”
Children as young as five start caring about their reputations, according to a research review published in March in Trends in Cognitive Sciences journal. In the article, researchers note kids will change their behaviour based on how they believe it will affect their image.
Schafer said that if a child feels guilty about something they’ve been admonished about, they don’t differentiate between the behaviour and themselves as a person.
As a result, children tend to feel they are unlovable, and that can become integrated into their self-concept, said the author of the book Honey, I Wrecked the Kids.
“They look to their parents to know their lovability and their worth. And when they’re shamed, it says ‘I am bad.”‘
In family counselling, said Schafer, the goal is to try to separate “the deed from the doer.” Parents are encouraged to say, for instance, “I love you, but I don’t love your hitting” or “I love you, but I don’t like how you’re treating the bus driver.”
Motivating factors for behaviour
A more constructive way of dealing with a child’s transgressions is for parents to have a discussion about the motivating factors, she said: “What was the child attempting in being rude? Was he trying to impress his friends? Does he need to prove to the world that he needs to be superior to other people?
“So we have to find out what the psychological underpinnings are of the child’s motivations and help him understand … and give him the skill sets to find his sense of importance and belonging through constructive means.”
Helwig agreed, saying that educating mom and dad about alternative ways of parenting is healthier for the child and also more effective in the long term.
Children, he said, respond more positively to “autonomy supportive practices,” in which parents or caregivers explain the reasons why a certain behaviour was inappropriate and then have the child take the perspective of the person on the receiving end, asking: “How would you feel if this were done to you?”
“If the behaviour continues or is indicative of some broad pattern that isn’t being brought under control, then the parent should seek professional assistance. It might be a reflection of something else going on.”