Mar 6, 2011 12:38 AM by John Romero

Former hockey player shares story of sexual abuse

Canadian born hockey player Sheldon Kennedy seemed to have it all. He was living his dream of playing pro hockey NHL. He had fame and money. But he was hiding a dark secret that tormented him for years.

Graham James, Kennedy's childhood hockey coach and one of Canada's most beloved citizens had sexually abused him for years. Kennedy reached a breaking point in 1997. "I couldn't handle it." he explains, "I was playing with the Calgary Flames at the time and he was coaching the junior team out of the same arena in Calgary. I saw him with these young players and I just couldn't handle the fact that he was able to do this." Kennedy finally came forward with the years of abuse in '97 sending a shock wave through the sports world.

Since then Kennedy has been working as an advocate for sexual abuse awareness speaking to crowds such as one Saturday night for Safe Passage, a child victim's advocate group in Colorado Springs. Kennedy says he needed to use his popularity to help give others a voice. "You've got dealt a hand of cards and either you're going to fold the hand up or you can play them the best you can. I think that I was in a position where I could make a change." he says.

For those like Kennedy who have been victimized, he says now is the time to take back your life. "For a long time we stay in a victim role. I think the most important piece is to get our power back and move on and start living." he says "Until we do that, that person has power in our life until we get it back."

CLICK HERE for more on Safe Passage



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