Kids are not only victimized by the perpetrators but also by the institutions that are filled with adults who do not stand up for the victims [and report the abuse.] -Mr. Sheldon Kennedy , Former NHL player and Co-Founder, Respect Group Inc., Alberta, Canada, testifying before the United States Senate Education subcommittee on children and families on December 13, 2011...his full remarks are powerful and they are documented here.From Kennedy's website:
Sheldon Kennedy skated for three teams in his eight-year NHL career (Detroit Red Wings, Calgary Flames and Boston Bruins) and played for Canada’s gold-medal winning team in the 1988 World Junior Hockey Championship. He was also Captain of the Memorial Cup winning Swift Current Broncos in 1989.
He is best known for his courageous decision to charge his Major Junior Hockey league coach with sexual assault for the abuse he suffered over a five year period while a teenager under his care. Sheldon’s subsequent decision to go public with the charges brought these issues to the social forefront. Sheldon has become an unofficial spokesperson for millions of abuse survivors around the world.
His life story was made into an award winning television movie and he has appeared on Oprah, ABC’s Nightline, nominated as Peter Jennings’ Man of the Week, W-5 and The Fifth Estate. After retiring from the NHL, Sheldon in-line skated across Canada to raise awareness of abuse issues. In 2006, Sheldon wrote “Why I Didn’t Say Anything” a riveting account of the many psychological impacts of abuse. Sheldon’s personal experience and continued work “in the trenches” has lead to his passion to make change.
Having transformed a negative situation into proactive programming he continues to carry his message through Respect Group Inc., the company he co-founded. Respect Group Inc. provides empowering on-line education for the prevention of abuse, bullying and harassment.In Kennedy's testimony today:
Empower the bystanders and you’ll be taking an important first step in breaking the silence on child abuse.
One of the expert witnesses on the panel today that testified before the Senate subcommittee was Dr. Robert W. Block, president of the American Academy of Pediatrics and expert in the sub-specialty of child abuse pediatrics. He relayed a story of being asked by people, "Why do you do what you do?" His reply:
"How could you not."In his testimony Dr. Block makes an important point about reporting child abuse:
Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. ~ Proverbs 31:8What many fail to realize is that a report is NOT an accusation; but rather is a request for further investigation.