June 16th, 2024

Theo Fleury’s Victor Walk making a stop in Medicine Hat

By Jeremy Appel on July 19, 2018.

NEWS FILE PHOTO
Former NHL star Theo Fleury signs a copy of his book "Conversations With a Rattlesnake" at Medicine Hat College in 2016. Fleury's annual Victor Walk is stopping Medicine Hat on Friday, July 20, 2018.

jappel@medicinehatnews.com @MHNJeremyAppel

Former Calgary Flames superstar Theo Fleury is stopping in the Hat tomorrow with the Victor Walk, which seeks to raise awareness of child sexual abuse.

Fleury is himself a survivor of sexual abuse, which he documented in his 2009 memoir “Playing with Fire.”

He’s dedicated himself since 2013 toward de-stigmatizing child sexual abuse through the Breaking Free Foundation.

“It’s one of the biggest epidemics on the planet that nobody wants to talk about,” Fleury told the News.

He says this stigma is a result of people being uncomfortable discussing anything of a sexual nature.

Fleury said, for him, coming out as a survivor was a life-or-death decision.

“I was going to die if I didn’t,” he said.

Fleury attempted suicide about 14 years ago, after which he realized he had to share his story.

Many survivors turn to drugs and alcohol to fill a void, as Fleury himself did.

“Trauma leaves us in emotional pain and suffering, and addiction is the coping mechanism to deal with the emotional pain that is left behind from the traumatic experience,” he said.

Fleury is very critical of how the media often portrays sexual abuse survivors as “victims.”

He says the terminology is very important.

“Being called a ‘victim’ keeps the shame and abuse in place, which then makes it harder for the person to come forward,” Fleury said, adding he’s often referred to that way in the press, which he feels places him and other survivors into a box.

“If I was still a victim, I’d still be addicted to drugs and alcohol. I’d still be angry … I’m not that person anymore.”

The five-day Victor Walk stops in Fort McMurray, Lac La Biche, Cold Lake, Drumheller, Medicine Hat and Calgary.

Hatters looking to show their support should be at Veterans Memorial Park between 4 and 6 p.m.

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Les Landry
Les Landry
5 years ago