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Respect Group Congratulates Our Co-Founder, Sheldon Kennedy, on his performance in this Season’s Battle of the Blades

Respect Group Congratulates Our Co-Founder, Sheldon Kennedy, on his performance in this Season’s Battle of the Blades

November 1st, 2019 General News, Press Releases

 

15 years ago, ex-NHLer and internationally acclaimed child advocate, Sheldon Kennedy founded Respect Group. Since that time, he has been a source of courage, passion and inspiration for everyone on our team and thousands more across Canada in his relentless pursuit to prevent bullying, abuse, harassment and discrimination.

 

For the past several weeks, Sheldon exchanged his hockey skates for figure skates, mastered the toe pick and competed in CBC’s Battle of the Blades with his skating partner, Kaitlyn Weaver, three-time World Ice Dance medalist.

Through their dance, they told us the story of pain, resilience, healing, hope and laughter. Together, they dazzled the viewers, impressed the judges and put their heart and soul into their performances in order to raise $100,000 for Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities; a charity dedicated to giving families in financial need and their children a chance to participate in organized sports.

Sheldon and Kaitlyn, thank you for reminding us that pushing beyond our comfort zones can bring about the change we wish to see!

Sheldon Kennedy, Kaitlyn Weaver triumph on CBC’s Battle of the Blades

November 1st, 2019 General News, Press Releases

Pair’s win raises $100K for charity that helps kids get involved in sports, physical activities

Ice dancer Kaitlyn Weaver and retired NHLer Sheldon Kennedy have triumphed as the winning pair of CBC-TV’s Battle of the Blades.

Weaver and Kennedy were revealed as the winners of the revived competition series on Thursday’s season 5 finale, which aired live from Ryerson University’s Mattamy Athletic Centre — historic site of the former Maple Leaf Gardens — in Toronto.

With their win, the duo has raised a total of $100,000 for their chosen charity: Canadian Tire Jumpstart, a national group that provides financial assistance to kids in need so they can access sports and physical activities.

“This is a surreal experience, I had no idea what to expect going in. I came here with an open heart and an open mind, and I leave so blessed to share this experience with Sheldon — all for an incredible cause,” Weaver said in a news release. “I feel changed, I feel like a better version of myself because of him, and I’m so grateful.”

The pair beat out Weaver’s longtime ice-dance partner Andrew Poje, who was teamed up with Team Canada women’s hockey star Natalie Spooner. Placing second, Poje and Spooner raised $17,500 for each of their chosen charities —Right to Play and Fast and Female, respectively.

“This was a journey; I remember the first day, Kaitlyn and I had a conversation about how we needed to show people hope, we needed to inspire people. If you’re in a dark place, you can come out of that, and that’s what I’m so grateful for,” Kennedy said in a news release.

“For a long time I never thought I could smile or do anything like this. We had to show people, and give them hope.”

Rounding out the finalists were Ekaterina Gordeeva and Bruno Gervais, who raised $15,000 each for the Heart and Stroke Foundation and the Gervais-Talbot Foundation, respectively.

Ahead of the series, Weaver and Kennedy had described their simple approach for the competition.

“Our strategy is as it is in life in general: take this one day at a time,” said Kennedy, who in his NHL career played for the Detroit Red Wings, the Boston Bruins and the Calgary Flames.

“Whether we’re figure skating or going to speak to a group of kids or going for a walk with our family, what are we going to do today to be the best we can?”

Kennedy is a spokesperson for victims of child abuse, after speaking out about his junior hockey coach, who was convicted of molesting Kennedy and other young players during the 1990s. Kennedy joined Battle of the Blades after a recent decision to take a step back from advocacy work to focus on his own well-being.

Accepting the challenge to become a Battle of the Blades competitor came “at a point in my life where I needed to have some fun,” he said.

“People [who] have been abused, sometimes they never believe that there’s a way that they can feel better, that they can smile again or that they can do things that they may dream of.

“The reality is, we can have fun. There is a way out and this is about hope.”

 

For one of Weaver and Kennedy’s two performances on the penultimate episode, they skated to Elton John’s I’m Still Standing, which he called a personal anthem. The duo earned a standing ovation from the live audience.

“It kind of sums up not only Battle of the Blades but my own journey,” Kennedy said. “I’m still standing. A real survivor.”

The series, which showcases figure skating pros and hockey stars competing in pairs, returned to the CBC-TV lineup this fall — a decade after the show first debuted on the public broadcaster. It was put on hiatus in 2014 amid budget cuts.

Cbc battle of the blades Sheldon Kennedy Kaitlyn Weaver

CBC Battle of the Blades: Meet the Skaters

September 9th, 2019 General News

Meet the hockey players and figure skaters paired up for a new season on Battle of the Blades



New season, new pairings! Starting September 19 on CBC, seven pairs of skaters, each consisting of one hockey player and one figure skater, will pair up to perform on Battle of the Blades in the hopes of winning the Season 5 championship, and a $100,000 donation to the charities of their choice.

 

Here are the teams:

(CBC)

Amanda Kessel and Eric Radford

(CBC)

Brian McGrattan and Vanessa James

(CBC)

Bruno Gervais and Ekaterina Gordeeva

(CBC)

Colton Orr and Amanda Evora

(CBC)

Natalie Spooner and Andrew Poje

(CBC)

Sheldon Kennedy and Kaitlyn Weaver

(CBC)

Violetta Afanasieva

(CBC)

P.J. Stock will be joining Violetta after Colby (below) was injured

(CBC)

Colby Armstrong will not be competing due to injury.

From the comments: ‘A very sad and sickening story.’ Readers respond to B.C. teen’s suspected overdose, filmed by his peers

August 21st, 2019 General News

Source: The Globe and Mail: SAMANTHA MCCABE

 

Readers are responding to Nancy MacDonald’s reporting on the tragic story of teen Carson Crimeni’s death, which has left his family devastated and his community in B.C.’s Lower Mainland dismayed.

The 14-year-old was constantly bullied in school, his peers say, often about the fact that he suffered from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and had few friends. On the evening of Aug. 7, some older teenagers invited him to the local skate park, where they took drugs that friends say Carson likely had never taken before. In the hours that followed videos were posted to social media that showed him profusely sweating, breathing irregularly and losing his ability to speak, all as the young men laughed and catcalled him.

According to police, potential charges are a long way off, as they are still working through the evidence and examining each of the 114 tips that have come in.

 

Readers are responding to Nancy MacDonald’s reporting on the tragic story of teen Carson Crimeni’s death, which has left his family devastated and his community in B.C.’s Lower Mainland dismayed.

The 14-year-old was constantly bullied in school, his peers say, often about the fact that he suffered from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and had few friends. On the evening of Aug. 7, some older teenagers invited him to the local skate park, where they took drugs that friends say Carson likely had never taken before. In the hours that followed videos were posted to social media that showed him profusely sweating, breathing irregularly and losing his ability to speak, all as the young men laughed and catcalled him.

According to police, potential charges are a long way off, as they are still working through the evidence and examining each of the 114 tips that have come in.

 

I’d like to hear if the RCMP have any leads or if they expect to press charges. This story is a couple weeks old now. Considering it was on social media you’d think they would’ve charged someone by now.

EFredstrom

I can’t even imagine what the young bystanders and their families are going through: hiding? conjuring alibis? Please step forward, out of respect for yourselves and Carson’s family. If you humbly admit your wrongs, the punishment will be less harsh and you will feel less guilt and shame. As what Tom D said, reach out for forgiveness. If you do not right your wrongs, you will be haunted by [it] for the rest of your lives.

El Guapo 66

A very sad and sickening story. Lots of kids are becoming detached from reality and view themselves as merely spectators through a screen.

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Ottawa-area priest found guilty of sexually abusing boys in 1960s and '70s

Ottawa-area priest found guilty of sexually abusing boys in 1960s and ’70s

July 8th, 2019 General News

Source:

An Ottawa-area priest preyed on vulnerable teens, luring them with sports and alcohol as he gratified his sexual desires, an Ontario court said last week in finding him guilty of sexual assault-related charges linked to incidents in the 1960s and ’70s.

In 2017, William McGrory was charged with indecent assault and gross indecency — outdated offences that no longer exist in the Criminal Code — in connection with three complainants, but court documents say one of them died, prompting two counts of the offences to be dropped.

McGrory pleaded not guilty and his lawyers argued that his accusers, identified only as J.B. and R.G., were not credible because there were inconsistencies in their accounts.

During a seven-day trial before a judge alone that began in April, court heard the boys, now in their 60s, had difficult family situations and grew close to McGrory, who was involved in church youth groups. The priest would play football and hockey with them, then drink alcohol with them afterward, court heard.

He would also invite boys to visit him at his rectory in Richmond, Ont., to do chores or watch sports, court heard. It was there that McGrory sexually abused them, though one of the complainants said it also happened at his home, court heard. MORE

Boy Scouts of America, abuse, scandal sexual abuse

Hundreds of former Boy Scouts reveal new sexual abuse claims, exposing 150 alleged pedophiles

April 24th, 2019 General News

SOURCE: Cara Kelly, USA TODAYPublished 5:00 a.m. ET April 24, 2019 | Updated 11:35 a.m. ET April 24, 2019

 

More than 200 individuals have come forward with new allegations of sexual abuse by members of the Boy Scouts of America in recent weeks as a trio of law firms seek to uncover unidentified child abusers.

A few of the victims are young, still underage or in their 20s, but many have held their secrets close for decades.

“Nobody would have listened to me,” said James Kretschmer, 56, who says a leader groped him at a Boy Scouts camp when he was in middle school. “The problem is, then you think, ‘Is it something I did? What was I doing, was it my fault? If I hadn’t done whatever, he wouldn’t have done that.’ It took me years and years to realize it wasn’t that little child’s fault. It was the adult who had control.”

Samuel, 17, said he was fondled by a leader a decade ago, who told him, “Don’t say anything.

“For awhile, I lived with those three words,” Samuel said. “That’s why I didn’t say anything.”

Advised by Tim Kosnoff, an attorney who has litigated more than a thousand cases of sexual misconduct against organizations such as the Scouts and the Mormon church, the group of attorneys said it has identified 150 alleged pedophiles never before publicly accused.

The law firms began running TV and Google ads encouraging victims to sign on as clients for a potential lawsuit after a report in December that Boy Scouts of America prepared for a possible Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing. The volume already gathered could double the number of legal cases the organization already is facing, although a bankruptcy would halt existing and future litigation, the attorneys told USA TODAY. MORE

'I tried to bury it down': NDP leader Jagmeet Singh says he was sexually abused as a child, respect, training, abuse training, sexual abuse prevention, Canada abuse

‘I tried to bury it down’: NDP leader Jagmeet Singh says he was sexually abused as a child

April 24th, 2019 General News

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh has claimed in a new memoir that a taekwondo coach sexually abused him when he was 10 years old.

“When it happened, I didn’t know what to think,” Singh told The Current’s Anna Maria Tremonti. “I felt a lot of shame and guilt, which I know is normal when you go through something like this.”

The politician revealed the abuse claim in his new book, Love & Courage: My Story of Family, Resilience, and Overcoming the Unexpected, released Tuesday.

Singh told Tremonti that the coach spotted the young boy’s enthusiasm for the sport and singled him out for extra training at his home through a special program.

“The program, really, was a guise to sexually assault me,” Singh said.

“Even now when I think back, it’s almost unimaginable that someone would go to such lengths to set up a way to assault a little kid.”

Singh said that the coach is now deceased. A representative for the politician, referring to the coach as “Mr. N”, said that he was never charged in relation to the abuse, which is alleged to have happened in Windsor, Ont., in the late 1980s.

The CBC has not independently verified the account, and is not revealing the coach’s full name. MORE

Former youth track stars allege sexual abuse by high-profile coach, respect group, training, abuse, sport, prevention

Former youth track stars allege sexual abuse by high-profile coach

April 22nd, 2019 General News, Respect in Sport

Source: Vancouver Sun,

LORI CULBERT

Chris Dallin was a teenage track and field star who set two Canadian records in hurdles, won gold at the 1981 Canada Summer Games, and caught the eye of national coaches dazzled by his speed and strength.

On the outside, Dallin was a tall, attractive athlete with an intense determination to succeed and a growing collection of medals. On the inside, he said, he was wounded, struggling to understand why he had been “sexually assaulted” by one of the most important people in his life.

“It was the single most excruciatingly difficult event of my life,” the Ladner resident said.

“The world is basically your oyster. And then the world is a closed loop and there is no freedom — everything has been taken away from you in a matter of a second.

“I remember the sadness rolling over me. And the confusion.”

Dallin is one of at least five men who have provided statements to the Athletics Canada Commissioner’s Office, which is investigating sexual-abuse allegations against high profile track coach Ken Porter, who for 50 years turned hundreds of talented youth into the country’s highest performing track stars.

No criminal charges have been laid, despite a complaint being made to police in 2007, and none of the accusations has been tested or proven in court. Through his lawyer, Porter maintained his innocence.

“Mr. Porter categorically denies the allegations made against him. He has been a well-respected volunteer in track and field for over 50 years and has always conducted himself in a professional manner,” said lawyer Fady Mansour.

Postmedia has spoken to four of the men who contacted Athletics Canada, the national governing body for track and field. All were teenagers competing for the Edmonton Olympic Club in the 1970s and all were coached by Porter.

None of them told club officials, their parents or police about the alleged abuse at the time, because of a combination of shame, confusion and not wanting to ruin their chances of making the national track team or winning university scholarships.

“I should have told somebody. But when you are young and you want to be a great athlete and you know that your coach is your ticket to greatness, you will do anything to stay with him,” said Dallin, 56, a branding consultant who said he has struggled since the alleged assaults with low-self-esteem, major depression and anxiety. MORE

Death of 9-year-old Syrian girl raises alarm bells among mental health advocates

April 22nd, 2019 General News

SOURCE: Global News By 

Following the death of a nine-year-old Syrian girl in Calgary, those working with young newcomers say it is an extreme outcome of a larger issue that many are facing.

“It’s extremely real. If you go and visit schools with refugee kids, you can see they are isolated, they are struggling,” said Zainab Ibrahim, a counsellor with DIVERSEcity in Vancouver. “My biggest fear is already happening … a young girl took her life.”

 

Amal Alshteiwi died in March after her parents said she told them she had been bullied at school for months. Amal’s parents insist they reached out to their daughter’s teacher, but the Calgary Board of Education disputes this. One thing is clear: the little Syrian-Calgarian girl’s well-being was in serious jeopardy, and some worry she may not be the only one in trouble.

“Yes, they left war, but the trauma is still alive. My biggest fear is that those kids won’t heal or thrive from the post-migration trauma that they could experience,” said Ibrahim, who came to Canada as a refugee from Iraq when she was 15. MORE

abuse, McMaster, prevention, inmates, prison, prisoner abuse, education, canada

Half of Canada’s prisoners were abused as children, McMaster study suggests

February 21st, 2019 General News

SOURCE: CBC News

Samantha Craggs · CBC News · 

 

‘Everyone can agree that prison is not a healthy place for people,’ lead researcher of AJPH study says

About half of Canada’s inmates were abused as children, suggests a new study out of McMaster University.

Medical student Claire Bodkin led a team that studied data from 30 years of research into Canadian inmates. Their work was published in the March issue of the American Journal of Public Health (AJPH).

The researchers found 65 per cent of female inmates experienced abuse in general, and half of them were sexually abused.

Bodkin said only one study in the data evaluated reported the prevalence of abuse among men. The researchers found abuse rates involving male inmates were at 35.5 per cent, with 21.9 per cent of them having experienced sexual abuse.

If we had more resources at the preventative level, before people got in conflict with the law, that would be really amazing.– Ruth Greenspan, John Howard Society

The team did a statistical analysis of the results to reach the conclusion that half of inmates had been abused, Bodkin said.

“That’s an alarmingly high number.”

These are the other researchers involved in the work, which included going over 34 studies from territorial, federal and provincial prisons and jails:

  • Fiona Kouyoumdjian and Lucie Pivnick, both McMaster.
  • Susan Bondy of the University of Toronto.
  • Carolyn Ziegler of Toronto’s St. Michael’s Hospital.
  • Ruth Elwood Martin of the University of British Columbia.

Claire Bodkin, lead author of the article in the March issue of the American Journal of Public Health, says one purpose of the research is to help determine: ‘How do we prevent childhood abuse from happening in the first place?’ (Sara Alavian)

Bodkin said understanding people who have been incarcerated — including reoffenders — will go a long way in helping prevent crime.

Prisons need to take trauma into account in how they deal with inmates, Bodkin said.

“Regardless of where you stand politically, I think everyone can agree that prison is not a healthy place for people, and that it’s a symptom of multiple other things that have gone wrong.”

So “how do we need to think about the impact of childhood trauma? How do we prevent childhood abuse from happening in the first place?”

The findings aren’t surprising to Ruth Greenspan, executive director of the John Howard Society of Hamilton, Burlington and area in Ontario.

“Many resort to their own abuse of themselves,” she said. “There’s a lot of addiction, self-mutilation, self-harm, and suicide, which again, are all indications of having suffered a lot of trauma. PTSD is something you see when you work with this population.”

There have been some great programs over the years to address trauma among people who commit crimes, she said. But the funding comes and goes.

On the whole, there aren’t enough free resources for individuals — before, during or after prison, said Greenspan.

Prevention ‘would just save so much money’

“If we had more resources at the preventative level, before people got in conflict with the law, that would be really amazing,” she said.

“If we prevented it, we would just save so much money in the criminal justice system. And I don’t think we’re there yet.”

For her part, Bodkin has done some clinical training with men during and after prison. Some have “really expansive trauma histories,” including severe abuse as children, she said.

“We suspected it was high, but there wasn’t good research out there that led to a national perspective in Canada.”

As for what constitutes abuse, Bodkin and her team used a World Health Organization definition, which means attendance at a residential school wasn’t considered, although that research would be useful too, Bodkin said.

At any given time, 41,000 people are incarcerated in Canada, and a disproportionate number are Indigenous.

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