Why I Didn't Say Anything: The Sheldon Kennedy Story
By: Sheldon Kennedy, Insomniac Press, 2007
November 25, 2014
Sheldon Kennedy was a hockey player in the NHL who in his book “Why I didn’t Say Anything” wrote about his abuse at the hands of his coach and the aftermath of his coming out and going to the police and charging him. In his book, Sheldon talks about how the abuse started (one example was how it was happening in his parent’s house in the basement and how he wondered why his parents didn’t think it was strange the coach wanted to sleep in the basement with him). He talks about how he coped with the abuse by turning to drugs and alcohol and how he at one points contemplated killing himself. As with many victims who come forward, Sheldon talks about how many who adored this coach, didn’t believe him and in fact how he was shunned and vilified for speaking out.
By doing what he did Sheldon Kennedy opened the door to discussing child abuse in sport. As an athlete, I have personally benefited by his efforts. There are more awareness, training and rules for coaches, volunteers and players. Things like no coaches alone with players, no cameras, two person deep, etc. There are police checks required, Speak Out clinics and an array of training for coaches and volunteers.
Respect in Sports and the Sheldon Kennedy Foundation has continued to tell his story and educate the public on sexual abuse and the impact it has on someone’s life, the struggle to recover and survive.
Because of his efforts, Sheldon Kennedy, a “hero” for many kids who played hockey made it ok for them to come forward and not be ashamed or embarrassed to come forward if they were being abused. It isn’t just a “female” issue. In the past, sexual assault was mostly seen as a crime against women which it is not anymore – just look at the upcoming program on Victimology where there is whole class on Men as Victims. Sexual...