Some truths need to be spoken aloud, examined and discussed—especially when the topic is child sexual abuse. Silence is the enemy. That’s why you’re invited to an informative and empowering event called Words of Courage. Slated for August 21 at Funhaven and hosted by Voice Found, this special presentation features three remarkable speakers who have refused to succumb to the label of victim. They are courageous. They are strong. And their stories will enlighten you.
“We’ve taken great care to design an informative evening that will leave you feeling inspired and you’ll have some fun too! Fun?! Yes, Fun! We want you to let your inner child out to play and Funhaven provides just the right environment,” notes Cynthia Bland, head of Voice Found, an Ottawa-based organization dedicated to childhood sexual abuse prevention and support for survivors. Boom 99.7′s Dylan Black and Daytime Ottawa’s Derick Fage will help facilitate the evening’s events.
The Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal was one of the most highly publicized sex abuse cases in history. During the trial, Matthew disclosed that his adopted father, Jerry Sandusky sexually abused him from ages 10-16. Matthew¹s disclosure interview to police was leaked to the media plunging he and his family into the center of a media firestorm.
Founder of Peaceful Hearts Foundation, along with his wife Kim, Matthew helps promote stronger statute of limitation laws, education for children, stronger mandated reporting laws, and other legislation as the need arises. Peaceful Hearts also helps survivors of childhood sexual abuse find the support and love they need and deserve. Matthew uses his life¹s story to motivate people to take action to prevent child sexual abuse and how to positively engage and support adult survivors. He hopes that by telling his story he will show survivors that hope always exists and that healing will happen.
Jean-Paul Bedard refers to himself as a “thriving survivor” of childhood sexual abuse. After more than three decades trying to “manage” all the repercussions of childhood trauma—the drug and alcohol addiction, bipolar depression, and suicidal thoughts—Jean-Paul finally disclosed to family and friends that he had been sexually abused by a hockey coach, and a few years later, was sexually assaulted by two young men in a desolate ravine in North Toronto.
This past spring, Jean-Paul garnered a lot of media attention when he ran the Boston Marathon, not once, but twice in the same day to raise over $20,000 in funds for the Gatehouse and awareness for survivors of childhood sexual abuse.
Jean-Paul is the author of the popular blog, Breathe Through This, which currently has over 90,000 readers. In addition to his personal blog, Jean-Paul is a featured writer on the Huffington Post US Edition, where he freely writes about the process of transformation from trauma. 2015 will mark the next chapter of Jean-Paul’s life, as he steps away from his career as an English teacher to write full-time and speak as an advocate for survivors of childhood sexual abuse.
Carrie Ann Kent
Carrie Ann Kent is a survivor of incest by her birth father, sexual abuse by a neighbour and adult sexual assault. The author of ‘My Innocence Lost’, Carrie shares her journey to inner peace, happiness and love.
Committed to helping others, she is establishing a non-profit organization called Butterfly Healing with a goal to bring changes to police investigations of child sexual abuse and to engage with the education system to empower children to speak out against abusers. Carrie lives on the shores of Lake Huron in Port Elgin where she is a successful entrepreneur.
6:30 p.m. Drinks, appetizers
7 p.m.: Speakers
8:45 – 10 p.m.: Be a kid at Funhaven. Spend time in conversation with others. Socialize. Create a masterpiece with crayons. Bid on silent auction items. For details and tickets to Words of Courage, see http://www.voicefound.ca/events/words-of-courage/ You can also follow Voice Found on Twitter at @voicefound and use the hastags #NoLongerSilent and #Wordsofcourage.