The Be Brave Ranch has been a dream of the Little Warriors organization, and – with a little bit of support – it could soon become a reality.
The organization – that helps victims of child sexual abuse and raises awareness of the issue – is hosting the first Be Brave Luncheon. The event will raise funds for Little Warriors and the Be Brave Ranch, Canada’s first treatment centre specifically designed to help child sexual abuse survivors.
NHL star and advocate Theo Fleury spoke at the event – sharing his personal story of sexual abuse in a presentation called ‘Don’t Quit Before the Miracle.’
“I’m not a psychologist, I’m not a psychiatrist,” Fleury says. “I’ve realized that the one thing I can do is bring awareness to the subject, and be a proponent for change in the laws around child sexual abuse.”
“I have zero regrets about my life,” he reveals. “This was the plan for my life. God picked me because he knew I’d be strong enough to get through what I needed to get through… unfortunately and fortunately, this is why I was put on the earth.”
Fleury has toured the country, advocating for victims, and urging the federal government to change its laws surrounding child sexual abuse.
“What we see from Ottawa is absolutely zero leadership around the subject,” he says. “This subject has one answer. There is no debate around the subject of child sexual abuse. There’s one word: stop. It has to stop.”
Glori Meldrum with Little Warriors started researching treatment options for victims of child sexual abuse, and was stunned to find so few.
“I couldn’t believe it,” she explains. “That there wasn’t a long-term treatment centre for kids who’ve been sexually abused…We do have a lot of so-called treatment centres for the offenders.”
The Be Brave Ranch will offer a 30-day treatment program for kids, focusing on healing the mind, body and soul of the child.
“The main type of therapy is going to be cognitive behavioural,” explains Meldrum. A number of other approaches including play therapy and equine therapy will also be used.
However, a facility like this one requires funding, which is what the Little Warriors organization is working on currently, and that’s where the luncheon comes in.
“First, we have to raise the money… we’re hoping to raise a lot more money… with our luncheon with Theo Fleury.”
“Once we have the funding in place, we’ll purchase the facility,” says Meldrum. “We’ve already begun working on the 30 program for the kids that have been sexually abused, because it’ll be the first in Canada.”
Fleury credits therapy for helping him feel comfortable in his own skin again.
“Theo is an amazing individual,” says Meldrum. “He’s a big supporter of Little Warriors.”
“The healing starts with finding a really great therapist that you can work with to either start your path to healing, or put you over the top,” Fleury explains.
He’ll continue to pressure Ottawa to toughen the laws against child sexual abuse perpetrators. At the same time, he’s making sure those suffering at the hands of abusers know they’re not alone.
“First, you’re a victim, then you become a survivor, then you become a victor, then you become an advocate.”
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