TORONTO – Theo Fleury wrapped up his “Victor Walk” in Ottawa Thursday.
The former NHL star began his ten-day trek on May 14 in Toronto in order to raise awareness about childhood sexual abuse.
“We know we’ve hit a nerve,” reads a statement on the Victor Walk website. “People want to better protect our children from pedophiles, greater national awareness about the epidemic of child sexual abuse and much more access to funding for those groups and organizations who provide healing for victims, survivors, victors and advocates.”
The walk covered more than 450 km and ended in the country’s capital with speeches on the steps of Parliament Hill.
On the eve of his walk’s end, Fleury sent the following tweet:
Fleury, who was sexually abused by disgraced hockey coach Graham James in the 1980s, has previously said that the justice system “re-victimizes” those who have suffered from child abuse by being too lenient on the perpetrators.
Fleury and his supporters demand the federal government impose tougher sentences on pedophiles and are pushing for a minimum sentence of 15 years in prison for each count of sexual abuse, to be served consecutively.
“The core of every issue we have in society starts with trauma in childhood,” said Fleury in an interview with Global News’s The Morning Show earlier this month. “If we don’t deal with that, if we don’t deal with the full cycle, including the pedophiles and we don’t get people the healing that they need, then the cycle will just continue over and over again.”
With hashtags like #stopbullyingtheinnocent and #itwasntyourfault, Fleury told survivors of sexual abuse that they were not alone and encouraged others on Twitter to advocate for sexual abuse victims’ rights with the government.
The walk to Ottawa is one of 24 happening across the country. On Thursday, more than 100 supporters walked 3.4 km from Edmonton City Hall to the Alberta Legislature Building.
Those who are interested in signing up for a walk in their city can do so here.