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Retired hockey legend Theo Fleury received a lot of attention when his 2009 book, Playing With Fire, claimed that had been sexually abused as a young teenager by his hockey coach. He has since become an advocate for male victims of sexual abuse.

Besides public speaking engagements, Fleury played guest host for CBC radio on three segments, including one about an epidemic of concussions in hockey, and one about male sexual abuse whose numbers of victims by the age of 18 are conservatively estimated at one in six.

“Male sexual abuse is an issue that has affected my life profoundly, and it has affected many, many men in Canada,” said Fleury, “but it’s not something that gets discussed in this kind of forum very often.”

The men he interviewed on the program revealed their experiences and offered insight into the psychology of being victims, some typical behavioral consequences including violence and substance abuse, and some problems that males face that would differ from a female victim’s experience.

Years behind the infrastructure that has been set up for abused women, Fleury would like to see better support systems developed for men as well.

“It’s important that guys talk about this and get it out in the open,” said Fleury. “I think people need to know what it does to us and how it affects our lives. Something needs to be done.”

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