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Jean-Paul Bedard

Writer ~ Speaker ~ Athlete

Jean-Paul Bedard lives with his wife in Toronto, where he is a writer and speaker. In addition to being a high profile endurance athlete, Jean-Paul is an advocate helping other survivors of child sexual abuse find their "voice". You can follow his journey at breathethroughthis.com.
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Why I Am Not An Anonymous Addict

I may not be popular for saying this, but guess what -- people relapse; that's a reality on the path to recovery. And if anything, over the years, I've discovered that the more people who know I'm in recovery, the more support I'm exposed to when I might be struggling and prone for a relapse.
03/22/2016 09:43 EDT
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I've Gone From Recovering Alcoholic To Sober Shepherd

I'm coming up to my 19th anniversary of becoming clean and sober, and this time of the year for me is typically a moment of reflection. I'm still not sure how I went from standing alone on a subway platform with the intention of taking my life 20 years ago, to standing in front of an audience of 200 people looking to me for guidance and hope.
02/25/2016 02:12 EST
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5 Things I've Learned From Being A Survivor Of Rape

As I suspect is the case with many other people across the country, I am closely watching the Jian Ghomeshi trial. There were times yesterday when I found myself holding my breath, wishing that this very public trial might be a pivotal moment in our society -- one in which we can finally begin to openly and honestly address the prevalence of sexual violence in our communities.
02/02/2016 05:21 EST
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Running From Trauma Led Me To A Life Of Advocacy

For my entire life, I've been on the run -- at first it was as a child, "running away" from the violent and daily physical abuse that took place behind closed doors in my home. From that moment onward, I kept everything inside of me, and around me, off in the distance. And thus began many years of escape that came in the form of a destructive alcohol and drug addiction.
01/19/2016 01:08 EST
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Revealing I Was Sexually Abused Lost Me The Mother I Never Had

After what feels like a lifetime of battling drug and alcohol addiction, and my own tenuous mental health issues, three years ago -- at the age of 47 -- I finally found the strength to tell my wife and adult son that I am a survivor of childhood sexual abuse. Like too many other survivors of childhood sexual violence who decide to go public with their disclosure, I have lost contact with my mother and my siblings as a result. If you really want to know how to destroy an already fragile soul, take away the one thing that a survivor of sexual violence needs most -- connection, which equates as validation and worthiness.
01/15/2016 01:13 EST
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A Man's Place Is In The Home, Too

I'm a stay-at-home dad with an empty nest -- I'm what is affectionately known as a "house hubby," a "kept husband," a defunct "Mr. Mom." Despite all my best attempts to spin a better narrative, I am at a loss when it comes to finding empowering vocabulary to describe how I spend my days.
11/30/2015 04:27 EST
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Finding Your Way Back From Sexual Violence

I want you to see the 'real' me -- a man who has been running his entire life, a man who has travelled so far, only to come back to himself. My name is Jean-Paul, and I am a survivor of sexual violence, but I am so much more than that. I am a husband. I am a father. I am a writer. I am an elite athlete. I am an advocate for survivors all around the world.
11/18/2015 03:56 EST
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We Need To Keep Speaking Up And Out On Sexual Violence

What would I like to see the #BeenRapedNeverReported campaign become? Before any meaningful change can occur, we need to work towards pulling back the layers of stigma. If we are unable to talk openly, how can we expect survivors of sexual violence to come forward with their own experiences with trauma?
11/01/2015 08:44 EST
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What I Learned From PTSD

So, is there a lesson in PTSD for all of us? Yes, most definitely. If abandoned in fear, past trauma has a way of writing itself into your future like a voracious virus, but if you are willing to face it head on, you may find yourself attuned to the lesson of growth within its whisper.
08/30/2015 09:19 EDT
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I Was Raped - and We Need to Talk About it

Two years before I entered high school, I was the victim of a violent rape that took place a mere few kilometres from the football locker room I was now standing in. From the moment of that assault, I chose to disappear, fractured into different people -- the person I was afraid to let you see, the person I wanted you to see, and the young man who struggled with that internal turmoil every day for the next 30 years. I've heard that living as a survivor of rape is like living with a secret tumor. It metastasizes in the dark hollows of shame, and it continues to destabilize and corrupt every bond and every relationship in a survivor's life.
08/11/2015 05:17 EDT
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The Beauty in Missing

I love the subtlety and ambiguity of words, and that no doubt had a lot to do with why I taught English for 23 years, and why I am now pursuing a career as a writer. I was reading an article in today'...
07/23/2015 06:10 EDT
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We Must Break the Silence to Bring an End to Rape Culture

Whether we're talking about sexual assault, sexual abuse, rape, or date rape, it's important we don't get caught up in the semantics or the nuances of the language we choose. When I read the news stories about the accusations against Bill Cosby and Jian Ghomeshi, I shudder at the fact that for many of us, our first reaction is to dismiss, or question, the assertions brought forth by the "alleged" victims who after years of isolation and devastation, have finally arrived at a place where they feel they can speak out.
07/09/2015 05:11 EDT
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I Have Been Losing Time to PTSD

Over the past few years, I've written extensively about, and on many occasions have spoken candidly of my struggles with addiction, mental health issues, and sexual violence. I have grown to believe that the greatest antidote to fear is honesty, and it's with this in mind, that I share the following with you. For the past few months, I've engaged in a convoluted relationship with time. It all started out rather innocent. Hours were slipping away from me, and I had absolutely no idea how to account for that lost time.
07/03/2015 12:21 EDT
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10 Ways to Be a Better Runner

Despite what the advertisers lead us to believe, there is no "ideal" running figure. The only requirement for calling yourself a runner is to lace up a pair of running shoes and start putting one foot in front of the other. Running is not about what you look like, but rather, what you see yourself becoming.
06/18/2015 05:44 EDT
Jean-Paul Bedard

I'm Running a Triple Marathon to Show the Resilience of Sexual Assault Survivors

As a scared child, I ran away from the abuse around me, and as an adult, I used drugs and alcohol to run away from the trauma inside me. But here's the interesting part -- shortly after I got clean and sober, I actually took up the sport of running. This fall, I will be running the Toronto Waterfront Marathon three times in the same day (126.6 km), not as a fundraiser, but simply to show others how resilient we are, even after the trauma of sexual violence. But most importantly, I hope that my campaign will build upon the momentum we are starting to see in the media about the prevalence of sexual violence and the need to address the countless lives that lay in its wake.
06/08/2015 05:27 EDT
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I've Learned to Live With PTSD

My name is Jean-Paul, and I am in treatment for PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). Hearing me say that usually elicits one of two responses in people -- abject pity or recoiling fear. I want you to know that I understand where you're coming from, but allow me a few minutes to see if we can change this dialogue.
06/04/2015 08:07 EDT
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Recovering From Addiction Means Learning to Live With it

Within the literature of Alcoholics Anonymous, the word "recovered" comes up at lot, and come to think of it, why wouldn't it? Many an addict latches on to that idea as a desperate lifeline of hope. I, on the other hand, have grown to embrace the fact that until the day I die, I will be a recovering alcoholic. I long ago decided to make peace with this disease, but that in no way makes me immune to feeling frustrated and angry by the circumstances surrounding my relationship with the addiction.
06/03/2015 08:32 EDT