When the father of murdered teenager Jennifer Teague stood up at Ottawa’s Victim Commemoration Ceremony yesterday, he had no idea what he was going to say.
But instead of speaking about his daughter, Ed Teague talked about himself.
Fifty years ago, when he was 11 or 12, a family friend abused him. But in the 1950s, nobody spoke of abuse, especially not males.
“He held a position of trust that allowed him to get close to young boys,” Teague said of his abuser.
But until yesterday, he’d never told anyone — not his wife, his family or his pastor.
“I’ve kept the silence for 50 years,” he said. “I was ashamed.”
Teague was among several victims and survivors that shared their stories at city hall, where Mayor Larry O’Brien proclaimed Victims of Crime Week in Ottawa.
Victim support has improved since 1994, when Heather Imming was seriously injured after her husband violated a restraining order and broke into her home. She suffered head injuries, partial paralysis and vision problems after being attacked.
“I want everyone to support victim support workers and encourage all women in violent relationships to get help. Someone will listen. Make that call,” said Imming.
“There can be no prevention without awareness,” said Nancy Worsfold, executive director of Crime Prevention Ottawa. “It’s important that the stories of victims be heard.”
Teague said he felt a weight lift after sharing his story.
Asked what Jennifer would have done if she could have heard his story, Teague replied, “She would have been up there to hug me.”