Victimized by a teacher as a child and stung by reaction to her story of sexual abuse as an adult. Kristen Cunnane knows about pain and rising above it. Jean Elle reports.
Victimized by a teacher as a child and stung by reaction to her story of sexual abuse as an adult, Kristen Cunnane knows about pain and rising above it.
The 30-year-old UC Berkeley swim coach went to police years after a Moraga teacher abused her and helped put the predator behind bars.
She could have hidden behind a Jane Doe name but decided to go public, using her voice to tell a story of trauma and success.
Cunnane suffered depression but didn't let the abuse hold her back. She was just named assistant coach of the year by the NCAA.
The swimmer was lined up to speak to the swim team at the Moraga Country Club next week. She grew up swimming in the club and planned to tell the kids the love of sport can take you places. But the president of the club canceled the talk because he was concerned her history would make headlines.
He says he wanted the board to decide if Cunnane should be welcome. News that Cunnane was canceled because she is open about a childhood trauma was crushing and a bit of a scandal at the club.
The president has since issued an apology and the swim clinic is back on.
Cunnane says she is excited to hold her head high and walk into the Moraga Country Club to prove survivors can speak up, fight for justice and pursue big dreams.