WHAT IS SURVIVING TOGETHER?
SURVIVING TOGETHER is a self-help support group for women adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse. We meet in Norwich once a month either on the first Tuesday afternoon or the second Wednesday evening. Its very informal and relaxed and where we meet is a very safe and confidential environment.
We have two facilitators at each meeting on the Tuesday afternoon Sally and Caroline will be there to greet you and on the Wednesday evening Claire and Paula will be there to do the same. We try to have some topics to talk about but basically we tend to go with the flow. You can grab a coffee and chat or simply just listen. It is a self-help group so we try to offer you the tools and support you need to help you move forward and if at anytime there is something you need we have a great team who will try their best to find someone or something for you, we also have many other contacts and resources with other therapists.
WHO IS IT FOR?
The group is available to any woman over 18 who is suffering from the effects of childhood sexual abuse. You may have tried counselling or have already received help from Rape Crisis, Victim Support etc, you may have had help from the police in some way, but you still find you have issues and worries that seem to reappear now and again, you still find life difficult at times. SURVIVING TOGETHER is about the survivors, we can share our worries and fears without judgement and being in a group we know we are not alone.
It takes a lot of courage to make the first move but its worth a try.
WHAT IS IT LIKE?
Put aside any ideas you may have of what a Survivors meeting might be like and think instead of a group of women, of any age, coming together because of something they have in common. What they share is a knowledge of something hidden and the effect it has on their lives.
The sharing takes many forms. It may be a current problem or a need to disclose the cause of their pain. Any disclosure, always voluntary, is of the who, where, or when kind and no-one is asked or encouraged to be more specific.
We are prepared for tears, but newcomers should be prepared for a warm welcome, friendship, support and laughter. Come and join us, or come and help us, or both.
HOW IT ALL STARTED
Surviving Together was initiated in November 2006 by Hazel and Liz, two members of Aylsham Quakers. Hazel had visited a conference which tackled the subject of childhood sexual abuse. She talked about this to a friend, who then revealed that this had happened in her family, and said that there was a real need for a safe place to talk about such things and there is not much in the way of support for people who have suffered in this way. Hazel decided to set up a self-help group for survivors and Liz offered to help. Hazel and Liz received some initial training from Victim Support, and got advice and support from the Community Mental Health Team, Hazel also discovered through Victim Support in Attleborough that there was a group for survivors of childhood sexual abuse in Kings Lynn called “STOP-START”. Hazel made contact with the group and they gave invaluable help and advice on setting up the group in Norwich. Along the way we have had more volunteers and even some of the survivors from the groups have grown in strength enough to become group helpers and facilitators, and we are always glad to hear from women interested in joining us.
WHAT DO WE OFFER?
We offer Support and Friendship, in a relaxed atmosphere and a safe place, also the opportunity for women to share their experiences if they so wish- but no pressure. We have a rule of confidentiality which goes upon the wall during group sessions as we offer a Strict Confidentiality Policy. We do not offer counselling.. We provide information on services available and costs, also we have our own selective range of books which members may borrow. We also arrange many other activities some run by ourselves and some with outside contacts, these range from crafts, art therapy, self-esteem workshops, various other talks and activities to help you rebuild your confidence and strength.
We offer speakers to come in and give help and advice on various connected topics and we always welcome suggestions from the group members as you know better than anyone what you need or require.
Right from the beginning we've been encouraged by agencies such as Victim Support, Mancroft Project and Norwich Mental Health Services.
We have voluntary Norfolk membership which has helped us find funding and other contacts.
In this financial year Surviving Together has received grant funding from Norwich City Council, Norfolk Community Foundation and The Guild via Seamless Support.
Everyone involved in Surviving Together is a volunteer, putting in many hours of work but receiving great reward in knowing the value women place on membership of the group and our shared friendship.
However, we are an independent body relying on the support of funders and generous individuals.
We are now part of Local Giving, an online donation facility, where we have a site explaining what we do. Money donated is channelled through the Norfolk Community Foundation, a registered charity.
If reading this you know of someone who has suffered childhood sex abuse - and with one in four girls and one in six boys having done so we ALL do - and would like to help us, PLEASE DO.
Our postal address is:
c/o The Warden (Confidential)
Friends Meeting House,
Upper Goat Lane,
Norwich, NR2 1EW
To free and empower.
To help rebuild self-esteem and self-confidence.
To take away the feeling of isolation.
To enable you to begin or continue the healing process.
To encourage and provide stability.