WHAT IS SURVIVING TOGETHER?
SURVIVING TOGETHER is a self-help support group for women adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse. We meet in Norwich four times month. It's very informal and relaxed and where we meet is a very safe and confidential environment. We have two facilitators at each meeting. 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. If there is something you need at any time, 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. Being in a group we know we are not alone. It takes a lot of courage to make the first move but it's 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 is always voluntary. No-one is asked or encouraged to be more specific than they themselves choose to be. 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. Along the way we have had more volunteers, and some of the survivors from the groups have grown in strength enough to become group helpers and facilitators. 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. SURVIVING TOGETHER offers the opportunity for women to share their experiences if they so wish -but no pressure. We have a rule of confidentiality which goes up on the wall during group sessions, as we have a Strict Confidentiality Policy. We do not offer counselling, but we do provide information on services available and their costs. We also have our own selective range of books which members can borrow. We arrange many other activities, some run by ourselves and some with outside contacts; these range from crafts, art therapy, self-esteem workshops and 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 connected topics. We always welcome suggestions from the group members as you know better than anyone what you need or require.
In 2013, Surviving Together began working with Sue Lambert Trust. This has enabled the provision of more groups and sharing resources. We have voluntary Norfolk membership which has helped us find funding and other contacts.
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.
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.