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#431442 - 04/16/13 06:22 PM Building A Support Group
DRA Offline

Registered: 02/08/13
Posts: 49
Hi Guys,

I'm not sure if this is the right place for this thread, but I cant think of a better place. So mods, feel free to move this if you think it belongs elsewhere.

So I'm a graduate student and a survivor who has just recently (within the past six months) started to deal with my CSA. I've spent some time looking for a support group of/for men in and around my university with little success. So I've gone to the head of our sexual assault prevention center and we've decided to try and establish a group for male survivors. However neither of us know the best way to go about doing this.

The head of our sexual assault center does know several practitioners who she believes will be a good fit for something like this and she is reaching out to them. However, we are at a loss of where to go beyond this. What we do know is that we need to pay attention to the following things:

1) Outreach: how can we publicize the group while keeping it a safe space? How do we make it a safe space for people to come to?

2) Location: I know that walking into the sexual assault office is probably not the most ideal space for people to walk. Would you guys think that a classroom or perhaps meeting room in the student union would be more appropriate for a meeting space?

3) Contact: how can we set up a safe point of access for email contact? Does it need to be protected by HIPPA or something else?

4) We are looking to potentially partner with student organizations as a means to either publicize or develop funding resources. What do you guys think of this?

5) What would a support group like this look like? How would you guys like to see one run? What have your experiences been in a group?

Really, I'm just kinda shooting in the dark with the ideas, asking questions about what would make me feel safe and what would make me want to approach the group.

I'd also like to note that I'm being intentionally vague with regards to the university I attend and the name of the sexual assault program because I would like to be able to join the group on an equal footing as anyone else who joins it. Also, given that we are in the initial planning stages, I don't want to develop any expectations, yet.

For any input or insight that you can offer, either answering the questions I've posed or just by posting your own experiences or insights. Really, anything. I know that I refuse to let the lack of a campus resource stop me from finding the support that I need and, if I have to build that resource, I'll do it. We each diserve the support and of our community and I hope that by building something on a major university campus we can maybe even start to help the conversation and communal dialogue recognize that there are male survivors and we are some pretty amazing people too.
Strength in power is a false victory rooted in vapid grandiosity. Strength in character and integrity is the freedom to act righteously irrespective of the surrounding pressure. True power is the presence of mind to live with character and integrity.

#431443 - 04/16/13 06:42 PM Re: Building A Support Group [Re: DRA]
pufferfish Offline

Registered: 02/26/08
Posts: 6875
Loc: USA
Good idea!

There are lots of predators around. You are already aware that you need to be a bit careful. Don't publicize the exact time and place but you can publicize it through local counselor's offices and/or other officials. You've already figured that out. The place could be anywhere where you have some privacy. Have all the attendees sign a non-disclosure statement that they will not share what they hear. I had some major problems with somebody doing that in the first group I was in.


#431449 - 04/16/13 07:17 PM Re: Building A Support Group [Re: DRA]
Jude Offline

Registered: 08/09/12
Posts: 1633
Loc: New England
Hey DRA,

Contact "whome" here on MS. He started a support group in South Africa where he lives, and should be able to give you some ideas.

I will remember you
Will you remember me?
Don't let your life pass you by
Weep not for the memories
Sarah McLachlan

#431450 - 04/16/13 07:19 PM Re: Building A Support Group [Re: DRA]
DRA Offline

Registered: 02/08/13
Posts: 49
Thanks for the reference, Jude!
Strength in power is a false victory rooted in vapid grandiosity. Strength in character and integrity is the freedom to act righteously irrespective of the surrounding pressure. True power is the presence of mind to live with character and integrity.

#431526 - 04/17/13 06:37 AM Re: Building A Support Group [Re: DRA]
pbert53 Offline
Greeter Emeritus

Registered: 10/26/09
Posts: 576
Loc: Washington, USA
Hey DRA,

Good for you in trying to establish a group. Much luck to you.

i tried to start a group in the Seattle area in Washington and it was a fizzle.That's not to say that you won't succeed.

i found that in Mike Lew's book, 'Victim's No Longer' has a section with suggestions on starting a new group and some guidelines.

Also SIA a 12 step program for folks that were incested. Sexual Incest Anonymous.

They sell their program packet which has many great ideas on organization and the workings of Sexual abuse groups.

just a thought . . .


paul smile
If you cannot control what happens to you, you can control your attitude toward what happens to you, and in that, you will be mastering change rather than allowing it to master you.

~ adapted from: Sri Ram

#431530 - 04/17/13 07:23 AM Re: Building A Support Group [Re: DRA]
Publius Offline

Registered: 03/13/12
Posts: 444
Loc: OH
Firstly, thank you for trying to set up a group. I've attended group therapy twice in the past month but have wanted to do it for a very long time. The problem is groups are difficult to start and sometimes even more difficult to maintain. In my case, it is a men and women's group except I am the only guy and there are only two women at least right now : P I hope it continues to grow but for now talking with these fellow survivors is something I think is good for us.

1. I recommend communicating with local mental health professionals and allowing them to screen possible candidates from their own clients. A survivor needs to be ready for group therapy before delving into such a raw, emotional experience. In general, I've heard it recommended a survivor be in individual therapy for at least 6 months before considering group therapy. You might also consider having a professional facilitator if you think it would make things easier for you or the group. Structure, guidelines, and assurances of privacy are also important for helping make the space safer for survivors.

2. Somewhere centrally located to the local population, private, and accessible via public transit. The room itself definitely needs to be private with no possibility of random people walking in. Hospitals and campuses have plenty of good locations for such a meeting.

3. Whoever is in charge of organizing it (yourself or a facilitator) can create an email address specifically for his/her group communications. Any and all email addresses/phone numbers obtained by this person remain 100% confidential.

4. I definitely like the idea of increased awareness and funding for CSA survivors and group therapy in particular.

5. I imagine all groups look a bit different but there are certain things that go along with all of them: anonymity, structure/rules, confidentiality of disclosed information. Each of these things helps foster group healing both inside and outside of the meetings.
"Life is like this dark tunnel. You may not always see the light at the end of the tunnel, but if you keep moving, you will come to a better place." ~ General Iroh


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