One of the hallmarks of being in an abusive relationship is the experience of isolation. Not only do abusers use isolation as a tactic to control their partners but survivors also often feel a sense of shame around what they have experienced. While awareness about domestic violence has risen, there still remains a secretiveness and silence around the issue in many communities. For many years, Sojourner has provided domestic violence support groups to survivors as a way to break that isolation, heal from trauma and share strategies for moving forward. This spring we have revamped our community based support group to make it even better!
Sojourner’s community support group now consists of two, six week phases: Domestic Violence Education and Health and Wellness. The first half of the group focuses on an educational topic while the second half allows for individual and group processing time. Domestic violence education is facilitated by our community advocates and focuses on questions like “what is domestic abuse?”, “what is a healthy relationship” and “how can I move on from this abuse?”.
The health and wellness phase includes topics such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, decision making, grief/letting go and stress management through yoga and mindfulness. These topics are the result of both what our advocates believe would best serve survivors as well as feedback from previous participants on what they feel they need. Incorporating health and wellness sessions in the second half of the group purposefully acknowledges that healing is possible and that there are tools to be accessed as survivors feel they are ready. We feel it is essential to deliver a more holistic approach that provides participants with opportunities for reflection and growth.
After the 12 weeks have been completed, participants are invited to join a monthly processing group to remain connected to Sojourner and to the community they have built. As with all of our services, support group is free, safe and confidential. Unlearning negative beliefs, connecting through shared experiences and gaining skills to strengthen one's sense of self and relationships are all potential benefits from participating in support group. Perhaps the most important is an essential experience we all seek, to know that we are not alone in our struggles and that there are people who understand and support us. To learn more about how to participate or refer someone to Sojourner’s community support group, contact our community advocacy line at 952-935-1004.