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WRC now offers support group for men

by on June 07, 2018 10:15 AM

STATE COLLEGE — Started as a grassroots effort by women in Centre County more than 40 years ago, the Centre County Women’s Resource Center has a long-standing commitment to serving women in our community with services for survivors of domestic and sexual violence.

Now, that commitment is as strong as ever. But, years of working with survivors, as well as research data, reveal that sexual and domestic violence can happen to anyone, regardless of gender or any other personal characteristic. Among men specifically, approximately 1 in 6 have had unwanted or abusive sexual experiences before age 18.

The CCWRC’s new support group for male-identified survivors of childhood sexual abuse, perhaps the only one of its kind in central Pennsylvania, offers safety, understanding and healing for men who all too often feel alone and ashamed in their struggles. Participants are now being accepted for the next session of the new group for male-identified survivors, as well as the long-established group for female-identified survivors of sexual violence.

The goal for these groups is to develop a shared sense of community and support among survivors of sexual abuse in a safe and confidential environment. Each session revolves around a theme, such as effects of abuse, shame and self-esteem, intimacy and relationships or self-care.

“As they speak with others who have had similar experiences, survivors learn that they are not alone, that they are not at fault for the abuse they experienced, and that each one has strengths from which to draw in coping and recovery,” said Jordan Gibby, group co-facilitator.

The CCWRC’s new support group for male-identified survivors has already had an impact on individuals in our community who have participated. 

In the words of one group member, “It has been decades since my sexual abuse and some tragic life events that followed subsequently. Alcohol, depression, sexual addiction and OCD have followed me over time. I was never able, or maybe did not want to, ‘make the connection’ between the dysfunction of my teenage years and trauma I subjected myself to over decades. ... The group helped to ‘link the decades’ together in a way that helped chart my life and brings more clarity around the events and behaviors I used to survive.”

As with all of CCWRC’s services for survivors, the support groups are free. Potential participants with questions can call (814) 238-7066 to speak with the CCWRC’s lead sexual assault counselor, Geoff Landers-Nolan, about whether the group is a good next step in their path of recovery.

For more information, visit www.ccwrc.org/services/support-groups.

All additional CCWRC services, including crisis counseling, shelter and housing services and legal and medical advocacy, are available to anyone who has experienced domestic or sexual violence, inclusive of all gender identities and sexual orientations. Services can be accessed through the CCWRC’s 24-hour, confidential and free hotline at (877) 234-5050.

 

 



This story was produced by the staff at the Centre County Gazette. It was re-published with permission. The Centre County Gazette is a weekly publication, available at many locations around Centre County every Thursday morning.
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