Healing Takes Time, but It’s Worth It!
You may not often get to hear about the strength and resilience of women survivors of violence. At BWSS, we are always very cautious about sharing the experiences of women who access our services because of our ethics and commitment to confidentiality. We have the permission of “Sara” (a pseudonym) to share her healing journey with you.
When Sara came to our Women’s Support Group Program she believed she wasn’t ‘normal’ always feeling intense fear. The fear caused her to never open her blinds. Regularly, Sara’s sleep was tormented by terrifying nightmares. Sara was very isolated, never felt safe in the company of others, so she didn’t have friends and had no communication with her family.
Sara first heard of BWSS through searching the Internet and after calling our crisis line, she began attending one of our support groups called Healing from Trauma through Empowerment. Through experiencing the safety created during each support group session, she began to unravel and heal the painful past, became aware of the impact of all the abuse she had experienced as an adult by a violent husband and as a child by her violent father. Through the group process, Sara developed self-awareness and self-soothing skills. She began to trust her instincts and began to want to make connections with other women in the group. Sara went on to attend two more support groups consisting of 10 – 12 sessions. Violence against women and girls is about power and control, and by attending BWSS support groups Sara began to take back her power and continued to find her voice, both of which were stolen from her violently.
Today, Sara no longer experiences the horrible nightmares, no longer feels pervasive terror, she now opens her blinds, she has a few friends who together form a safety and support network for each other. Today, Sara is standing in her personal power, she is using her voice and giving back through volunteering with a community organization. Sara has re-entered the larger community and is taking steps to return to school. She’s even considering reconnecting with her family.
BWSS Women’s Support Group Program is the only program of its kind in British Columbia. At any given time, we have eight support groups running meeting the needs of approximately 4,000 women annually and acting as a key referral option for numerous community organizations and individuals. Counselling services are difficult to find for women survivors of violence and waitlists for counselling are often in the triple digits. Our Women’s Support Group Program becomes an essential option while women wait for individual counselling services. The power of the Women’s Support Group Program is visible as women report an alleviation of isolation and the effects of abuse. Our evidence-based approaches to supporting women with the effects of trauma are renowned. Through creating a safe, learning and teaching environment women are able to unbundle the dynamics of their abusive relationship and/or their historical trauma and are able to see and therefore take options that reinforce their safety and the safety of their children. Historical trauma such as the personal or generational effects of Residential School, incest, and date rape.
Many women who attend Women’s Support Group Program are mothers, and the positive effects of mothers attending Women’s Support Group Program means that children get to witness how their mother’s take back their power and their voice. BWSS Women’s Support Group Program benefits community through individual women, through their relationships with their children, family and friends, through community as a key referral source and a safe place and the larger society because empowered women helps make the world stronger and healthier.
To continue providing support groups for women such as Sara, we need your help.
- Each gift of $125 can provide one support group session for 8 women.
- Each gift of $1,000 can provide 8 support group sessions for 8 women.