Written by Kayla Hudson, LMSW, WCA Clinician
The WCA offers multiple groups for residential and community clients. Groups are often an essential part of the healing process for many of our clients and can be a good support for clients receiving other services such as case management, trauma therapy, court advocacy or financial literacy.
One of the challenging parts of abuse is overcoming the secrecy. Children who have grown up in abusive homes or been victimized themselves may have been threatened that if they tell or talk about the abuse, something bad will happen to them or others. Often, adults who experienced these things as children carry secrets of abuse with them. Adults who are abused often keep secrets due to shame, fear of not being believed or threat of harm if they do tell. Group can be one of the most powerful ways to overcome the secrecy of abuse. Clients know that group participants have been through a similar type of experience. This feeling of shared experience and understanding is liberating, especially as clients have the opportunity to share about what they have gone through.
Another benefit of a support group is that it can be a stepping stone for women who are hesitant to pursue other services or are unsure whether or not they are in an abusive relationship. Asking for help is difficult because it involves admitting that something is wrong. It takes a great deal of courage to call the crisis line or walk through the front door at the WCA. This is one reason we provide an orientation for all of our groups. The Domestic Abuse Orientation gives an introduction to intimate partner violence by reviewing definitions, statistics, the power and control wheel and the cycle of violence. It gives a basic overview of how abuse can affect individuals and families. This orientation gives the women a common understanding and language to enter group.
RAP is our support group for domestic abuse. In this support group, facilitators encourage clients to share challenges and successes as they move through their healing journey. The clients speak from their experience sharing what worked for them as they heal. Clients often comment how helpful it is to hear how other people have experienced similar things. They feel that they are no longer alone; which helps to overcome the isolation that abusers use as a tactic of power and control. RAP is unique in that clients are in all stages of the healing journey; some are still with their abusers, others are recently separated, while some women have been separated for months or years. They learn from each other, receive support, and come alongside one another to move forward in their journey. As a facilitator I have learned a great deal from my clients by being present at RAP. It is a great honor to be a witness to their resilience and courage as they share.
RAP has been an essential part of the WCA services for many years. It continues to succeed because women find it helpful and continue to utilize it as a service. If you or someone you know would benefit from this group, please call the WCA for more information.
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