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REACH to Offer Women’s Support Group
REGION -– Beginning in September, REACH, the sexual assault center serving Oxford county, Harrison and Bridgton, will begin a support group for women who have experienced sexual assault – whether as children or adults, recently or in the past.
The group will meet weekly in the Rumford area for 20 weeks, at no cost. The dates and time of the meetings will be based on the availability of participants.
The group uses the book The Courage to Heal, by Laura Davis, as a basis for discussions.
Making the choice to talk with others who also have gone through the trauma of sexual assault is not an easy decision. Sometimes survivors don’t realize the extent to which sexual assault has impacted their lives until they start putting the pieces together with the help of a support group.
Often survivors of sexual assault blame themselves in some way, feel ashamed to say anything, have been threatened to remain silent, or think they won’t be believed. The result can be silence, which may result in depression, anxiety, fear, ongoing flashbacks, difficulty trusting others, alcohol and drug abuse, sleeping problems, self-harm and misdirected anger.
Many survivors of sexual assault who have participated in REACH support groups note that it was a significant positive step toward taking their life back and moving towards healing.
One survivor said, “To look into the eyes of others who understand what it means to be sexually assaulted, be believed, share one another’s pain, and growth, ask questions, and be given options to grow and heal is a life changing experience.”
If you or someone you know is interested in becoming part of the new women’s support group, please contact the REACH office, 743-9777. REACH staff will meet one to one in July and August with women interested in learning more about this support group.
REACH has been serving Oxford County and the towns of Bridgton and Harrison since 1982, offering crisis intervention and support services to victims and survivors, and concerned others, ranging from one-to-one support, to support groups. Services are free and confidential. REACH staffs a 24-hour sexual assault help line (1-800-871-7741 for Oxford County; 1-800-213-6937 for the towns of Bridgton and Harrison), which is available to individuals who have been sexually assaulted recently, or some time in the past.
Advocates can also accompany sexual assault victims to the hospital and provide support to a victim and family through the legal process. Trained REACH Educators offer age appropriate safety programs for students in elementary through high school, and community education;
REACH also has a lending library on site.