About The program, Advance!, developed by Rachel Davis, CFLE and Rebecca Born, LISW, MSW specifically for survivors of child sexual abuse. To Learn more please visit Connectionssp.org
In this program, victims of childhood sexual abuse and trauma are encouraged to 1 recognize false beliefs, 2 take responsibility for their lives, 3 acknowledge how the wound of child sexual abuse has transformed into a collection of false beliefs, and 4 how to exchange this wound for a more authentic self; the self that allowed them to survive and will also allow them to be restored beyond mere recovery.
In 2013 I received a facilitator certificate for Advance, support group material which provides tangible activities for survivors to undertake in a group setting. As a certified facilitator with Advance, I have extended my already far reaching knowledge of child sexual abuse to include this restoration model and the restoration ranges.
This model is a step beyond merely recovering, as survivors recognize their own negative self perception. This step is followed by discovering an awareness of personal strengths that allowed them to survive, which include developing negative believes. This process offers a counter truth, which ultimately can restore survivors to their authentic identity where abuse happened to them, but does not define them.
We truly can be restored. While every individual survivor has a process and pace unique to them, the proposition that restoration is possible, truly shifts the paradigm of recovery. Healing amongst those with lived experience in an environment with a skilled facilitator has been life changing for many including myself.
My decision to use the Advance program is an exciting opportunity to couple my ability and knowledge with a structured collection of activities that is in agreement with my own experience of child sexual abuse. We do not just recover. The motive can be for an even greater reward. We can recover and go on from that point to be restored to the whole person we were and are despite having experienced child sexual abuse.
Please read on below for more information about Advance and why consider joining a support group.
Online 8 Week Support Group.
Healing and Recovery Support Group.
The Advance 8 week support group model, group meetings using the Internet to meet.
Meeting time: Wednesdays 6:30 pm - 8:30pm,
Dates: Next Online group starts in March, 2014*
Register now at Svava@educate4change.com
For Women Only. Group limit is 6 members
Facilitator: Svava Brooks
Fee: $35 per 2hr group. ($280 for 8 meetings)
Other requirements: $20 course materials and $30 private session before the start of group (30 minutes over the phone or the internet)
Internet access with web camera and microphone is required to participate.
To register please email Svava@educate4change.com or call 619-889-6366
* Meeting dates for the 8 weeks. March 19, 26, April 2, 9, 16, 30, May 7, 14.
The effects of Child Sexual Abuse
While the effects of child sexual abuse, as social cancer are tragic, it can be deadly as a psychosocial cancer within the survivor.1
There are 60 million survivors of child sexual abuse in America today.2 One in four women and one in six men are sexually abused by the age of 18. For these survivors, the risk of re-victimization is doubled. Of these survivors who experienced incest, two thirds are subsequently raped.3
One of the greatest tragedies of child sexual abuse, is that criminal perpetrators are often viewed as totally blameless by a survivor still in the grips of active trauma and often throughout their lives. The victim actually views him or herself as responsible for the crime.
In what other criminal scenario is the victim so apt to assume responsibility?
This is perhaps due, in large part to the fact that 93% of juvenile sexual abuse victims know their attacker, 58.7% are acquaintances, 34.2% are family members, and only 7% of perpetrators are strangers.4 According to the FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin only 1-10% of child sexual abuse survivors ever disclose, making child sexual abuse one of the most under-reported crimes in our country. This disclosure rate is similar to that of rape, which statistics show is often an aftershock of child sexual abuse.5
Well meaning people simply may not have the words to deal with child sexual abuse as a social phenomena, let alone as a means to assisting survivors. Their silence, however, can further alienate survivors. Our society sends the message that there is not space in the world for survivors to release the, often volatile, pain of child sexual abuse. Statistics prove, however, that the wound left untreated and unexamined infects all areas of the survivor’s life.
Survivors develop a myriad of negative beliefs in addition to thinking they are at fault. These beliefs can develop into subsequent mental illnesses. Harsh diagnosis of a survivors symptoms can further stigmatize the victim in later life. Survivors who self medicate with an increased use of drugs and/or alcohol may also obscure the core psychological condition to an untrained observer (even, and often within, the medical community), due to the survivor not disclosing the triggering event of their psychological difficulties.
The fact that survivors do not disclose their abuse, combined with the statistical probability that the abuse is perpetrated by those close to them, has severe consequences for interpersonal relationships. Survivors low self worth can draw them to seek out abusive relationships throughout their lives. This fuels their inability to form stable interpersonal relationships and creates yet another diagnostic symptom that can categorize the victim as innately flawed.
The resistance to recovery is fueled by a multitude of reasons. Unfortunately many survivors, for some of the reasons already noted, are given the message that they are somehow sick. This validates the message from childhood that they actually deserved the abuse. It can also further fuel their resistance to recovery, which creates an internal cycle of resistance to heal.
In the area of child sexual abuse, “recovery” can also simply become the management of perceived biologically rooted symptoms. When the effects of trauma on a survivors thinking are left unaddressed, recovery can end up feeling like simply treading water in an ocean of uncomfortable perceptions and sensations with no goal in sight. This lack of a restorative objective diminishes the long term incentive to undertake what is a difficult journey to wholeness.
My use of restorative tools as a prevention educator, recovery mentor, and a survivor of child sexual abuse, gives me a unique perspective into the healing journey. Addressing the false beliefs that develop around child sexual abuse as a core trauma is at the root of the work that I do as a group facilitator. This inevitably sheds light on the subsequent difficulties that arise in a survivors life. Most importantly, it helps to define a healing trajectory with a goal of returning the survivor to a sense of authentic self not just a trauma survivor.
Working within a group of people who have the shared experience of child sexual abuse creates a shared reality that complete restoration is possible. It is simply accomplished in stages, some of which are incredibly painful, but with validation and support, members learn to acknowledge their strengths and new believes at different stages.
While I am not a therapist, I have a 20 years of recovery experience and 10 years experience as a co-founder of NGO (dedicated to the prevention of child sexual abuse) and as a certified CSA prevention instructor and group facilitator.
I have presented on this challenging issue in front of thousands of adults and teenagers. I give hope and new possibility of restoration for victims. For others, I model that only by accepting the discomfort and vulnerability that we feel when we start to talk about how children are being victims of sexual abuse we also find our courage and strength to change. And working together we can do what is right to stop the cycle of violence in our families.
This informs how I facilitate and mentor. I create and hold a space that allows survivors to feel safe and supported. Survivors can sometimes displace much of their anxiety and anger onto the person helping them. I am someone who understands the recovery process and can remain open and available when this very natural response does occur.
My decision to use the Advance program is an exciting opportunity to couple my ability and knowledge with a structured collection of activities that is in agreement with my own experience of child sexual abuse and the healing journey. We do not just recover. The motive can be for an even greater reward. We can recover and go on from that point to be restored to the whole person we were and are despite having experienced child sexual abuse.
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1 Retrieved from http://www.acestudy.org
2 Retrieved from http://www.Parents for Megan's Law and the Crime , Victims Center
3 Herman, J. Trauma and Recovery: From Domestic Abuse to Political Terror, Basic Book, USA, 1992.
4 Herman, J. Trauma and Recovery: From Domestic Abuse to Political Terror, Basic Book, USA, 1992.
5 Retrieved from http://www.FBI study