Support groups

What is the purpose of a support group?

Women who have survived sexual violence very often feel alone with their pain, their experiences and their thoughts. For those unaffected by sexual violence the behaviour and reaction of survivors can sometimes be difficult to understand, and for the survivors it can be harrowing to have to explain themselves again and again.

Many women say how good it is to be part of a support group or a mediated group where you do not have to explain what has happened and what you are going through – because the other group members have survived similar experiences. The group sessions enable women to speak about the difficulties they face as well as the progress they are making, and to provide support and encouragement for each other.

The violence each woman has experienced is not spoken about in detail in either the support groups or the mediated group sessions to ensure that it cannot act as a trigger for other group members. The topics the groups discuss are the consequences of violence and the different ways of overcoming these.

Our group programmes:

Our two counselling centres in Kiel and in Plön offer mediated groups at irregular intervals. Here, we teach resource-oriented mindfulness and imagination exercises which can help to improve emotional stability. Details will be provided on this website when a new group starts.

As part of our services for women who receive welfare and benefits we also offer small group sessions. If you are interested in taking part, please contact a staff member at the centre in Kiel.

Self-organised support groups also meet regularly at our centres. In order to provide a protected atmosphere these groups are usually closed, meaning that new members cannot simply join. If you are interested in participating, please speak to one of our workers; she will organise the initial meeting as soon as there are sufficient women interested in forming a group. Our workers can be contacted throughout the process and can attend a group session to help deal with any difficulties.

We recommend joining a group only once you have tackled the violence you have experienced, for example in therapy. If your recollection of sexual abuse has only recently returned or if the abuse was recent then you may find that listening to others share their experience is still too traumatic.

In Kiel, the KIBIS (contacts, information, advice for self-help) also organises a number of support groups that deal with sexual abuse in childhood. Telephone: 0431 – 67 27 27.