Group to help assault survivors find healing

Adrienne Oliva, Editor in Chief

A support group for survivors of sexual assault is being created on the Madison College campus.
The group “is designed for anyone who has been impacted by sexual violence at any point in their life,” explained Annette Haas, Madison College’s campus counselor from the Rape Crisis Center and organizer of the support group.

Haas hopes that members of the group will have a shared sense of “I’m not the only one who’s been through this, and I am not the only one who is working towards healing.”

According to Haas, having a support group like this on campus is important because it eliminates some hurdles college students encounter when trying to access these types of services, such as a lack of transportation and working around a busy class schedule.

“Accessibility is a big thing. The more barriers there are to receiving services, the more likely people aren’t going to be able to take advantage of those. So if we can eliminate some barriers, that makes it a better service for people,” said Haas.

Haas was inspired to start a group at Madison College after her past success hosting a similar support group at Edgewood College.

“The support group I’ve done over at Edgewood College gave a space for students to connect with other survivors and could relate to others’ experiences.” explained Haas.

Unlike a traditional support group, Haas wants to teach skills that the members of the group can use in their life to help work towards healing.

“I wanted to bring a little bit more of a skills based component to it, so that people feel like when they’re done, ‘ok, I got something out of this and I can go continue this journey on my own.’”

Haas believes that both components of being able to share with others who have experienced similar thing and learning the coping skills were important to her past group she held at Edgewood.

“We were able to talk and learn of some coping skills, but then they could relate to each other. And sometimes it meant more coming from one of their own peers than from a counselor. So I could give them skills and tools and then they could just flow with it.”

Haas believes that this support group could be a powerful addition to the Madison College campus.

“Support groups can be very invaluable,” said Haas. “Having a group of people who have experienced … something similar who can understand and tell them ‘I felt that way, too. I’ve been going through this on my own, as well.’ Having that kind of a shared community can be powerful.”
The support group is set to begin in mid-March, and will run for six weeks. Those interested in joining the support group can contact Annette Haas at [email protected].