What interesting timing to be leading a Sexual Abuse Survivor Group this fall right at the same moment of this #metoo campaign and this political backdrop of exposing the secrecy that shrouds sexual abuse, assault, and harassment. Survivors that I see have had a variety of responses to this social media campaign, ranging from triggering to enlightening, validating, and empowering.
I always pay attention to timing and signals both external and internal. These signals often help me to gauge if I am in alignment and flow. When lots of things connect and there are lots of “oh now that” moments, it feels to me like I am doing the work I need to do at this time. This “alignment” is a key component of the Emerge Process.
Thus when my client came in earlier this fall and said that she wanted to share her story in our survivor group, there was this resonance of “of course”. For starters, our theme for the coming week was self-trust. And this client having a clear internal directive that it was time to share her story was a wonderful example to reconnecting to self trust. There is a definitive rupture of self trust after abuse of any kind. Embedded in a sexual abuse dynamic is messaging that you can’t trust your body. This messaging is sometimes given directly by the offender “Oh you like this,” by the family or community (being allies with the offender) or by the use of denial and avoidance by the offender, the family system and/or society at large.
An amazing sisterhood has developed in this group. We wrapped up our time together last night in a beautiful game that I created called “Pass the Rainbow.” I wanted each woman to receive light and hope to take with them so they might use this light in their dark moments. My dear friend and movement student Christy Goldsby, founder of Honey Mamas, gave us a gorgeous rainbow pack of her chocolate and I sliced each bar in small bites and placed a lovely colorful bar in front of each lovely colorful woman. Then we started with one woman and began to shine all the light on that woman. I began by leading a little meditation calling that woman into the room – her presence, her essence, her courage, her healing. Then, we went around the circle and the women shared what they witnessed of the called upon woman. They blessed her with their hopes for her particular healing. And then we toasted that woman by nurturing ourselves together with a little square of beautiful chocolate. Next, we “passed the rainbow” by passing the bars to the right and beginning with the next woman to “receive her light”. It was a powerful closing circle, complete with standing in the power of our own light as women, as women supporting women, and, as survivors.
Here the seed of Emerge Empower was born. This program will begin again in January with more brave survivors reclaiming their bodies, their sexuality, and their lives in a profound process of movement, dialogue, connecting, and sharing.