Coming together for healing and hope
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The Rape Victim Advocacy Program at the University of Iowa is offering a Women’s Sexual Violence Support Group beginning Wednesday, June 18 and continuing until Wednesday, Aug. 6.
The support group, which is free and open to any interested women, will take place from 6 to 8 p.m. each Wednesday at the RVAP offices, located at 332 S. Linn St., Suite 100 in Iowa City.
Each session will include discussion, activities, and information on topics related to survivor healing including issues of self-esteem, anger, intimacy, and self-care.
The goal of the group is to provide information, help participants process this information and their feelings related to these topics, and help them gain support and insight from others who are dealing with similar issues.
Britte Garrett, the RVAP Johnson County services coordinator, will facilitate the group. Garrett is a certified rehabilitation counselor who has a master’s degree in Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling from the University of Iowa College of Education.
—Britte Garrett, certified rehabilitation counselor and College of Education alumna in rehabilitation and mental health counseling
Her co-facilitator will be Erin Maher, who is currently an intern and volunteer advocate at RVAP as well as a candidate for a master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy who received her Bachelor of Science in psychology from the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. They anticipate limiting the group to eight individuals.
“We hope these support groups provide a place for finding support and empowerment among others who understand the impact that sexual trauma can have, as well as the hope and beauty in healing,” says Garrett.
Garrett adds that while RVAP provides support, survivors do the real healing work themselves.
“The potential for and power of that healing lies within the strong individuals who have overcome this type of violence,” Garrett says. “We feel that groups provide a way for survivors to connect with one another and gain strength by sharing their personal stories of courage and hope.”
Those who are interested in participating should contact the RVAP office at 319-335-6001 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. Though free, Garrett and Maher encourage those who wish to participate to contact them in advance so that they can ask a few questions in order to gain understanding of what people want out of group and to gauge the potential members and dynamic of the group.
Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all UI-sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires a reasonable accommodation in order to participate in this program, call RVAP in advance at 319-335-6001.
RVAP is a comprehensive sexual abuse response center based in Iowa City that provides support, information, and advocacy to members of the UI community and citizens of the following areas: Cedar, Des Moines, Henry, Iowa, Johnson, Lee, Van Buren, and Washington counties.
Following are RVAP Sexual Abuse Hotlines: The local, 24-hour Rape/Sexual Abuse Crisis Line is 319-335-6000 for Cedar, Iowa, Johnson and Washington Counties; the 24-hour S.E. Regional Sexual Abuse Hotline is 1-800-228-1625; and the 24-hour Iowa Sexual Abuse Hotline is 1-800-284-7821.
Business lines are as follows: RVAP Office Business: 319-335-6001; Des Moines County (Burlington) Business Line: 319-541-9554; Henry County (Mt. Pleasant) Business Line is 319-541-9809; and Lee and Van Buren Counties (Fort Madison, Keokuk, and Keosauqua) Business Line is 319-541-0963.