Tonight marked the 6th year of my therapy group for adult survivors of sexual trauma. I don’t know if I can put into words how remarkable I feel these women are and how absolutely honored I am that they have chosen me to support them through their recovery from sexual trauma.

The theme for tonight was growth because no matter what shape or direction it comes in, growth moves us, shifts us, and takes us to a place we haven’t been before. It’s not always a welcome change at first. Once you embrace the discomfort and fear by way of resources of courage and hope, change becomes motivation to get out of the place that imprisons you in pain and torment – stagnancy and defensiveness – even disconnection and numbness, which can often go disguised and rewarded. Behind that facade of aloofness you may feel agonizing loneliness or neglect.

I’ve had nine ladies and one man come through this group. The man didn’t stay, but he was welcomed. Three ladies have left island, five remain. Voluntarily and with fervent enthusiasm for the stability and connection it brings to them through the acknowledgement of similar pain, they remain. This isn’t just an intervention program, this is LIFE the way you must survive it once you have had a trauma such as this. It’s not something you can ever forget or remove from the cells of your body. That’s not to say you can’t heal, grow, or prosper. However, groups like this are what can make the difference between drowning or safely finding shore.

This isn’t the end, but it is a huge milestone. We can’t be sure what will happen next, but I have 100% faith that no matter what, these women will be okay.

Although you don’t know who these women are and they may be faceless to you — remember they exist. They are here in our community where you least expect them. They are successful, they are pretty, they are athletic, they are smart, they are everywhere and they wear masks.

The masks they wear don’t tell the true story, it’s what’s on the inside that haunts those struggling with emotional distress and the echoes of trauma.

Empowerment happens when they decide to risk it and remove the mask – letting the inside out. They are not just empowered, they are STARS!

*we apologize, but balloons were harmed in this group therapy activity!

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