Support groups with women

Yes, it went well. A few people came up to me and thanked me for my "share." However no one self-identified as CSA. Perhaps next week. A few who normally talk to me seemed to shy away. Perhaps I am reading too much into things. We shall see.
 
I'm not quite sure why I'd need to be in a 12-step group. A support group for survivors seems much more useful and potentially helpful for me.
What is so helpful about 12 Step groups is no doubt what you would hope to find in a survivors group... there is great respect for one another's experience, so it is possible to speak honestly about your experience without others judging you or giving you unwanted advice. You speak into silence and what you share is received with respect, much as happens here. And even though the focus of 12 Steps is some behavior members find problematic, such as overeating, or under-eating, or drinking, or drug use... you can pretty much count on the fact those behaviors are a manifestation of some form of early trauma. You may have noticed that quite a few men who post here reference their problems with food, alcohol and drugs. There are also 12 Step fellowships for folks addicted to sexual acting out which is probably an issue for many on this website.

Of course, if you're not troubled by any of those issues or if you prefer to not talk about them at a 12 Step meeting that is your choice. I know I've had problems with sexual acting out and found attending SLAA useful and I know I have problems with food so attending OA has been helpful. Neither led me to release from the CSA but both helped me come to a place where I might find release. I've attended groups for survivors but they did't solve my problems either... though at this point on my journey I believe such a group would be incredibly valuable. I hope you find what you're seeking in the group you plan to attend. I'll be interested in hearing what your experience is. I KNOW that having this website as a resource is incredibly important to me. Telling the truth to other men is remarkably healing.
 
@learning2remember - I'm so glad you had a good experience with the YWCA. That was heartwarming to read.

That organization should be burned to the ground.

I'm not sure about that. It may be true with sexual assault and abuse, but it is definitely not the case with organizations that deal with domestic violence. The Violence Against Women Act allows organizations to discriminate against men in their programming, and most do.

The group I'm attending is at a rape crisis center that accepts men. They don't like to, necessarily, but they do. There's no indication from any of their materials or their website that they accept male clients and I find that's pretty usual. These places don't advertise they serve men, so no men bother showing up and they're fine with that.
Very good points. I agree with you that even organizations that might theoretically accept men do not advertise that and, in effect, deter men from coming to them. Mainly, I guess, I was thinking of a Newsweek article several years ago in which the author and another feminist were blaming the Roman Catholic abuses on men, while the various victims advocate groups in the article didn't seem to go there.
 

Ferguson

Registrant
As accepting as my 12 step group is, it isn't the place for too much detail about CSA. The best part about it for me is : the only person who can decide if you belong there is you (me) - this is the first time I'm in an environment where there are people who were CSA and those who were not where I feel like I belong. They encourage therapy outside if you need it, but here in the UK it seems to be like looking for a needle in a haystack.
 
We read the second half of the Fourth Step in the OA 12x12 this morning and I hesitated to share but eventually did. I said I'm dealing with early abuse issues and have not shared this "outside issue" at an OA meeting, but I've found a place where I can tell the complete truth about my experience... meaning this website, of course, though I didn't mention it in my share. I also noted that folks dealing with abuse are often struggling in their relationship with food as well. That is as far as I'm comfortable going at the group level, but I spent time after the meeting with a woman who has serious sexual abuse history with her father and brother, details of which she hasn't shared. I believe what I shared resonated with her. We had a rather tender conversation walking to a nearby library.

If there were a Survivors of Incest meeting available to me I'd likely attend, even if I were in the minority.
 
Thanks for sharing that, @Visitor, and by that I mean not just the above story but also sharing about your abuse in your group. It sounds like your willingness to be open about yourself helped at least one other person there.

I'd like it if I could help someone else like you did.
 
So I went. It wasn't what I expected actually. There were only four of us survivors there, along with two therapists. There WAS another man there, which I felt grateful for, so there was an even split of men and women.

Beyond saying my name and how I was feeling at the very beginning of the meeting, I would not have had to say or share anything else at all if I didn't want to. We discussed "personal boundaries" which was actually pretty useful for me. I got some handouts. There was a lot of silence, and almost no crosstalk.

I guess I might as well admit that I was incredibly, incredibly frightened before the group started. Like, vomiting frightened. But once I said my name and that I was feeling very scared, I started to feel better. There was another new person there, and she was also frightened. I didn't know the other people, but I felt like I kind of understood them, if that makes any sense. And when I did share about my sexual abuse, I felt like they heard me and understood, even if they hadn't been through exactly the same thing.

There was one moment when one of the women who attended said something that made it clear that she thought rape was a women's problem, only to be gently corrected by one of the therapists. That was good.

Anyway, I feel like it was helpful enough that I plan to go back next week.
 
Oh crap - I meant to come back to this, but I totally forgot! My apologies, gentlemen!

I went to my support group last Wednesday and it was much, much better than the previous week. It pretty much convinced me that there ARE people IRL who get it, who've been there, who are there now, who are feeling the same things as me. Men AND women.

Four survivors (including me) again with two therapists. The guy from last week was back, with two new women. The topic was "Anger," but we didn't really talk about anger except in the ways our abuse made us really angry. There was a discussion of sex, and how none of us could really "do" it - and we all really, really wanted so much to experience it in the way that non-traumatized people do. That was a really hard conversation, but I know I'm not alone. And it was incredibly valuable to see that in real life there DOES seem to be a place where men's and women's experience can align. I felt like I really heard and understood how hard it was for the women in the group to say "no" to their partners even though they couldn't feel anything, and I felt like they really heard and understood me when I said how men were always supposed to be up and ready for sex. And the other man in the group is gay, and the "always turned on" aspect for HIM was a LOT worse, which I never considered before.

So there were many, many things to think about, but also I am just so, so grateful I got to experience and share. Hearing and being heard - I never expected it to be so powerful, but it is.

Looking forward to tomorrow's meeting very much.
 
Thanks for the report. I'm in conversation with a women I've known for many years through the Overeaters Anonymous fellowship about starting a meeting for survivors. She told me just a bit about her incest experiences and I've given her the cliff notes of mine, but what form the meeting will take is unclear. This would be a leaderless group which might make it too frightening for some people to attend. We would definitely need to make safety an important consideration. I also have no idea how we might attract members unless we make it a "special topic" meeting with in OA. But I appreciate hearing about your experience with this group of men and women dealing with trauma. Good luck as you continue this important healing work.
 
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My third visit to support group and there were three men and three women. I am constantly heartened (although it's unfortunate it has to be this way) by the fact that each week I've gone, the numbers of men and women are equal. I assumed before I went that it would always be me plus fourteen women or something like that. That has proven not to be the case.

Due to our talk about sexuality last week, the moderators brought in a list of books about recovering sexuality after abuse. They were very apologetic about the fact that all of the books they were able to find were specifically for women. I got upset, and told everyone that was because there AREN'T any books like that for men, and I should know, because I've been looking for over a year, and it sucks and is completely unfair. I noticed some of the women nodding their heads and one of them spoke out and said, yeah, that really IS unfair and it must be hard.

Yeah. It's unfair. But somehow that validation went a long way. It sucks that we men don't get the same resources as women, and there are at least some women who think it sucks too.
 
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I was in a mixed group once of incest survivors. I was the only male there and felt like a perp just being there as all the women talked about was men in their lives who abused them. After two meetings I quit going and started a men's only group for CSA. Much better.
 
felt like a perp just being there as all the women talked about was men in their lives who abused them
Sounds like that group was poorly run. I don't think that would fly at the group I'm in. Even if it did, I'd certainly say something about it. But I know a lot of guys wouldn't be able to, nor should they have to if the moderators do their job properly.
 

MACH123

Registrant
Oh crap - I meant to come back to this, but I totally forgot! My apologies, gentlemen!

I went to my support group last Wednesday and it was much, much better than the previous week. It pretty much convinced me that there ARE people IRL who get it, who've been there, who are there now, who are feeling the same things as me. Men AND women.

Four survivors (including me) again with two therapists. The guy from last week was back, with two new women. The topic was "Anger," but we didn't really talk about anger except in the ways our abuse made us really angry. There was a discussion of sex, and how none of us could really "do" it - and we all really, really wanted so much to experience it in the way that non-traumatized people do. That was a really hard conversation, but I know I'm not alone. And it was incredibly valuable to see that in real life there DOES seem to be a place where men's and women's experience can align. I felt like I really heard and understood how hard it was for the women in the group to say "no" to their partners even though they couldn't feel anything, and I felt like they really heard and understood me when I said how men were always supposed to be up and ready for sex. And the other man in the group is gay, and the "always turned on" aspect for HIM was a LOT worse, which I never considered before.

So there were many, many things to think about, but also I am just so, so grateful I got to experience and share. Hearing and being heard - I never expected it to be so powerful, but it is.

Looking forward to tomorrow's meeting very much.
I think I'm jealous? I almost stopped by this place where I could theoretically start a meeting but it's all men and I have some history there. IDK if I want to reopen that can of worms.

I have to have women involved though. I seriously don't do any male only things and never have since I realized. I just want to start yelling when people try and tell me about male only things even the therapist and this is one of the big hurdles.

I started talking about it a few years ago and every time they said it has to be men only "of course" I'd feel like a perv and fawn and I really want to scream.

It's just annoying but it's because people are so hooked on labels and categories. I mean real simply women have always been my protectors and I never feel safe except when they're around.

I guess I'll tell the therapist and maybe she'll wake up finally to why I can't go to the WOR things. She started talking about it again this week and and at first I said ok to please her but then, right away I was like no phuck that.

I'm just lazy and resentful too it's like "why do I have to start the group?" I'm the patient you know? lol
 
I seriously don't do any male only things and never have since I realized.
Yeah, I can see how this would be a really big hurdle for a lot of guys. I'd actually prefer a men-only group, but there aren't any around here.

Honestly, it's probably a lot better for my mental health to go to a mixed group since my abuser was a woman, and I'm able to see with my own eyes that "all women aren't like that."
 
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