PARIS — Beginning in March, Sexual Assault Prevention & Response Services will begin a new support group for women who have experienced sexual assault, whether as a child or an adult, recently or in the past.

The group will meet weekly in the South Paris area for 20-30 weeks, at no cost. The dates and times of the meetings will be based on the availability of participants.

The group uses the book “The Courage to Heal,” by Laura Davis, as a basis for discussions.

Making the choice to talk with others who also have gone through the trauma of sexual assault is not an easy decision. Sometimes survivors don’t realize the extent to which sexual assault has impacted their lives until they start putting the pieces together with the help of a support group.

Often survivors of sexual assault blame themselves in some way, feel ashamed to say anything, have been threatened to remain silent or think they won’t be believed. The result can be silence, which may result in depression, anxiety, fear, flashbacks, difficulty trusting others, alcohol and drug use, sleeping problems, self-harm and misdirected anger.

Many survivors of sexual assault who have participated in SAPARS support groups note that it was a significant positive step towards taking their life back and moving towards healing.

If you or someone you know is interested in becoming part of the new women’s support group, contact the South Paris office at 743-9777. Before the first group meeting, SAPARS staff will meet one to one with each woman interested in learning more about this support group.

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