22.6 C
Byron Shire
November 28, 2021

A safe space for sexual assault survivors

Latest News

COVID update: a new Byron case, Aquarius and Community Support Accommodation

The Northern NSW Local Health District says there was one new case of COVID-19 was reported for NNSWLHD to 8pm, November 25. This case is located in the Byron Local Government Area, a traveller from outside the region and e is not associated with the Aquarius Backpackers.

Other News

Entries open for Byron All Shorts

It wouldn't be summer if you didn't sit in a cool, dark theatre and watch the Byron All Shorts program. Local filmmakers are invited to enter their short films to be screened in February as part of Flickerfest 2022 at Mullumbimby Civic Hall.

Two new COVID cases on the Tweed

The Northern NSW Local Health District Northern NSW Local Health District have announced this afternoon that there were two new cases of COVID-19 reported for NNSWLHD to 8pm, November 21.

Entertainment in the Byron Shire for the week beginning 24 November, 2021

Lots of things that are happening in the Byron Shire, all in one place

Public access to Bruns foreshore reduced by Reflections, say residents

Brunswick Heads residents are concerned that the managers of the Terrace Reserve Holiday Park are failing to stick to a court-ordered plan for the park, resulting in a potential loss of public access to the precious Brunswick River foreshore.

Mandy Nolan’s Soapbox: Coming out of the Cave

It was 2018, and in this crisis we witnessed the best that the world can be. We all watched in nervous anticipation as cave diving hobbyists from around the world became experts in a rescue never before attempted. It showed the power of collaboration for a higher purpose. It showed true courage; of the men who risked their lives in the complex underground maze of caves, of the boys who maintained the most incredible calm, and of the parents who never gave up hope.

Developers’ boon

Ballina is experiencing both a housing boom and skyrocketing prices. The developers must be loving it. But unless you’re...

Margot and Joana have created a support group for women who are sexual assault survivors. Photo Tree Faerie.

[TRIGGER WARNING]

Some readers may find the content of this story upsetting.

Eve Jeffery

In a perfect world, the trauma Margot and Joana experienced would not have happened, and there would be no need for the very important support group they have created.

Sadly, tragically, Margot and Joana suffered the terror and trauma of sexual assault, which as federal politics has shown recently, is neither uncommon nor addressed adequately or responsibly.

Margot says they started the #metoo Byron Shire Circle for Women because she and Joana had both looked for a support group for sexual assault survivors in the past and couldn’t find one. ‘In the last month or so we have worked together to create some structure and intentions for the circle and now we are ready to start!’

1 in 5 women have experienced sexual abuse

Margot says this type of group is incredibly important in order to support women who have experienced sexual abuse and to give them space to express themselves. ‘It is so powerful when women come together and share their truth, and connect with each other, build community and feel empowered,’ she said.

‘Statistically, 1 in 5 women have experienced sexual abuse, and this group provides a space to connect with others who can understand and empathize with this type of experience, and understand the level of impact it can have on our lives.’

Joana says that talking about rape and sexual assault is still a taboo, even though so many women and men are affected by it. ‘Rape myths and victim blaming make it even harder for survivors to speak up and deal with their experiences.

‘The group offers a safe, confidential and non-judgemental space where survivors get support and a chance to open up about their experiences,’ she said.

Margot feels that if she had been able to access this type of group in the past she would have felt less alone when she was really struggling. ’It would have helped me to feel more seen and understood in what I was going through.’ she said.

‘It can be really hard for others who have not experienced sexual abuse to know how to be supportive after such a complicated experience and the trauma it leaves behind, even though they have the best intentions.’

An important part of a healing journey

Joana says that when she lived in Brisbane, she was able to access a similar group and it was an important part of her healing journey. ‘I have had great support from my partner, family and friends but no one else will understand you the way another survivor does.

‘There was no need to explain my feelings over and over because they have been through the same thing and knew what I was experiencing. The resilience and strength of the other women was an inspiration to me and reassured me that I can work through my trauma and eventually be truly happy again.’

Margot stresses that the group is a place for support, and peer to peer connection. She is clear that it is not therapy.

‘We encourage people to seek professional help if needed,’ she said. ‘We are happy for people to reach out to us if they would like more information.’

A safe space for women to feel supported

Margot and Joana want to provide a safe space for women who have experienced sexual abuse, and who would like to connect with other women, to feel supported, validated and empowered in their healing journey, however that looks.

‘Women are welcome to join regularly, or on a more spontaneous basis, and it is our intention that they will always be met with acceptance and compassion. Hopefully this #metoo support circle will become known around the Byron Shire and be easily accessible when needed, for as long as it is needed.’

The #metoo Byron Shire Circle is a meeting for women and is a LGBTQ+ friendly event for anyone who identifies as a woman, gender non-conforming or non-binary. They meet every second Thursday in Byron Bay,  6-7pm at Marvell Hall.

There is also a private Facebook group #metoo Byron Shire Circle – or call or text  0490 103 447 for more information.


Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Kingscliff Public School gets long-awaited upgrade

If you were wondering what is happening at Kingscliff Public School, construction is well underway on an upgrade.

Community carers and responders program launched

Following the recent second anniversary of the bushfires that hit our region, Resilient Byron say they are proud to announce the beginning of their...

Leigh Thomas says political affiliations not relevant to Council decision making

Leigh Thomas is the lead candidate for Group M running in the upcoming Tweed Shire Council elections. Mr Thomas is a member of the...

When we get to 95 per cent vaccination, this will happen

Just when we were getting used to the current COVID roadmap, it has changed directions. Adjustments to previous settings scheduled for this milestone were announced yetserday.