24.3 C
Byron Shire
September 25, 2022

A safe space for sexual assault survivors

Latest News

West Byron flooding

All east coast communities are now daily regularly warned by the ABC radio/TV, by the Bureau of Meteorology, to...

Other News

Who’s a good dog?

Guide Dogs Australia has today revealed the best performing fundraising collection dogs, with Coles Mackay in Queensland taking out the honour of having the top fundraising coin Collection Dog in the country. Liverpool won the NSW category.

Surf life savers return

The red and yellow is back on NSW beaches with more than 20,000 surf life saving volunteers ready to welcome beachgoers for the official beginning of patrol season.

Drop-in info sessions tomorrow re Ballina temporary housing

Anyone with questions about the second state government temporary housing village for flood and landslide survivors in the Ballina Shire can attend a drop-in information session on Wednesday.

Locals on top at Byron Bay’s BJJ Open

Local teams blitzed the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Spring Australian Open held at the Cavanbah Centre over the weekend. The...

Double demerit warning from police

Police are encouraging road users to take care while travelling on NSW roads, ahead of the National Day of Mourning for Queen Elizabeth II and the start of the September school holidays.

Interview with Lisa Cowan, founder and executive producer of Art Byron

Love or fear and the Art of Byron The inaugural art gathering for Art Byron has been waiting for two...

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

Odd row of lights

Just following up the letter from Sarah Smith in the August 31 issue. It was a Starlink satellite train. My webcam captured the scene. Michael...

Trampling of the graves of the murdered: reply to Will Liley

As I read Will Liley’s response to my article in dedication to my late uncle, I recalled the poem in Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s novel Clandestine in Chile:

Murwillumbah mega-school merger public meeting on Monday

Opposition to the merger of the four Murwillumbah Schools, which includes two primary and two high schools, remains strong. Monday will see Leader of the NSW opposition MP Chris Minns and local MP Janelle Saffin joining concerned parents, students and community members at a town hall meeting in Murwillumbah on Monday at 5.30pm.

Byron Council looking at rain damage

Byron Shire Council says they have staff out and about across the Shire today assessing damage from the rain.