BERWICK – A support group for childhood sexual abuse survivors is hosting an upcoming event to raise funds to help them help the community.
Survivors of Abuse Recovering, also known as SOAR, is a Kentville-based support organization which offers peer-led confidential support groups for survivors –male, female trans, gender-queer or otherwise – across the province, and provides extensive weeks-long training programs for group leaders.
The fundraising event will be held Oct. 13 at the Kings Mutual Century Centre in Berwick for the organization’s twenty-fifth anniversary, and will feature a dinner and silent-auction.
All funds raised will go toward helping the non-profit pay its regular bills and also expand its paid coordinator position, according to chair and founding member Karen Martin.
“Our coordinator position will increase from seven to 10 paid hours per week, which means we will be able to better-reach people, and ensure we don’t miss survivors’ calls,” says Martin.
Rita van Vulpen is a retired community mental health nurse and has been involved with SOAR for nearly two decades. She says a missed call can mean ongoing, untreated trauma for survivors who’ve never yet spoken out about the sexual abuse they endured.
She says this is why more funding and more coordinating hours will serve the organization and the survivors it supports so well.
“Here is an organization with people who’ve gone through that experience and recovery, who can now come from the perspective of having walked in their shoes,” says van Vulpen.
“When people make the call, you need to address it immediately. That moment of bravery is lost if we aren’t able to answer right away.”
Martin hopes some funds can also go toward assisting with things like travel costs and alternative transportation for SOAR group members to access meetings.
“Not only does it help the client, it helps the family, the client’s workplace – peer support is a powerful tool, and helps the survivor in all aspects of their life,” says Martin.
“Survivors aren’t going away because abuse is still happening. So we need to be in the business of staying in business so we can continue helping people.”
To contact SOAR about their peer-support services and/or this event, phone (902) 679-7337.