I got an email the other day from a fellow survivor who had tried to start a Meetup group of survivors in his area.
My name is Timothy and I’m a survivor of child abuse. I’m contacting you from Dupage county IL. About four months ago I started a support group and let it grow on its own. I’ve seen a few people come and go but no one has really stuck around. I’m not a trained therapist or councilor. I’m just another survivor. The group is a peer to peer group. The group can be found on the web site www.meetup.com. The problem is that people sign up and never actually attend meetings or they attend one meeting and thats it. One or two people started out as regulars but it seemed like they were pushed into attending. When it seemed like they were starting to open up they stopped coming. I’m at
the point were I believe that if I wish to grew the group and really do some good I have to go outside of meetup.com. I can’t tell if you do any work in my area or have any suggestion of who I might be able to contact. I’m hoping that your group and or other similar groups might be able to get the word out. Please email me back and let me no your thoughts on the matter. Thank you for your assistance.
His experience is something that I know many survivors who try to create groups, whether in person or online, have had. I wish I had an answer. If I did the online network I’ve tried to build wouldn’t be floundering, and I wouldn’t seriously be considering just shutting it down. There’s something about being committed to a peer-to-peer group without burning out that is difficult for survivors. Even when you have a good group going, it can be very hit and miss as to whether it continues. We all have lives outside the group, and we can’t always be focused on keeping it going, so it requires having a large enough base to be able to continue on without one or two of the regulars when they can’t be there. But, how do you get that base of members? Good question!
Has anyone out there gotten even a small group of local people together to support one another, or even just be social with other people who understand what it’s like to go through what we have? I’d love to hear your advice, and I’m sure Timothy would as well!