Starting Tuesday September 17 

"Gifts to Myself" eight week time limited a peer support group for female-identified sexual abuse survivors.

"Gifts to Myself" is a topic-oriented group, open to female-identified survivors of any kind of sexual abuse. These sessions are trauma-informed, survivor-sensitive and LGBTQ+ affirming

"I have to keep coming back. I have to be here for women like you."

-Anonymous support group participant

"I've done other support groups. How is a peer support group different?"

No experts: Everyone in the group identifies as someone with personal experience with the issue. No experts= everyone is an expert!  

Shared vulnerability: Everyone shares. This doesn't usually happen in an agency based group, led by a staff person.  

Trauma-sensitive: No one knows gets you like people who have been through what you've been through.  

No mental health focus: There is no discussion of mental health diagnoses or therapeutic practices. That's your business, not the focus of this group.

Present tense focus: We focus on what's happening now. Peer support groups tend to have more of a coaching feel, not a therapeutic one.

No"screenings": There is also no need to "prove" your survivor history by writing or talking about it. 

"Some things need to be told."

-Anonymous support group participant

 What You Can Expect:

mug of coffee with the word "begin" on mug

You can also...

come late!

not talk!

leave early!

We meet for 8 weeks, starting Tuesday evening 9.17. Each week will feature a different topic. Some of our topics include:

  • personal boundaries including how to say "no"
  • healthy intimacy
  • parenting as a survivor
  • self-talk including a conversation around body image
  • difficult emotions (anger, shame, loneliness, etc.)
  • the "right" people aka Your Money Team

"Other people don't do what we do here. We're brave."  

-Anonymous support group participant

About The Group Facilitator:

Elizabeth M. Johnson, MA is a rape survivor, trauma educator, writer and peer support advocate in private practice based in Durham, North Carolina. She specializes in helping people understand how sexual abuse affects sexual and reproductive health.

Elizabeth has worked with abuse survivors for 15 years including at three different human services agencies. In those capacities, she has coordinated training and education for community partners and volunteers on abuse dynamics, lethality assessment and crisis intervention. Elizabeth has also managed a 24 hour domestic violence crisis line, training and overseeing 50 agency volunteers, including students. The undergraduate volunteers she once managed have since gone onto careers in medicine, social work, teaching and the law.

Elizabeth did her undergraduate work at University Connecticut in Storrs and holds a Masters of Arts degree in Women's Studies from Southern Connecticut State University. She lives with her family in Durham.  


Where: Dress for Success Triangle - 1720 Guess Rd Suite 14 Durham

When: 8 weeks starting 9/17, 630-830 pm

Parking: plentiful, well-lighted parking in front of DFS office

What to bring: You! Beverage, food, lap babies are also welcome.

You can come to all eight sessions or only one session. You do not need to register in advance. It's okay to just show up!