Update: 4/1/20: this group is canceled due to Covid-19.

Starting Tuesday April 14, 2020...

"Gifts to Myself"

...an eight week time limited peer support group for female-identified sexual abuse survivors.

"Gifts to Myself" is a free, 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 has value to contribute. The group facilitator is a volunteer and not paid to facilitate group. 

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

We meet for 8 weeks, starting Tuesday 4.14. Each week will feature a different topic. Some of our topics include:

  • personal boundaries 
  • self-talk including a conversation around body and mind
  • difficult emotions (anger, shame, loneliness, etc.)
  • the "right" people aka Your Money Team

You can expect: Confidentiality, the facilitator's committment to maintaining a safe space for everyone and no hate speech or triggering abuse stories.

There is no cost to attend.

You can also: come late, leave early and not talk!

"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 based in Durham, North Carolina. She helps people understand how sexual abuse affects health and wellness including in intimacy, parenting, dating, perimenopause and reproductive wellness.

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 managed a 24 hour domestic violence crisis line, training and overseeing 50 agency volunteers, including students. 

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 - Durham 1720 Guess Rd Suite 14

When: 8 weeks starting 4/14, 630-830 pm

Parking: Plentiful, free, 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! 

Remind me!