THE GROUP is essentially concerned with the business of living as survivors of childhood sexual abuse. All of its members will either be attending or will have attended counselling; and that includes the facilitators – who simply book the meeting space, provide us with tea and coffee making facilities, and ensure everyone leaves in a decent frame of mind. It’s very informal, and we often enjoy a good laugh in each other’s company.
The group’s not about disclosure. Sometimes we’ll discuss a topic that affects most or all of us in some way, sometimes one or more of us will share where we’re at, sometimes the discussion is more general and light-hearted. We come to the group as whole people – men with a past as well as a present and a future. We’re a diverse little bunch too – some of us are gay or bisexual, some of us are straight; some have good, steady partnerships and/or family relationships; some don’t. Some of us are able to work, others not, while some are retired. At the moment, we’re mainly middle-aged – but that may change as the group grows and evolves. We have a variety of different backgrounds including cultural and religious influences: the one thing that unites us is that we’re all male survivors, on the road to recovery.
We’re a democratic group – everyone’s encouraged to have a say about what we do. Naturally there are a few limitations, and in particular, SOS expects those with substance addiction issues to be reasonable stable in that respect and, if necessary, take time out of our group in order to achieve such stability. Our group has an important social aspect, and we intend to build upon this by organising occasional social outings. There is no reason at all why our group should not be a source of new, understanding friendships.
Most of all, our group is confidential. What’s said or shared within it remains within it – subject to the usual considerations if others are identified who may be at risk.
Speak Out Scotland service user.
Access to the support group is through an assessment by Speak Out Scotland’s counselling manager.