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February 28, 2013

Group fosters the healing process

Annual SOAR banquet to benefit abused women is Friday

(Continued)

NEW ALBANY —

“I had no place to go so I knew that others had no place to go,” she said. “All of us were at the point that [the abuse] was who we were. It’s not who we are. It’s what happened to us.”

Now SOAR has developed support groups in Harrison and Floyd counties and hopes to expand its services to more communities in the future. People interested can attend one of the bimonthly Thursday night meetings at their headquarters to see if it’s right for them. Once they join, members are asked only to purchase their own session workbook, but the organization does donate materials to those in need.

“We don’t want anybody to not come because they can’t buy the book,” Thomas said. 

Although it is a Christian ministry, the organization welcomes women from every background. Summers said the group understands the spiritual and emotional difficulties associated with recovery. It’s not uncommon for survivors to blame God for allowing their abuse to occur. She added these feelings are perfectly natural, and the group encourages people to explore this anger. 

“How do you reconcile a loving God who allows such suffering? That’s a personal journey that each of us take as Christians,” Summers said. “In fact, we should feel anger in a variety of ways, in a variety of places. And if they feel anger at God, it’s not unhealthy. 

“That’s a part of the healing journey. But in the end, we do believe God is a loving God and it wasn’t his will for this to happen.”

Even with learning guides and experienced leaders, group sessions are no easy task. After living with the secret of the abuse for so long, the healing process doesn’t happen overnight. But Summers, also a survivor, said with time it does start to happen. As with all great journeys, one must take the first step.

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Judy Lunsford works on a lesson plan for her students with fellow teachers, Ellen Rothstein and Adam Stephens, in her classroom at Northaven Elementary in Jeffersonville Wednesday afternoon. Lunsford, a new addition to Northaven, will be teaching second grade.

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