Hi! My name is Abi and I would like to welcome you to The Thursday Group blog!

If you are looking for support and information about healing from sexual abuse, you have come to a good place. You might have come to this blog because someone you know has been sexually abused or you might be here because you’ve been sexually abused yourself. Either way, you could still have some uncomfortable, difficult, or scary feelings about what happened. It is wonderful that you are looking for more information and support. If you are like me, just thinking about the topic of sexual abuse can be stressful.You may want to take a few minutes right now and notice your breathing. If you are holding your breath, or taking quick shallow breaths, see if you can take a deep breath into your belly, letting your stomach go out as you breath in. When you breath out, just let the air flow out slowly and easily. Take another slow easy breath into your belly, and then let the air flow out slowly. If you want to, slowly take three or four more breaths, making your stomach expand like a balloon each time you breath in, and relax each time you breath out. Inside yourself, just say hello gently to your body and any feelings you are noticing. Look at some of the things that are around you wherever you are. Breathing, and noticing things around you like this, is something I learned about when I was in a support group with four other middle school girls in my town who had been sexually abused. I wrote The Thursday group to hopefully make things easier for others. This blog tells about the book (including messages from the other characters and sample chapters to read or listen to), and where you can order it. You will also find links to other good books and web sites. If you start to notice that your breathing becomes uneven or really fast, or your heart feels like it is pounding in your chest or you get dizzy or feel unreal; please, get up from the computer or iphone, look at the things that are around you, and go find or call that trusted adult. If you don’t have an adult in your life that you can talk to, please call a hotline number.

I am a fictional character, but I was created out of the very real feelings and experiences of the girls PeggyEllen and Kimber used to be, and the girls they have known.

We hope that this blog and book will help you heal.


Need to talk to someone or report abuse? Call: 1-800-4ACHILD or 1-800-422-4458

The person who answers your call can help you figure out what to do and how to get help. If you call from a land line instead of a cell phone, the call will be free and will not show on a phone bill.

Monday, July 26, 2010

What happens if you don't tell?

Bad things have to be worked through in some way. If you feel like you can’t share the abuse with anyone, you can’t truly work through it, and it doesn’t get any better. When you try to hold the feelings about the abuse inside your body, they only leak out in anger problems, substance abuse, depression, nightmares, flashbacks, or illness.

As hard as it may be to ask for help, you deserve it! Keep asking for help until you find someone who believes you, values you, and helps you to heal.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Stevie's Place Talk and Book Signing

In April I gave a talk at Stevie's Place, the Children's Advocacy Center in Fairbanks, Alaska. There was no Children's Advocacy Center in Fairbanks when I was growing up, and my family and I really could have used one. I decided to talk about that and about how it was for me to be kidnapped and molested at gunpoint when I was eleven. I wanted to talk about it in a way that would not be traumatic for me or my audience. I didn't want to get overwhelmed with old feelings. I decided to do what Kimber and I did in The Thursday Group, that is, break up the story with ideas and suggestions for coping with difficult feelings. As I talked, I walked back and forth, letting the left side of the room hold the past, and the right side hold present time. When I was on the present time side, I reminded myself and the audience to take some slow, deep breaths, letting our bellies expand. When I was on the left side of the room I talked about my fear and bravery that day. I walked to the right and talked about the work of therapy, and how when I look back at what happened, healing images have been woven into the difficult memories.

It felt amazing and wonderful to be there talking, speaking openly, looking at the faces of my family and friends and others I didn't know. Back in the days after the kidnapping and assault happened, I had been told not to talk about it. Nowadays we know how healing it is for people to be able to talk about the traumatic, confusing, or disturbing things that we experience. Unfortunately, sexual abuse and assault are still taboo subjects. They are seldom spoken of in our society compared to how often they happen. That is one reason Kimber and I wrote The Thursday Group.We wanted to make it easier for people to talk about.

I'd like to get more comfortable with the topic, myself. It is one thing to write a book and a whole other thing to speak. The talk I gave at Stevie's Place felt like a good step in that direction.

I am so thankful for the work that the people at Stevie's Place and the other Children's Advocacy Centers (CACs) do to make it easier for teens and children to get support if they are abused or assaulted. If you are wondering if there is a CAC in your area, please look here:

Haven House CAC Event

Our first public speaking and book signing event was held in Homer, Alaska, at the Homer Public Library on June 16, 2009. We joined Jessica Lawmaster, the Director of the Child Advocacy Center in Homer, for a promotion of both the CAC and the book. Near the beginning, Kimber passed out stones from the beach that her children had collected. Talking about and thinking about child sexual abuse often brings up uncomfortable feelings. Kimber invited the audience to imagine any difficult emotions flowing into the stones in their hands.  At the end of the program she offered to collect the stones and return them to the ocean. PeggyEllen read a part in the The Thursday Group where the girls are learning about breathing.  The narrator, Abi, says "We do this in choir. Our choir director tells us to breath low." It was fun to see our local choir director in the audience smiling when he heard his words quoted by one of our characters.