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.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

12th Indian Nations Conference

About one thousand people gathered in Palm Springs, California last week for the 12th National Indian Nations Conference: Justice for Victims of Crime sponsored by the Tribal Law and Policy Institute and the Office for Victims of Crimes. The theme of the conference was "Walking in Harmony: Honoring Victim Voices to Achieve Safety, Justice & Healing." I was honored and grateful to be included as one of the 175 presenters. Just being there in the presence of so many courageous and powerful victims/survivors of sexual abuse, sexual assault and domestic violence was amazing. All of the people attending and participating are dedicated to speaking and working for healing and change, helping people find justice and stay safe. Many spoke clearly and honestly about the terrible things that had happened to them.
My workshop addressed how to talk about a traumatic event in a grounded, healing way.  Telling our stories of abuse or other trauma is an important part of getting help, healing, and trying to prevent the same thing from happening to others. Unfortunately, telling about it can be difficult because it may bring back feelings from when the trauma happened. In my presentation I demonstrated ways to keep from getting sucked back into the memory. We practiced many of the things that the characters in The Thursday group practiced, such as using belly breathing, stomping, and the butterfly hug. 
My mother and my sister-in-law came with me to the conference, which was great. Mom sat at my book table. It was wonderful to hear from people how helpful the book has been in their communities, or how excited they were to be bringing it back to their workplace, or to a family member. My sister-in-law, Laurie, was sunning herself next the pool near a tribal judge who was reading The Thursday Group. She said she planned to order copies of the book to give to girls coming through her court. When Laurie mentioned that the publisher, NEARI press, gives a 40% discount for orders of 40 books or more, the judge said that they could easily use 40 of the books. A number of other participants also said that they would be placing bulk orders.  Kimber and I are soooo thrilled that more and more of the books are getting out into the hands of girls.

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