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Support Group for Survivors of Sexual Violence

Group goals
  • Members will not feel alone in their experiences, feelings, and reactions.  
  • Members will feel supported.  
  • Members will gain a better understanding of trauma.
  • Members will gain coping strategies.
  • Members will feel able to support others.  
  • Members will feel empowered in their healing process.
About  

This is a confidential support group for those who have experienced sexual violence. It is a space to share and discuss the stressors and concerns related to the aftermath of sexual trauma. Rather than sharing the actual traumatic event(s), discussions will focus on the impact of trauma and the healing process. This is a closed group, which means that once the group begins, additional members cannot join until the following semester when the group opens again. This is necessary to build trust and cohesion between group members, so meetings feel predictable and safe. We will keep a list of students who are interested in joining this group when it opens again next semester. Contact Johanna Malaga, PsyD (jmalaga@med.mit.edu) to put your name on the list and get information on additional resources.  

Who  

Undergraduate and graduate students who have experienced sexual violence are welcomed to join this group. The facilitators are Johanna Malaga, Psy.D., a psychologist and the Trauma Services Coordinator at Student Mental Health & Counseling Services, and Charlotte Zelle, M.Div., a Survivor Advocate on the Violence Prevention & Response Team. 

When  

The group will meet once a week, in person, on Wednesdays from 2–3:30 p.m.  

Where  

Meetings will be held on the third floor of MIT Medical. The room number will be provided to members when they meet with a facilitator before joining the group.   

How can I join?  

You’ll begin with a one-on-one conversation with a group facilitator, who will provide more detailed information about the group and explore whether you would benefit from participating. This screening conversation will consider your goals and current needs. Depending on where an individual is in their healing process, a group such as this can be helpful or harmful, and it’s important that group participants be at a point in which the group experience will enhance their wellbeing rather than jeopardize it. If this group is not a good fit for you, the facilitator will share other appropriate resources. 

If you would like to schedule a screening conversation, please contact Student Mental Health & Counseling Services at 617-253-2916 and request a screening for this support group with Johanna Malaga, PsyD.  

Reasons this group may or may not be a good fit for a student 

Reasons this group may be a good fit  

Reasons this group may not be a good fit  

You are looking for community.  

You want to process the actual traumatic event(s) in a group setting.  

You want to connect with other survivors.  

Sharing in this context may cause your symptoms to worsen.   

You already have some coping skills in place but want more.  

Your experience with sexual violence has been very recent and you may first need to build some coping skills or connect with other resources before joining.  

You can tolerate conversations about sexual violence.  

You are currently in crisis or suicidal.   

Dissociation and flashbacks are not primary problems.  

You are having difficulty managing dissociation and flashbacks, which may interfere with the group process.   

You want to get support and give support.   

You are not looking for connection and community with other survivors.  

You feel alone in your healing journey.  

Hearing about others’ symptoms or experiences feels too overwhelming.

Additional Resources  

Student Mental Health & Counseling Services, 617-253-2916, E23, third floor  
Violence Prevention & Response (VPR), 617-253-2300, W20-547  
MIT Police, 617-253-1212  
MIT Urgent Care, 617-253-4481  
MIT Dean on Call, 617-253-1212  
RAINN: National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline, 1-800-656-HOPE (4673)  
BARCC (Boston Area Rape Crisis Center), 617-492-8306  
BARCC 24/7 Hotline, 1-800-841-8371  
The Center for Trauma and Embodiment at JRI, 781-559-4900  

Questions  

For questions related to this group, please contact Johanna Malaga, PsyD, jmalaga@med.mit.edu, 617-253-2916.