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27 November 2012, 06:00
A specialist support service had to stop running earlier this year after losing its funding, but it has now restarted after a grant from the Big Lottery.
Run by Oxford based charity Oxford Sexual Abuse and Rape Crisis Centre (OSARCC), the group will be open to any woman over the age of 18 who has experienced sexual violence at any time in her life, whether as an adult or a child.
A previous support group member, Jennifer*, said:
"The group offers women the space to meet other women who have had similar experiences in a safe space, where you can say how you feel without judgement, but also to people who actually 'know' how you feel. Although it was not easy, over time it was possible to face the things that have been locked away for 30 years; with the gentle, but strong support from the facilitators. The groups have completely turned my life around, I am now more confident and my friends and colleagues have all said that I am a completely different person to the one I was 18 months ago... it is definitely thanks to OSARCC."
Nearly one in four women will have experienced some form of sexual violence or abuse in their lifetime. Almost 500 sexual offences were reported to police in Oxfordshire in 2011-12.
The groups will run weekly in twelve week cycles, run by an experienced counsellor and group facilitator at a confidential location in central Oxford. Anyone interested in the service should contact email@example.com or text or call 07506 412422. For more information please visit www.oxfordrapecrisis.net/services/supportgroup
*Not her real name but one chosen by the group member quoted to protect her anonymity.