The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
SNAP Press Statement
For immediate release: Friday, May 22, 2009
Support group forming for sex abuse victims
Organization to hold meeting next week in Columbia
Goal is to help heal those wounded by authority figures
A nationwide support group for men and women who were molested by authority figures is starting a mid-Missouri chapter and holding its first confidential self help meeting in Columbia next week.
"We're a confidential self help group working to heal the wounded and protect the vulnerable," said Amy Surdin of Columbia. "Despite the word 'priest' in our title, we welcome anyone who was hurt in any institutional setting."
She was sexually assaulted as a child by a public school teacher in Moberly. Surdin felt isolated for years, lacking any individuals or groups to turn to seek healing and real understanding. Finding fellow survivors in SNAP has been rewarding, she says, as she now is able to share the message of hope to others who are struggling as victims of childhood sexual abuse.
"We in SNAP have long had a presence here and done public outreach events here to reach and help victims in mid-Missouri," said Don Asbee of Hartsburg. He was molested as a Pennsylvania Catholic school student. “We are actively working to grow our group, realizing that there are so many more potential victims in the mid-Missouri area, struggling to cope.”
The first meeting of the group will be Tuesday, June 9th at the Wakonda Center, located at 2100 E Broadway, Suite 315, at 6:30 pm for one hour. The building is just east of the Clover's Market near the intersection of E Broadway and Old 63.
"We firmly honor everyone's confidentiality," said Surdin, "and participants are welcome to share a little, share a lot, or even say nothing. We believe listening is a gift too."
Asbee stressed that loved ones of abuse victims are also welcome to attend. "Sex crimes impact entire families, so parents and spouses and siblings also need and deserve support," he said.
Both Surdin and Asbee emphasized that the organization is "peer-led." We're more like a twelve step group than a formal therapy group," Asbee noted. "We believe that, while none of us are experts, all of us can learn from one another."
SNAP was formed in 1989 in Chicago by a social worker named Barbara Blaine who was molested by an Ohio cleric The group now has 9,000 members across the US.
For more information: Please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with questions and request for more information, or you may reach Amy Surdin at 573-268-8788. All contacts will be treated with utmost confidentiality. Additionally, the national hotline number is: 1-877-SNAP HEALS.
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests