HER Story: A place to lift each other up


2020/07/preview-coverpicture-1-300x220.gif Photo courtesy Rise Above Violence

By Ashley Wilson

Rise Above Violence 

Experiencing violence in your life at any age can leave you with a sense of helplessness, sorrow, anger and many other wide-ranging emotions. It can be difficult to know with whom and how to share that part of you. HER Story Women’s Group provides a safe, supportive space to grow and heal as you share your story: an opportunity to meet with other women in your community in a peer-supported group focused on healing from trauma, abuse or violence. 

HER Story meets every Friday morning from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. at Pagosa Massage and BodyWork, 140 Country Center Drive, Unit 2.

The Mayo Clinic touts the many benefits of attending support groups, from reducing anxiety, depression and fatigue to improving skills to cope with challenges, while gaining a sense of empowerment, control and hope. 

Very often, people going to their first group say they were surprised of how many people share the same problems. Too often survivors feel alone. This group will work to alleviate some of those isolating feelings. 

Dr. David Susman is also an avid supporter of groups, stating, “It’s very powerful when you see others in the group who are further along their road to recovery and who have made great strides towards having happier and healthier lives.” 

Support groups can renew your hope for the future and very obviously witness in others that healing is obtainable. You will also likely see a notable change in your overall distress when attending support groups where you feel supported and aligned with fellow peers. 

Stefanie Rolston, the group facilitator, shared her hopes for this group: “This women’s group is a place where we can work through any issues we may be struggling with that stem from trauma or violence, in a safe and inclusive environment. My intent is to create a space where we can be comfortable not only opening up about whatever it is we’re going through, but to also offer support to each other. We’ll have topics each week that we’ll discuss as a group, with opportunities to reflect and go inward to facilitate growth and healing. I’m passionate about helping other women and am excited to facilitate this group with Rise. I hope you’ll join me for this positive, uplifting group on Friday mornings for coffee.”

Rise Above Violence sponsors this group, but you do not have to be receiving services from Rise to attend. It is free and open to the public. Peer-support groups are one way to navigate trauma and healing. 

Rise provides many services free of charge to victims and survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. We recognize that domestic violence is a repeating pattern and that recovery from domestic violence, sexual assault or childhood violence can be a lengthy process. While our advocates are not professional counselors, they do understand. They are trained to assess your needs identify and discuss your options, access available services and provide information and referrals to other agencies available to help with your long-term issues. Rise also has a court advocate on staff to explain and assist with the legal process, including help with filing of restraining orders.

No matter where you are in your experience, Rise advocates can help you address and navigate whatever is coming next. We are here to accompany you whether you are in the middle of your experience or it is something that happened years ago; healing is a journey. There is help 24 hours a day through our hotline at 264-9075. You are not alone; there is help, hope and healing. 

If you are looking for ways to get involved, Rise has many opportunities to volunteer. You can volunteer for events, be a volunteer crisis advocate or be on the board of directors. Rise also has fundraising events to help provide services free of charge to victims and survivors.