By: Jess Dela Cruz, News Writer
“One in five women experience sexual violence while attending a post-secondary Institution,” said Erica Van Driel, a Registered Clinical Counsellor at SFU Health & Counselling. She is also the Program Facilitator of Nurturing Resilience, a weekly support group for “SFU students of all genders who have experienced any form of sexualized violence at any time in their life.”
“Due to this overwhelming identification of students experiencing sexualized violence on campuses across the country, support groups such as Nurturing Resilience are often part of a larger network of support put in place for students. Support groups play a critical role in helping survivors heal, cope, and move forward,” said Van Driel.
The support group is organized in partnership with the SFSS Women’s Centre and the SFU Sexual Violence & Support Prevention Office (SVSPO). Van Driel describes a regular session as “beginning with an opportunity to connect and check-in over light refreshments and snacks, followed by a predetermined topic for discussion, such as self-care, identifying values, boundary-setting, healthy relationships, communication, dealing with triggers, and coping strategies.”
Van Driel’s hope is that “students will feel less alone with their experiences and build resilience through learning skills such as mindfulness, self-compassion, and identifying values, strengths, and boundary-setting [. . .] by making connections with others.”
According to a report from the Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario, “women are less likely to report sexual assault and other forms of violence because of the stigma associated with being an individual who experienced sexual violence.” Van Driel notes that students who attend the group can share as much or as little as they are comfortable with. “The intention for this group is for it to become a supportive environment where safety and community are built through self-care, respect, skill development, and self-compassion,” she adds.
The Nurturing Resilience support group will be meeting every every Tuesday from 2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. at the Women’s Centre TC 3014. The first meeting of the Fall will be held on Tuesday, September 17.
For more information about joining the group, please contact Erica Van Driel, Counsellor, at firstname.lastname@example.org
Students who wish to access other counselling and support services can call SFU’s Women’s Centre at 778-782-3870, SFU’s Health & Counselling Centre at 778-782-5781, or SFU’s Sexual Violence Support and Prevention Office at 778-782-7233.