‘Women 4 Women’

M’CHIGEENG—‘Women 4 Women,’ a self-help group for women who have been sexually abused or assaulted, will be starting up in the New Year on the M’Chigeeng First Nation.

The support group will be open to any women on the Island or surrounding area with an information evening being held on Wednesday, December 5 at M’Chigeeng’s Saswaahns Spiritual Centre from 6 to 8 pm.

The group will be facilitated by Kate Thompson, with support from Daughness Migwans, a mental health worker with the M’Chigeeng Health Centre.

“I had been approached by some community members about starting a sexual abuse support group,” explained Ms. Thompson, “and I saw a need in the area.”

Ms. Thompson was instrumental in starting the sexual abuse program at Haven House, where she also worked as a sexual assault councillor for a number of years. In addition to her experience at Haven House, Ms. Thompson shared that she has worked at a number of other social service organizations on Manitoulin and has been teaching adults for over 25 years.

“I am also a sexual abuse survivor myself,” Ms. Thompson told The Expositor. “I have been very open about my experience and my healing journey, which is probably why women have approached me about starting a sexual support group in the community.”

The information evening on December 5 will be an opportunity for women to meet Ms. Thompson and Ms. Migwans and learn about the vision for the group.

“The nature of the group will be self-help,” explained Ms. Thompson. “It will be a safe place for women to talk about their experiences and seek support.”

Though Women 4 Women meetings will be held in M’Chigeeng, Ms. Thompson wanted to stress that it is open to any woman willing to drive to the group sessions.

“During my healing, I travelled to Sudbury to attend a support group because there wasn’t one available at the time on the Island,” said Ms. Thompson. “So the group is open to anyone wanting to attend.”

The Women 4 Women information night will be held on Wednesday, December 5 from 6 to 8 pm, with the first group session starting on Wednesday, January 9, 2013 from 6:30 to 8:30 pm.

Women 4 Women will take place twice monthly on Wednesdays from 6:30 to 8:30 pm at the Saswaahns Spiritual Centre, 44 Tikmeg Road, M’Chigeeng.

For more information call Kate Thompson at 705-377-4411 or Daughness Migwans at 705-377-5362.

Robin Burridge