Although I had done a lot of healing in life (individual and group therapy, facilitating a group for survivors of abuse, attending a trauma program), it seemed that there was an aspect of my healing journey that was missing. I told my story of over a decade of emotional, physical, and sexual abuse and even had the opportunity to send my abuser to prison for life. Even after all that, I still found myself searching for help and connection related to my efforts to heal. But I was not sure where that would come from.

I found out about The Haven Retreat from a woman who came to the group I facilitate. She came just that one time and shared her experience at the retreat. With the support of my wife and daughter I decided to apply and attend. That choice became a life-changing gift that I allowed myself to receive.

I found two sources of connection at the retreat. The first was with the amazing group of ladies I met. I think I needed to be surrounded specifically by sexual abuse survivors to find that connection. The second connection was to myself. When my hammer broke the bowl during the kintsugi activity, I felt all my broken pieces as well. And as I put the pieces of the bowl back together with gold, I saw that I too could connect my pieces back together one at a time, and not hide the fact that it is hard work. My healing journey is not over, but I am stronger and have more compassion for myself now.

–Dena, Survivor

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