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Shalom Ministries supports victims of abuse

Sept. 11, 1996

By Sarah Hunter

Lariat Reporter

Shalom Ministries for Women, a local women's support group, is conducting orientation sessions for Fall Focus Groups.

Self-esteem, spirituality, pattern-changing for abused women and rape recovery are the scheduled educational support groups beginning Sept. 23.

Jean Batson-Turner, director of Shalom Ministries for Women, holds a master of arts degree and a master of divinity degree. She will lead the groups, which consist of five to seven women.

Shalom Ministries for Women was founded in 1991 for sexual-abuse survivors and now offers other educational support groups.

The groups meet for an hour and a half one day a week for 12 to 15 weeks.

'Several years ago sexual-abuse survivors expressed a need for other counseling,' Batson-Turner said.

She said the non-profit organization has helped more than 200 women by offering counseling support for area women seeking help in overcoming violence and abuse, improving self-esteem and coping with a variety of personal struggles.

Waco has not previously had anything like a woman's center.

'Many do not want to deal with the issues we deal with,' Batson-Turner said. 'We do not receive much community support.'

She said the group is willing to train volunteers to help with the sessions.

'If there were sororities or fraternities that wanted to help, we would have a special training group for them,' Batson-Turner said.

'The groups are a safe place to explore religious aspects rather than have religious aspects imposed upon them,' Batson-Turner said.

She said she is primarily concerned with preventing women from being 're-victimized by religion.'

'Women are being told that rape was their fault or that God has something good coming out of what happened,' she said.

Submission of women is another topic groups address.

'I try to teach them that submissiveness was not intended by most religions,' Batson-Turner said.

Women in previous sessions have given Batson-Turner positive feedback, she said.

'They have told me that session was the only time they could be honest and open and get honest and open feedback,' Batson-Turner said.

The classes are open to all women. Batson-Turner said everyone in the group signs an oath of confidentiality for what is said in session.

Groups are beginning to form and spaces are still available. Day and evening sessions are available.

All meeting places are confidential.

For more information call Shalom Ministries for Women at 752-SELF.

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