Break the Silence against Domestic Violence offers an Annual Survivor Sister Retreat for women affected by domestic violence. This intense program gives participants the opportunity to engage in a variety of workshops and activities throughout the course of the weekend. Our time together is devoted to promoting individual development, bridging relationships amongst survivors, empowerment, and increasing awareness on mental health practices to encourage effective healing after trauma. We immerse survivors into a holistic healing journey created by survivors, for survivors. We believe a peer group approach encourages and supports an environment of true transformation and accountability for growth for each of our attendees.
The Annual Survivor Sister Retreat encompasses a variety of workshops and activities to educate, empower, and connect survivors. The program encourages attendees to step outside of their comfort zone to truly experience healing like never before. The survivor advocates support each attendee through open discussions and break out groups. We welcome survivors who are ready to begin their healing journey and experience a lifelong transformation alongside survivor sisters.
Program best fits survivors who fit in the following descriptions:
- Women who have already left abusive relationships and who are currently not in an unhealthy relationship.
- Women who have experienced trauma particularly domestic violence or sexual abuse.
- Attendees must be open to the ideal of challenging their ‘normal’ way of thinking to embrace new ideas.
- This program is highly intensive and attendees must be emotionally ready to take on a new wave of healing. All attendees participate in a scheduled 12-hour a day program.
- Attendees must be welcoming, loving, kind to others, and accepting of others views and differences. We welcome a diverse group each year and want to ensure all sisters feel comfortable.
- If attendees are currently experiencing suicidal thoughts, we recommend seeking medical attention prior to applying for this program.
- Triggers, anxiety, and stress may arise upon planning your trip to our Survivor Retreat – we highly recommend all potential attendees to spend a great deal of reflecting prior to attending. When its your time to come, you’ll know.
- The registration fee for this program is $200 which is due immediately upon acceptance into our program. All attendees must be able to cover their flights into San Diego. Guests will be required to arrive into San Diego at least 1-night prior to the retreat kick off. We will coordinate the specific hotel.
- Enable survivors from across the world to attend our Survivor Retreat.
- Connect women with other survivors who understand their journey.
- Empower survivors to break their silence and tell their stories, many for the first time.
- Immerse survivors in a holistic healing journey created by survivors, for survivors.
- Challenge survivors to step outside their comfort zone, confront their fears, and experience healing in a new and powerful way.
- Create a peer-group environment that encourages survivor transformation and growth accountability.
- Increase awareness of mental health practices that will aid post-trauma healing.
- Promote individual development.
- Allow survivors to let go of crippling shame, pain, and fear.
- Equip survivors to remain connected and prepared to continue on their path to healing.
Before coming to the retreat I felt anxious, excited, and I wasn’t sure I belonged. You see I was already at the point where I was able to forgive my abuser. We exist and co-parent our three children. I thought I was past my abuse, I thought I was healed. Going to the retreat and doing the workshops, I realized there was still healing and forgiving I needed to do. I realized I needed to forgive my mother. You see, she walked out on me when I was just two years old. I was her first born daughter and she left me and my two older brothers with my father, not looking back for years. She went on to have four more daughters whom she raised. All my life I struggled with the effects of that abandonment. I feared rejection. I wanted to be loved and to be accepted. I made bad choices as a result. Not knowing the real reason why I was making these choices. For years I held on the this hatred and anger towards her, even after I thought I was past it. Because I never got the answers I needed to hear from her. The night of the letter burning ceremony, my letter was to her. I asked her everything I ever wanted to ask her. I knew I would never really get to because I know she wouldn’t give me any answers. It was a relief reading it out loud and then releasing it into the fire to burn, letting it go for good! And what a release that was! I am so grateful for this experience because I learned a lot about myself that I wasn’t even aware of. I walked in wishing I had sisters because I was never close to mine. I left with 40+ sisters that I didn’t have before. 💜
While at the retreat I realized I was past the point in my healing of forgiving my abuser, and onto healing from deeper childhood wounds. My abuser was a mere ripple effect from physical, emotional, and mental abuse I endured as a child.
My mother, through her abuse of me, taught me from an early age how to cover up and lie for abusers. She taught me that abuse was normal. My father, by allowing me to stay in an abusive situation taught me I was not worth protecting.
At the retreat, surrounded by women who understood, I was not only encouraged to, but allowed to, in a safe place, release years and years of hurt and pain. I let go of timeless aching memories. I was finally able to truly, with all of my being, forgive my parents for their faults. It became real to me that hurt people, hurt people. This truth has opened me up to having the balance of compassion for my abusers, without excusing the abuse.
My worth is not defined by how my abusers treated me. My worth is defined by the warrior I’ve become. My worth is defined by the Spirit that created me. I am free.
This retreat solidified for me the work I started last year. This past year I’ve been in intensive care heart restoration. I’ve spent a lot of time picking up broken pieces. One piece at a time. Examining the jagged edges. Seeing my reflection in each shattered fragment. Admiring it. Touching and feeling it. Deciding if it’s a piece worth keeping. Filing some edges. Polishing off the lies. Adding glitter of truths. I am love. I am worthy. I am joy. I am light. I am my voice; and yours. Examining where the piece now fits. Putting pieces together to form a new heart, because the old will never be. It was shattered. This heart is stained glass. Forged in fire. Colorful and pure. The colors dance in the light, yet remain beautiful in the dark. Nothing can change that about my heart. My stained glass heart.
You can still apply for our 2017 Empowerment Weekend which will be held in Bradenton, Florida. Click here to apply.