SOAROZ Internet Support Group

Ground Rules

To be a member of the SOAROZ internet support group mailing list you must agree to abide by the following ground rules.

1. The SOAROZ list is only open to survivors and supporters of those abused by religious leaders.

A survivor is someone who has been sexually abused. The term religious leaders
encompasses many religions from eastern to Catholic to Unitarian, and both
lay and clergy members. It refers to anyone in a position of authority within the
religious structure. A supporter is someone who provides support to a survivor.
This includes partners, friends, parents. This does not include professional counsellors
or lawyers. If you are a survivor but were not abused by a religious leader, check
out the SNAP Web page for resources for general sexual abuse survivors.

2. Everything said in the group is confidential.

Do not disclose what other people have said in the support group
(verbally or electronically). However, you can certainly share what you learn
in general: "I know that some light-sensitive people get depressed in the
winter months; maybe a light box would help?" Do not pass on the text
of people's posts, or their names, or specific situations
. The same
guidelines should apply in this case as in the case of two different groups
conducted by the same therapist, or attended by the same survivor. Do not
discuss SOAROZ group matters with other members outside the context

of the group. Support groups function best if all matters are kept within the
group. The mentors are there to consult if you have an issue you would prefer
not to raise in the whole group.

3. Share only your feelings, your experiences and your thoughts.

When speaking, use "I" statements rather than "you" or "they". For
example, instead of saying "We feel bad when ...", or "you feel bad
when ...", please say "I feel bad when ...". Avoid individual problem
solving - individuals can learn from others' experiences and in doing so
solve their own problems. Do not ask questions that seek additional
information. What anyone chooses to share must be respected as a gift.
Only questions for clarification are acceptable.

4. Never give advice or make judgments.

Listening to each other is ALL we are here for. Never give advice unless
explicitly asked for it. Never make judgments about anyone or anything;
instead, listen to see if and how these might hold meaning for yourself. We
must be very aware of what we write. Note: Using "I" statements as
described in rule 3 is the safest way to avoid any appearance of advice
or judgementalism.

And in all posts, there are two definite don'ts:

(i) Messages should never be abusive, threatening or otherwise hurtful to others.
(ii) Messages should never question the truthfulness of a statement made by others.

5. You are not required to say anything.

The presence of everyone is appreciated and can be a source of
healing for others. No one is required to speak during the discussions.
Listening is a gift too. However, normal politeness demands we:
a) introduce ourselves as soon as we feel safe
b) do not speak after a lapse of months without a brief introduction
for the benefit of those who don't know us

6. Every message you post to the mailing list must be signed with the same nickname
(alias) that uniquely identifies you on the list.

There is a lot of power in being anonymous; you are not accountable for
what you say if you can not be identified. We must know who is talking to
have a safe environment for us to heal. (Only the mentors can trace who
a message is from). The nickname should not be similar to your email address.

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