SoSAA is a small but growing organisation. Our ambition is to make SoSAA groups available to everyone in the UK impacted by sexual abuse.
We currently have groups in:
Bethnal Green on Monday evening at 19:00- 20:00 at St John on Bethnal Green Church, E2 9PA, The entrance is on Roman Road at the Crypt English Language School. Please press the buzzer to gain entrance.
Norwich on Tuesday lunchtime at 12:00 – 13:00 at Jenny Lind Park Community Centre, Vauxhall Street, Norwich, NR2 2AA
Norwich on Tuesday evening at 18.15 – 19:15 at The Stage Community Space, 52 St Augustine’s Street, Norwich, NR3 3AD
Clapham on Wednesday evening at 18:30 – 19:30 at St Barnabas Church, Clapham Common Clapham, SW4 9SW. Use the entrance in car park.
Oxford on Wednesday’s at 19:15 – 20:15 at 43 St. Giles, Oxford, OX1 3LW
Aylesbury on Wednesday’s evening at 20:00 – 21:00 at Aylesbury Vineyard, The Vineyard Centre, Gatehouse Close, Aylesbury, HP19 8DN. This is a woman only group.
From June 8th Bristol on Thursday afternoon at 2pm at Easton Families Project, Beaufort Street, Easton, Bristol, BS5 0SQ
Clapham on Saturday morning from 11th February at 11:00 – 12:00 at St Barnabas Clapham Common, SW4 9SW. Use the entrance on Lavender Gardens.
Future groups starting in 2017 will be in Surrey, Birmingham and Leeds. Please check back for start dates.
If you are an organisation/person that would like to start a SoSAA group in your area then please get in contact with us.
FAQ’s about SoSAA groups
Do I have to pay?
SoSAA participants do not have to pay to attend but what we do ask is a small donation to help pay for venue costs, refreshments and materials.
What is a SoSAA group?
SoSAA groups are a place that survivors of sexual abuse can come and share in a safe space the emotional, physical or pschological consequences of being sexually abused. This is done with other survivors who can be a support to each other and share in a safe community of peers.
How can I join?
There is no membership for SoSAA. As long as you are over 18 and a victim of sexual abuse you can go along to the group that is best suited to you.
Why the 12-steps?
When starting SoSAA we wanted to have a programme that survivors could access for life. We chose the 12-step programme because it is an internationally renowned and has been tried and tested with success. It is also a progrmme that is life-long and not a quick fix. This is something that survivors of sexual abuse need.
Is SoSAA like a counselling session?
Participants who attend SoSAA are told that the groups are not therapy or counselling sessions. Although the groups may be led by trained facilitators, they are not there to give you counselling. Most groups are led by facilitators who are survivors and have completed the SoSAA 12-step programme a few times. We suggest that if you need professional support, then you access it in addition to your SoSAA group.
Can I come to SoSAA if I am receiving counselling?
Yes! You don’t have to choose one or the other. You can do both if necessary.
If I don’t do the steps, will it still make a difference?
Although a lot of the work is done through the community of the groups, the steps provide tools for life-long changes. Participants who attend SoSAA will get out of it as much as they choose to put into it.
Do I have to share?
Participants are not forced to do anything that they do not wish to do. Some participants will come and just listen to others for a few weeks until they feel ready to share.
Do I have to commit to attending each week?
You do not have to commit to attending each week, but to see transformations made you need to complete the whole 12-step programme before you dip in and out.
Survivors of Sexual Abuse Anonymous (SoSAA) exists to empower adult survivors of sexual abuse to make positive changes for life.
Our focus is on running peer-to-peer groups for men and women survivors who are 18+, using an adapted version of the Alcoholics Anonymous 12-step framework. We welcome people from any and all cultural, social and ethnic backgrounds, from all faiths and none.
According to the NSPCC, nearly 1 in 4 adults in the UK has experienced sexual abuse by the age of 24. This suggests a total adult survivor population numbering many millions. Our vision is for a SoSAA group to be available to every adult in the UK affected by sexual abuse. We are also focused on ending the stigma of sexual abuse.
SoSAA groups are ongoing, free and accessible any time, but their real strength is that they empower survivors to begin and maintain their own recovery. Through peer-to-peer support, members find hope, recovery and fellowship – we welcome anyone who needs a safe space to unload the burden of their abuse.
We work in partnership with charities and publicly-funded services for abuse victims, counselling services, and others to establish SoSAA groups. We are also developing networks with healthcare professionals and police, among others, to develop the referral pathways and build understanding of SoSAA’s offer.
Source: Radford et al, Child abuse and neglect in the UK today, 2011. London: NSPCC
Natalie was born and raised in Liverpool until she was 18. At 6 months old she was taken into foster care then later on adopted by the same family. It was while in the care of her adoptive parents that she suffered horrendous abuse. She managed to escape their home at the age of 16 at which point, she was forced to become an adult and look after herself.
As an adult survivor, Natalie knows the lifelong damage sexual abuse can cause if left untreated. With the growing number of sexual abuse cases being reported in the UK, her concern was that the wave of survivors coming forward would not be able access the support they needed.
So, after a career as a nanny spanning over 2 decades, she found herself in unfamiliar territory as a pioneer of a new charity for adult survivors of sexual abuse – SoSAA.
Her vision is for there to be free, on-going peer-led support accessible to every survivor of sexual abuse in the UK.
With more than 25 years extensive and diverse experience of working as a Fundraising and Community Development professional and raising over £6m (European, National Government & Lottery funding & grants) over a period of 10 years in fundraising and voluntary sector management roles in both the public and third sector. Gareth's specialties are being a strategic thinker, results oriented, enterprising, a team player, self motivated, creative and innovative with new ideas. His former trustee roles include Interlink CVC (Council for Voluntary Service) HertsAid, Body Positive Cheshire and North Wales and Student Volunteering Wales. He has also held directorships of several not for profit companies.
With SoSAA being a mission driven charity, Gareth is proud to be able to support and hopefully steer it towards helping as many people as we can on the road to recovery and healing.
Danielle is a senior lawyer currently working within a leading specialist real estate practice based in London. She has a wide range of legal expertise, primarily advising real estate lenders on acquisition and development funding and refinancing. Danielle brings to SoSAA a passion for injustice, with a particular focus on individuals who have been subject to abuse in varying forms and she regularly meets with vulnerable women, many of whom are exposed daily to a wide range of issues, including risk of harm and exploitation, violence and abuse.
Richard is a Chartered Accountant with a background in audit and transaction advisory and is currently working for BT as a financial consultant. He is passionate about justice issues and in particular sexual exploitation and abuse. Richard strongly believes that SoSAA can enable restoration and healing for survivors.
Leanne is a senior healthcare leader, working with the NHS in healthcare management, quality improvement and leadership development across the UK and globally. Leanne has experience in sexual health education, peer reviews and service improvement of sexual health support services.
Throughout her career, Leanne has focussed on providing a voice for those unable to speak for themselves and empowering people to make changes and improvements to enhance their lives. She also has experience of supporting survivors of sexual abuse and is excited to be joining the SoSAA team and contributing to the excellent work it does.
WHAT SoSAA PARTICIPANTS SAY
“Having completed the course, I can honestly say that SoSAA has changed my attitude, thinking and behaviours to the extent that my life is radically, outrageously, miraculously changing for the better – and so am I as a person.”
“I no longer let fear control me – when I get scared, I now know that I can “feel the fear and do it anyway”.
“I’m a lot less angry and have started giving people the benefit of the doubt instead of assuming that everyone’s out to control, manipulate and hurt me.”
“I am learning how to develop healthy boundaries – for example, I am getting better at saying “no” instead of just telling people whatever I think they want to hear.”
“I am learning how to have loving, healthy friendships with men instead of either pushing them away, throwing myself at them, or both.”
“I now let people touch me, hug me and stand/sit close to me without freaking out. I open myself up to people emotionally, show my vulnerability and tell them personal things about myself and my life – I can even do this with men now, as well as females.”
“I’ve gone from walking out of job after job and nearly getting evicted to successfully holding down a job and paying my rent every week.”
“Today, I got up on time, went to work and came back home. I am sober today. I didn’t binge eat today. I didn’t cut myself today. I spent time alone with a male colleague and enjoyed his company simply for what it was.”
“The group facilitator was so friendly and so were the participants. I quickly felt at ease. I have come on in leaps and bounds and made some very positive changes to my life as a result.”
“‘Survivors of Sexual Abuse Anonymous’ became my safe haven. My ‘Higher Power’ was a guiding star and each week I was ready and prepared to let go. I slowly came out of the darkness, step by step. Hearing the voices of others was so uplifting and encouraging that my fear started to dissipate.”
“I’m 30 years old now and it’s taken 23 years to be able to talk about as I did. I thank God for the SoSAA as it’s been a life line to me and I have now dealt with the root of all my drug abuse and abusing myself with self hate. I now feel free and no longer will I let the abuse hold me back in my life.”
“I’ve walked from what was my darkest secret now moving into the light.”
“I learned how to be a victor and not a victim. I am so glad I found SoSAA. It helped me to be more confident and see the light of the big dark tunnel.”
“SoSAA has become my true home and taught me a strong sense of belonging two passions I have never experienced before.”
“I believe I am worthy and precious, beautiful soul who is learning to love herself and her new family. Without SoSAA’s founding I would have never recognised let alone imagined possible.””