Breakout Sessions

Morning Breakout Sessions

 WOMEN’S SUPPORT— Mary Caplan and Leona Huggins

Meet with other people who have “walked a mile in your shoes!” Share your feelings and experiences and get some of the affirmation you deserve! This session deals with the unique needs of women as survivors. Society often “blames” the victim for the attack, resulting in additional suffering of guilt and shame. In this session, we will explore ways to educate people about rape and sexual assault and the necessity to report these crimes, regardless of how old they are. The session will end with a self-help support meeting wherein all participants will be able to share, but no one is required to do so. Listening is recognized and appreciated as a gift for those who do share.

MEN’S SUPPORT—Peter Isley and Tim Lennon

 A discussion of the special needs of male survivors. Afterwards, a confidential, participatory support group meeting for men will be held. This is a chance to meet with other survivors in a safe setting and learn from others’ experiences. Men are often forced to keep sexual attacks a secret for fear of being labeled weak. This session will help explore ways for men to dispel this myth. While every participant will have the opportunity to speak, no one will be required to do so.


Patrick Wall and Tom Doyle

 What are some of the fundamental causes for guilt and shame? This session will review the story of Roman Catholic Moral Theology, the role of clerics and religious and how the teachings were built into our early psychological framework. The institutional church’s veneer of holiness covers a clerical culture marked by excessive narcissism which had a pervasive influence on the toxic spirituality that has enabled the culture of abuse.


Nancy Mayer and Christiane Sanderson

Being violated or abused is an experience of victimization. This session will look at how survivors can restore control over their lives, reconnect to others and begin to recover and heal from experiences of child and sexual violence. It will explore what can become common pitfalls for those who have been victimized by clergy or others in authority and how to avoid them. The past does not have to dictate the future.

Afternoon Breakout Sessions

ADULT SUPPORT—Margaret Kennedy and Peter Isley

Those violated as adults endure the same kind of horrific consequences as children, but are often overlooked or marginalized. This workshop focuses on the needs of this special group, and will include discussions focusing on the unique point of view of the adult survivor, and will provide opportunities to ask questions, and receive support.

ISOLATED SURIVORS— Becky Ianni and Melanie Sakoda

Many survivors feel isolated both geographically and emotionally. How can we reach out to those survivors who live in areas where there are no formal support groups or leaders? Where survivors feel afraid to reach out where they live?  How can we reach out to those survivors who feel emotionally alone because of fear: that others might not believe them, that their abuser may find out and hurt them, that others may think less of them? Participants will engage in an interactive discussion to answer these important questions.

ALTERNATIVE HEALING TECHNIQUES —Jo Ann Lenney/Sheila Murphy/Vered Manasse and Rivka Halbershtadt-Grinberg Method

The session will explore three different methods for healing: acupuncture, yoga, and the Grinberg Method. Jo Ann Lenney  will discuss how recovery is enhanced through the stress-relieving effects of acupuncture. Sheila Murphy will discuss the benefits of Yoga in recovery and explain the healing qualities yoga produces for survivors of sexual and physical abuse.

 The Grinberg Method is a structured way of teaching through the body to enhance well-being in everyday life. It offers people diverse ways of learning through the body to facilitate changes in life, such as stopping certain unwanted situations from recurring, or realizing our goals. This method teaches to shift our attention from our minds to our bodies, allowing us to act authentically, individually and in accordance with what is actually happening.  We can learn to stop responding automatically to situations in the same way we have responded in the past, which allows us to open new possibilities in our lives in the present. This Grinberg Method will be discussed by Vered Manasse and Rivka Halbershtadt.

Participants will have the opportunity to experience acupuncture and join in stretches and exercises while seated in their chairs.


Terry McKiernan and Anne Barrett Doyle

Terry McKiernan and Anne Barrett Doyle of will provide a brief overview of archival and data resources on the Catholic abuse crisis, including the global database of accused clerics and culpable managers that their organization is developing. They will profile Bergoglio’s performance in Argentina abuse cases and discuss other international cases with implications for the ongoing crisis and the Vatican’s approach to it.  Their brief talk will be followed immediately by a breakout session, with an open discussion of the Catholic abuse experience as it has unfolded in Ireland, the U.S., and elsewhere.  The focus will be on synergies among the various national experiences and approaches.


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