What You Will Find in our Online Support Group
Pandora's Project operates Pandora's Aquarium, a sexual assault survivor message board & chat room with more than 40 support forums devoted to healing from rape & sexual abuse. The message board and chat room are safely moderated by a diverse group of survivors.
Here we do more than just 'deal with' rape & sexual abuse - we learn from each other, reclaim our lives, and become stronger because of our experiences. Rape victims become rape survivors. Sexual abuse victims break free from their past. We heal together.
Our online support group offers you the chance to challenge yourself and support others with a message board and chat room. You can also start your own survivor blog.
The Pandora's Aquarium message board is thriving, with more than 13,000 members and 1,000 new posts each day. We offer two primary forums, My Voice and My Life, which are devoted to rape and sexual abuse recovery and general life issues. We also have a number of additional forums for coping with the aftermath of rape and sexual abuse, such as:
My Story, a safe place for members to share their rape and sexual abuse survivor stories.
Introduce Yourself, a forum for new members to say hello and be welcomed to the support community.
Reclaiming our Lives, a support group atmosphere with organized discussions and healing exercises.
Healing Together, where friends and family of rape and sexual abuse victims and survivors themselves can focus on the issues they share.
Survivor Communities, an area where survivors can connect with others like them - men, women, LGBTQ, teens, older adults, and ritual abuse survivors will find support here.
Spirituality & Healing, to discuss how sexual violence affects religion and spirituality.
Sex & Intimacy for help regaining healthy intimacy after being victimized.
The Fun Forum, for games, jokes, and quizzes.
One of the most beneficial parts of joining Pandora's Aquarium is realizing that you're not alone. Many members find that they share the same concerns and problems. As a result, the message board is a wonderful place to get encouragement and practical advice on nearly any concern you might have. Some of the topics members have posted include:
- Do I have "victim" written all over me?
- Need advice about court appearance...
- He says it's my fault!
- I never told anyone what happened and need to
- Giving up one unhealthy coping mechanism
- Reclaiming your ability to trust
- What relaxation exercise works for you?
- To medicate, or not to medicate
- How do I get over the anger?
- Some tips before you attend your ob/gyn appointment
- It wasn't your fault - an exercise
- Fear of future assaults - how do we deal with this?
The Pandora's Aquarium chat room is available to rape and sexual abuse survivors 24 hours a day. Other survivors are a major source of support, and many friendships form during these real-time conversations.
In addition to open chat, moderators host many scheduled topic chats each month. Past topics have included Combating Negative Self-Talk, Sleep Struggles, Coping with Stalking, and Self-Care. In topic chats, survivors share what has worked with them and receive practical advice to apply to their own lives.
Several times a year, experts and activists are invited to participate in moderated guest speaker chats. These chats give survivors of rape and sexual abuse the unique opportunity to interact with professionals and healing inspirations. Past guest speakers have included author and sex therapist Wendy Maltz, trauma expert Dr. Patti Levin, and the founder of the DID organization An Infinite Mind. More info on guest speakers, and transcripts from past chats, are available here.
A Note About Safety
We also recognize that online peer support is usually not enough, and is not appropriate for every survivor. The volunteers who staff the message board and chat room do not provide professional counseling services. We encourage all members to seek out face-to-face support from an experienced therapist, and we refer survivors in crisis to resources in their area. It is important to note that Pandora's Aquarium provides peer support only. We believe peers are an essential source of support for those healing from sexual violence. Expert Judith Herman writes that, "[t]raumatic events destroy the sustaining bond between individual and community. . . [B]ecause traumatized people feel so alienated, groups have a special place in the recovery process."
Survivors who join Pandora's Aquarium find comfort through commonality, the lessening of shame, positive role-modeling, practical assistance, and a virtual shoulder to lean on – any time they need it. Available 24 hours a day and free of charge to any survivor who has internet access, the online community offers victims of sexual violence a refuge to share experiences, seek advice, and provide support. Click here to join the Pandy's rape & sexual abuse message board, chat room, and online support group, and post your own questions and comments. If you need help registering, we offer step-by-step instructions. Feel free to contact us if you need assistance.
Break the silence. Your voice matters.
The greatest healing therapy is friendship and love.
- Hubert H. Humphrey