The Younique Foundation will mark an important milestone this week as it welcomes its 4,000th adult survivor of child sexual abuse at The Haven Retreat.
One in every four women is a survivor of childhood sexual abuse. These women often spend decades trying to overcome the trauma they endured as children. The Haven Retreat is offered free of charge to adult female survivors who were sexually abused at or before age 18.
Three weeks each month, the Foundation hosts groups of survivors in one of two locations (Utah or Georgia) for an immersive four-day experience that helps them learn, reflect, and rejuvenate. At the retreat, the women can participate in a variety of activities to help them learn how to heal from the trauma of sexual abuse. Following the retreat, survivors are enrolled in an online course to build on their education about trauma and apply the healing principles they learned at retreat. They are also encouraged to access the online resources available to all survivors on the website hosted by The Younique Foundation.
“As I imagine what it might look like to see 4,000 women standing together in the same space, I’m moved to tears at the thought that so many have attended The Haven Retreat,” said Shelaine Maxfield, founder and president of The Younique Foundation. “It is absolutely wonderful to know that what started as a good idea, and a deep desire to help others heal, has afforded so many an opportunity to reclaim hope.”
Betsy Kanarowski, who serves as Chief Program Officer and has guided the curriculum taught at the retreat, was there when the first retreat was held in 2015. “I felt so honored this week to welcome our 4,000 participant. The trauma of child sexual abuse can feel incredibly isolating and its impacts can seem overwhelming, but I want survivors to know that they are not alone and that their healing journey matters.”
The Haven Retreat is open to adult female survivors of child sexual abuse. They are invited to apply online to attend at either the Utah or Georgia location. More details about the retreat and the application process can be found at saprea.org.
One survivor, “Trudy,” who attended the retreat said it was “a life-changing experience… I needed this retreat to really take a closer look at myself and understand how this particular type of abuse can damage a child and change the brain chemistry. It gave me a deeper appreciation for all that I have overcome.“
Since completing the retreat, Trudy has been inspired to serve as a voice for those who are unable to speak and to continue to help others heal and grow. “Abuse does not need to dictate who we are for the rest of our lives,” she said.
Last week The Younique Foundation launched a series of in-depth online resources available to all survivors of child sexual abuse regardless of whether or not they have attended The Haven Retreat. The free research-based resources are available here.
The Younique Foundation wants all survivors to find healing so they can begin to reach their full potential rather than be defined by events from their past. “The Haven Retreat helps women find hope in themselves and in their future,” said Maxfield.