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Survivor Story: Kathryn Walczyk

“Writing has been a catalyst to health. As a child I didn’t have language for what was happening to me.” Kathryn Walczyk, 61, lives with a more balanced rhythm to life than she once did. “When I am in balance, all facets of my life are easier and more authentic,” she says. Walczyk treasures family,… Read more “Survivor Story: Kathryn Walczyk”

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Courageous Conversation: Abuse Survivors Can Heal—and Thrive—in the Aftermath of Trauma

The more our communities understand about trauma, the more likely we are to help survivors of experiences such as clergy sexual abuse achieve healing and post-traumatic growth. Trauma knowledge is also essential for survivors themselves in their recovery journey. These were two main takeaways from Awake Milwaukee’s latest Courageous Conversation, “Trauma and Resilience in the… Read more “Courageous Conversation: Abuse Survivors Can Heal—and Thrive—in the Aftermath of Trauma”

A laptop computer showing a large virtual meeting, with a beautiful turquoise mug ready for sipping.

Awake Synod Sessions Will Ensure that Victim-Survivors and Advocates Are Heard

When Kathy Ann Coll learned about the 2021-2023 Synod on Synodality called by Pope Francis, she was eager to take part. The synod is designed to engage people around the world in the process of creating a vision for the future of the Church. In the United States, the synodal process involves holding small group… Read more “Awake Synod Sessions Will Ensure that Victim-Survivors and Advocates Are Heard”

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3 Tools that Can Help Victim-Survivors Heal

Editor’s Note: This week we revisit a 2020 post describing treatment modalities that can be beneficial for trauma recovery. In the aftermath of sexual abuse, many victim-survivors struggle with their mental health, facing problems including anxiety, depression, substance abuse, and intimacy issues. As knowledge about trauma recovery has grown, mental health experts have developed an… Read more “3 Tools that Can Help Victim-Survivors Heal”

Survivor Story: Michael Koplinka-Loehr

“Talking about these things in a place where you’re profoundly understood is a gift in the healing process.” Editor’s note: This week we’re honored to share the first installment of our new monthly Survivor Story series, which shares interviews with people who have experienced abuse by church leaders. Our first story comes from a man… Read more “Survivor Story: Michael Koplinka-Loehr”

Headshots of four women and one man joining the Awake Board of Directors

Awake Welcomes Five New Members to Its Board of Directors

Awake Milwaukee is pleased to share terrific news: we recently doubled the size of our Board of Directors, welcoming five new directors this spring. “The Lord has sent us some amazing people,” says Elizabeth Zimmer, president of Awake’s board. “I’m so excited for the wisdom, skills, and resources they’ll bring to Awake through their board… Read more “Awake Welcomes Five New Members to Its Board of Directors”

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Awake Observes Lent by Walking the Way of the Cross with Survivors

Last week Awake Milwaukee held a moving Way of the Cross that recalled Jesus’s final hours, marking the stations with heartfelt reflections written by victim-survivors of sexual abuse and their loved ones. A recording of this virtual prayer service is available here. Each contributor chose to write about a station that resonated for them personally.… Read more “Awake Observes Lent by Walking the Way of the Cross with Survivors”

Woman in foreground is taking notes with a pen and notebook. Woman in background is the therapy patient who is talking.

Why Do Victim-Survivors Sometimes Forget Their Abuse?

This week we revisit a post we originally published in June 2020, which explores the experience of “dissociation” in the aftermath of trauma. When survivors of sexual abuse share their stories, they sometimes describe forgetting or repressing memories of their abuse for years, even decades, before the memories resurface, usually in the form of painful… Read more “Why Do Victim-Survivors Sometimes Forget Their Abuse?”

Two people sitting across from each other in conversation. One is wearing a black sweater and the other is wearing gray. Both hold gray mugs.

Awake is Launching a New Blog Series on Survivor Stories. Here’s Why.

When Awake Milwaukee was established in 2019, we quickly realized how much we had to learn about the experiences of victim-survivors of abuse in the Catholic Church. We began to recognize that many survivors have struggled alone for years without real support or acknowledgement from Catholics in the pews. We wanted to change that. One… Read more “Awake is Launching a New Blog Series on Survivor Stories. Here’s Why.”

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