Survivor Support

If you need immediate assistance, please call the RAINN National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE or dial 911.


Summer Survivor Gatherings June Through August 2022

These drop-in gatherings are an opportunity to connect with other women and men who have experienced sexual abuse by a Catholic leader, in childhood or in their adult years. Each gathering will be focused on a different topic, with plenty of time for open conversation.

Tuesday, June 28, 7:00pm to 8:15pm CDT – Handling Triggers
Sunday, July 10, 7:30pm to 8:45pm CDT – What Has Helped Me
Friday, July 22, 1:00pm to 2:15pm CDT – Loneliness
Tuesday, August 9, 7:00pm to 8:15pm CDT – Why I’m Still Catholic
Sunday, August 28, 7:30pm to 8:45pm CDT – What I Wish People Understood

To receive the Zoom link, please contact Sara Larson at saralarson@awakemilwaukee.org.

We will also be hosting one gathering for family and close friends of victim-survivors (sometimes referred to as “secondary survivors”), who are also often in need of understanding and support. This gathering will take place on Monday, July 11, 5:00pm – 6:15pm CDT. Please contact Sara for more information.


Awake Survivor Circles – Next Session Begins September 2022

These groups invite those who have experienced sexual abuse in the Catholic Church to connect with one another for community and support in the context of safe, structured, consistent online gatherings; you do not need to live in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee to participate. Each circle meets once a month on Zoom for 75 minutes, and group size is capped at 10 so that we can get to know one another better over time. The fall session runs September through December and the winter/spring session runs January through May.

Awake Survivor Circles are open to adult men and women who have experienced sexual abuse by a person in leadership in the Catholic Church, whether that abuse happened during childhood or during their adult years. Gatherings include a simple introductory question to help participants get to know one another, as well as open conversation about a monthly topic. These gatherings are designed for those who have chosen to remain Catholic; meetings include gentle prayer and, on occasion, honest discussions about faith, in a way that respects the complicated and painful relationship that many survivors have with God and with the Catholic Church.

Our Friday afternoon Survivor Circle is open to all who have experienced sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, while Sunday evenings are set aside for women only and Tuesday evenings are specifically for those who were abused as adults.

In addition to these Survivor Circles, we host a circle on Monday early evening for family and close friends of abuse survivors (sometimes referred to as “Secondary Survivors”), who are also often in need of understanding and support.

If you are interested in this opportunity, or if you just want to connect or share your story, please contact Sara Larson at saralarson@awakemilwaukee.org


We also recommend these virtual support groups facilitated by friends of Awake:

  • Victim/survivor restorative justice support groups hosted by our friend Paula Kaempffer, Outreach Coordinator for Restorative Justice and Abuse Prevention for the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. Virtual offerings include a general group for all victim/survivors of sexual abuse, a group specifically for those sexually assaulted by clergy as adults, and a group for family and friends of victims of clergy sexual abuse. More information is available at www.archspm.org/restorative-justice-groups or by contacting Paula at kaempfferp@archspm.org
  • Independent support groups facilitated by our friend Jim Richter, M.D. on Zoom. These groups include a survivor peace circle on the third Tuesday of each month and a gathering on the first Monday of each month specifically for men who have been sexually abused by clergy or religious. For details, contact Jim at 773-412-0909 or jrichter316@gmail.com.

Some survivors have also found these resources helpful: