Sexual Assault Survivor Community Retreat Survey


This is a survey on what rape victims would like to experience during a sexual assault survivor community retreat.

This is an informal survey which was distributed on several rape crisis support message boards. I thought crisis centers and others might be interested in the results. One survey was taken in 2004 and another followup survey was taken in 2005.


Sexual Assault Survivor Community Retreat 2004
[Survey Results]

Questions that required written responses are displayed by individual query.

Each individual respondent is referenced under the # column.

In what setting would you like a retreat for sexual assault survivors to be located? Some suggestions are in the woods, near a body of water, in a hospital or in a home.
[Respondent Number] [Response]

1 In the woods with a stream and/or a lake nearby.
2 near water, for sure. woods would be nice, but not too secluded as
that could be scary.
3 I like the idea of a body of water, near some trees. I think being
away just in the 'woods' could be triggering for many.
4 near the ocean/body of water or in the woods
5 nature but not too much nature ;-) near a lake would be fine
6 In thw oods perhaps with a beautiful lake view
7 near a body of water
8 I love nature. I would suggest the outdoors. Maybe a private beach, or
in the smoky mountains - somewhere we feel GROUNDED. I couldn't feel
more grounded than out in nature.
9 a big mansion :)
10 To me it would depend of the comfort of each person, So of us cant
deal with certain places. But I think maybe a hospital or like in some
cases like the rehabs. Looked to keep us safe but our freedom to roam
the grounds as we please.
11 Anywhere peaceful would be good, natural surroundings, open space.
Woods might be a bit scary. Definitely near water - especially the sea -
very restful. Preferably a home or an informal place, not too much like
a hospital.
12 near the ocean, the woods would be ok or a home. Definitely not in a
hospital. a retreat place should differ from a hospital place.
13 in the woods and near a body of water but some place with some open
space as well where people can gather. should be in a place that feels
safe as being in woods might trigger some people, you know, someone
lurking behind the trees
14 woods or body of water with the ability to work on things in a
hospital if necessary.
15 Somewhere outdoors-y, like the woods or somewhere on a lake/ocean. A
natural setting might be more peaceful than in a hospital.
16 Probably near a lake would be good with trees and garderns.
17 I would say both in the woods and near abody of water (water is very
soothing & relaxing). NOT ina hospital, however- they aredefinitely not.
18 I would like it to be just like a camp with different cabins all out
in the woods somewhere. Somewhere that we could all just be ourselves
and not have to worry about society.
19 Near a body of water. The ocean is so peaceful.
20 Somewhere with some exposure to nature - even if it's just a quiet garden
21 Spa-type setting with Internet hub/library resource access within a
free-standing center
22 I envision a building fitted out with basic amenities in a grassy
area near a small flowing river. There would be lots of seating areas
near the river and under trees or amidst gardens where you can sit and
contemplate things, or talk with others. The buildings would be basic
yet the interiors would be bright with lots of windows for fresh air.
23 Not in a hospital. Preferably in a community centre or lodge in a
park or by a lake or river.
24 I think the place is probably not as relevant as what would actually
be occuring. I think regardless of where you go people are going to be
triggered...but I imagine maybe a hospital would be the safest.
25 Somewhere serene, near a river or in the woods or on a
hillside...somewhere peaceful but not too isolated and shadowy
26 Near the beach
27 A conference center
28 I believe being in a setting where you could be close to nature would
really help.
29 A home.
30 near the ocean
31 Near the ocean or a lake

What type of therapy options would you prefer? Group therapy, self
injury, eating disorder or any other type.

[Respondent Number] [Response]
1 All types of therapy
2 group, individual, ptsd, ed, si, sexuality (although it may be too
soon to start dealing with sexual healing)
3 Group therapy. I think the interconnection of other survivors and
being able to just 'be' is important. I think its important for the
group to decide on what tpocis theyd like to approach that day.
4 group and individual therapy - maybe with art therapy too...
meditation practices
5 image work, craft, animal therapy
6 group therapy
7 I think that all of the options need to be combined. Women go through
each of these problems after being attacked.
8 Group therapy would be nice. Also, I think a support group
specifically designed for mothers/fathers who are survivors. I'm a
mother of 5 children, and sometimes it's so difficult!!
9 group therapy
10 one on one therapy or group therapy both can work, But I think
different workshops used as therapy should be done depending on
situations to get past fears or help feel more control of ourselves.
11 One-to-one psychotherapy or counselling depending on the need.
Optional group therapy. Self injury, eating disorders, that eye
de-sensitisation therapy that I can't remember the name for! Addictions:
drugs/alcohol. I've heard that outdoor pursuits can be really beneficial
for survivors who are well into their healing for giving them their
sense of power and control back.
12 art therapy, music therapy, some kind of movement therapy, groups
would be ok for longer stays but should be optional. Maybe a
counselor/therapist on hand to talk to individually. should have comfort
discussing things like si, dissociation, eating disorders, ptsd,
depression, anxiety. and of course rape, csa.
13 group, individual, other alternative body oriented therapies
14 group therapy and individualized therapy. i want to be able to focus
on my barriers. for example - i can't seem to go to the gyn. i want to
be able to go somewhere outside of everyday life and work with a
counselor and just get it done.
15 group therapy, art therapy
16 I think it would be good to have the options of SI and ED groups.
Group therapy is a good idea but it could be a bit confronting for some
17 group & individual, depression groups,anxiety/panic groups
18 I would like Group therapy, and maybe someone there that you could
talk to whenever you needed to. Also a Christian therapy session would
be great for Christian survivors.
19 group therapy, and one on one
20 Group therapy
21 Individual therapy initially with option/progression towards group
22 Group and one on one therapy would be preferable. Of course, there
should be therapists with training to deal with all of the secondary
problems that result from sexual assault, such as self-injury, sexual
disorders, suiside, depression, eating disorders and such.
23 Some kind of trauma therapy to get in touch with feelings and
releasing the pain. Also some kind of art therapy would be good, as well
as talks and seminars on coping skills and latest developments on care
of abuse/assault survivors.
24 Group, individual counseling, and therapy for after-math issues, such
as self-injury, eating disorders and sexual re-adjustment.
25 group therapy, couples therapy for survivors and their spouse
26 PTSD and Disassociative disorders as well as group therapy, self
injury, and eating disorders
27 group therapy, seminars
28 Group therapy,self injury,eating disorders
29 Group and individual especially grief and pain work.
30 group
31 Group and self injury

3. What duration of stay would be best? A few days, weeks or a month?

[Respondent Number] [Response]
1 I believe that a month would be best.
2 aa few days, for sure. i think it would depend on the individual.
perhaps a maximum time limit would be better, as some survivors may come
to depend on the retreat and wouldn't want to go back to "Real Life"
3 I think it would be good for weekend retreats as well as one that went
for one week. Sometimes all you need is a couple of days just to
re-evaluate and be. I think a month is too long and it would be harder
to integrate back into 'normal' life and routine. I feel that if a month
was offered it could infact institutionalise survivors.
4 i think it could occur on many levels - weekends or week long .... a
month might be too much.. i think it would have to be in addtion to
treatment programs offered in hospital settings...maybe?
5 depends on the situation- people shuld be free to choose
6 maybe a few days since many people work
7 The duration should depend upon the victim, but should be atleast 2-3
8 I think varying durations would be nice. Some of us couldn't possibly
get away for a month. Two weeks would be my ideal duration, but it would
be nearly impossible for me to do that.
9 weekend
10 I think a month at the most. That would give time for the therapy.
And with supervision so to speak my be helping when it comes to
reactions to meds or whatever.
11 Depends on the need of the client. If such a thing existed, I'd
probably want to go for at least a few weeks. Maybe it could be
somewhere you can visit say every weekend, or one weekend every month so
that you have some time in between to process what you're doing in
therapy. I don't know how effective something very intensive and
short-term would be.
12 i think there should be several options from a few days to longer as
long as a month or maybe longer depending on what the person feels they
need. it should be their choice. I would definitely have weekend
offerings for those who work. week long offerings and longer for those
who may have more time free.
13 thinking many could not get away for that long, depending on
severity. options for a weekend or a week
14 that may depend. in my situation i would say anywhere from one week
to a month tops.
15 Two weeks
16 That would depend on the circumstance of the individual.
17 Probably at least a week, but a month or more for those whomay need it
18 I think like 1 month. Maybe shorter tho.
19 two weeks
20 3-5 days
21 An all inclusive center could designate a quarterly retreat day i.e.
guest speaker/open discussion forum-legislative updates/current
events/community interests; massage/music therapy
22 I would say no less than one month. Anything less and I would feel
paniced that I had do do all of my healing in a rushed timeframe. Going
to the retreat for less than a month would work against the healing
process for me.
23 Perhaps a week to a month.
24 Probably a few weeks, roughly two.
25 A few days to a week
26 Months
27 one week
28 Maybe between 1-2 weeks
29 several weeks to a month.
30 a month
31 1-2 weeks
What cost would be affordable?

[Respondent Number] [Response]
1 Ideally covered by health insurance. If not, then a low fee, $100 per
week? It's really awful to be sexually assaulted, but then to have to
pay for healing? Not good!
2 It would be good if it was for non-profit. If that were the case then
all that ppl would have to pay for is meals and upkeep of the house -
get away. In an ideal environment someone to donate a house / area.
Obiovusly this would be unlikely so if you think of getting a place then
for members to pay an additional fee just enough to cover the mortgage.
Something like $150 for the weekend I feel is something attainable and
it would cover the mortgage repayments and food.
3 i don't know... it would be too much to get insurance plans to cover it.
4 wow- nothing for me! in europe the health insures covers stuff like that.
5 under $100
6 I think $1000. But there should be fundraisers, money raised to help
victims with the cost.
7 Any cost would be unaffordable for me; and I'm not sure how much these
retreats normally would cost. But, maybe $100-$150 a week. I say that
because that's about all I could ever muster up to do something like this.
8 sliding scale
9 Well I think the people who caused the pain should pay for it, but we
all know that wont happen.
10 I have no idea to be honest! Hopefully there'd be a sliding scale so
people from different financial backgrounds would be able to afford it.
11 I'm not sure it depends on whether i am working or not. maybe have
different levels of costs depending on income or perhaps on camping vs sharing a room with multiple people to a
double to a single. Maybe $80-$100 dollars a day including room and
board. which i know isn't enough to really be financially viable and at
the same time is more than i could have afforded as a student. maybe
there could be a combination of volunteering and staying like making it
cheaper if you help out a few hours a day in the kitchen or office or
what not.
12 sliding scale based on need, cost - I guess that depends on what you
plan to offer re: therapies, food, lodging etc. Say $200-$300 for a weekend.
13 this is a tough one. i could pull together several thousand dollars -
maybe like a thousand a week. that's probably just the cost of food, though.
14 $400-$500 per week
15 I guess that would depend on the length of the stay.
16 It should be covered by someone, somewhere- God knows we've already
paid for this enough!
17 I don't know, I think that that would depend on what was offered.
18 a cheap as financially possible
19 AUD 1000 though insurance would be best
20 cost derived from supporters/donations/fundraisers
21 I would hope that the governement would help with the cost of such a
retreat. However, I would be willing to pay $300 - $500.
22 Depends on the time scale/location/type of therapy involved/lodging
on or off premises.
23 It depends on the duration of the stay, where it was located and the
types of therapy available.
24 due to many survivors losing jobs from PTSD etc, this would be most
effective if offered as a free service to survivors
25 i'm not sure.
26 in the $200 range
27 Not sure about this one...since I am poor..would have to say it would
be affordable for everyone...not just the rich.
28 Cannot really afford any amount.
29 nothing is affordable with two kiddies, lol!!
30 $400 a week

If insurance is the major factor in cost- what types of therapy does
your insurance cover best?

[Respondent Number] [Response]
1 My insurance covers all types of therapy.
2 Body work (massage, physiotherapy), and psychology (not a psychiatrist)
3 I dont know about insurance b/c mine is paid by the government through
my crimes compensation. I do feel however that if insurance companies
can cover it as a therapy session. The medical expenditure on
medications, therapy, in-patient services, outreach and treatment would
decrease if ppl had a retreat. The budget would be less and thus if
anything insurance companies would be paying out a lot less money. It
would be ideal for insurance to pay half of whatever the cost is to do so.
4 --
5 n/a
6 My insurance only allows a certain number of visits with a counselor.
7 I no longer have insurance.
8 ?
9 mine covers none
10 I don't know, I know my insurance covers me to see a psychotherapist
and would cover such things as a hospital visit. My insurance company
seems to be more willing to pay out for treatment of short term problems.
11 when i think of retreat i don't think of something medical insurance
covers. it shouldn't be like an inpatient thing - there are already
trauma oriented inpatient programs. if that is what you are talking
about i wouldn't think of it as a retreat. i think it is important to
define how this will differ from hospital program. i would never never
never want to be IP so the less medical the better. i guess the question
is is this retreat things supposed to be a friendlier type of inpatient
than exists in most places or a place people choose to go not because
they are "sick" but as a place to rest and be supported for a while. An
inpatient type thing is not a retreat. it is being sick in the hospital.
it means not being able to take care of oneself. :( and for insurance to
cover it it would all have to be document which would mean too much
stigma and professional liability for me. a retreat is a choice one
makes for self care. retreats are not hospitals. i guess if there were a
specific therapy part the insurance would cover as an outpatient?
wouldn't work out of state with my insurance. i'm not sure how that
would work. i think it would be better to make it something different
from a hospital and set a standard of self care/safety to be able to
come. like if one is suicidal so much so one is unsafe one should be in
a hospital but if one needs extra support and care and it is a choice
then one could go there.
12 individual therapy but not sure how you would fit insurance coverage.
im guessing in most cases you need pre-approval, the T has to be
approved and provide a plan in order to bill the insurer.
13 focused individual therapy. this is the only thing i have had and
they have covered it far better than most insurance companies.
14 It only covers inpatient individual counseling
15 It doesn't cover anything real well.
16 one on one
17 insurance involvement not necessary
18 Unknown.
19 Not sure if my insurance would cover it. Yearly limit involved.
20 Cognitive talk therapy.
21 none
22 i'm not sure as i'm looking for new insurance
23 counseling only is covered
24 my insurance will only cover individual therapy...minnimum five visits
25 inpatient and outpatient care
26 don't have insurance...
27 i'm not insurance is crappy as far as mental health
coverage goes

Are there any other suggestions you have for a retreat for sexual
assault survivors? Any questions you would like added to this survey?

[Respondent Number] [Response]
1 Leave the survivor alone when she wants to be alone, but keep an eye
on him/her. Don't let them be alone too long. Keep them engaged in the
daily activity of the place too.
2 Would this be only for recent SA survivors? For example, I was raped
2.5 years ago, would I still be able to go??
3 I think its important to remember the retreat is not for emergency use
or a refuge centre. I think its important that ppl dont use it as one
and use it as specified. A retreat. If ppl are in urgent need of therapy
and not just needing some space then they need to be referred to the
proper agencies.
4 safety would have to be a main consideration... sometimes being out
and away from society can be scarey too - it should be set up so that no
one can just walk up to it easily... not necessarily with bars and
gates, but there should be some kind of perimeter protection.
5 the whole thing should be queer friendly and sex positive.
6 Like I stated before, money should be raised for this cause. I am a
single mother in college so I can understand how financial matters can
hinder the healing process.
7 I'm not sure about retreat therapy - never have done it before. But,
learning some kind of outlet - like writing class, art class, music
lessons - may be helpful. Many survivors do not have a creative,
productive outlet for their emotions.
8 some kind of anger mgmt. therapy
9 Its not like there are only a hand full of us. We are everywhere and
are popping up more every 3 minutes I think. Something needs to be done.
10 Possible other question: would you be comfortable with survivors and
therapists of both genders being treated/working in the same retreat?
Personally, I would be comfortable in a retreat for men and women and
that had male therapists but I know this would have put me off a while
ago. I actually find it beneficial now to be treated by a male
11 definitely should not make anything mandatory. it should be the
survivors choice whether she uses the retreat as a place of solitude or
introspection or to talk to others and maybe try different techniques
that could be useful in healing. In judaism there are some retreat
places like elat chayim or even week long institutes. maybe something
more along those lines where there might be educational offerings like
using art in healing or dance or learning to reach out to
others...sexuality or less a "therapy" model but more of a learning
personal growth model. But it would be nice to have people on hand who
are trained to listen and talk to if one needs to.
12 options for workshops in writing, art, self-expression, maybe
safety/self-defence. and some way to ensure confidentiality that would
be my biggest concern.
13 play therapy for DID and caring counselors who aren't afraid to give
a hug and show a little compassion.
14 How many people should be accepted into the retreat group at once?
Should it be co-ed or single-sex?
15 I think its a very good idea overall. The main problem would be
privacy though. If I were to go to such a retreat I definetly would not
want anyone knowing about it. I'm sure other survivors would also be
concerned about it becuase of the whole shame/embarassment issues.
16 I think it would be nice to just get together with other survivors to
talk. That's why I think a camp-like setting would be the best.
17 be open to all survivors, not just recent
18 Get involved by bringing sexual assault awareness to your local,
national, and international community. level
19 There should be no money made from this. It should be a "pay for
itself" only type retreat, otherwise "secondary woundings" could result
from a retreat that is really operating as a business.
20 Some place welcoming to all survivors of all kinds of abuse/assault
to come together to heal and process their pain and trauma. A place to
help with day to day concerns as well as long term.
21 How can I help, x? Love,x
22 It would be very important to be sure the place was not a location
known to the public, so that perps would not be able to locate their
victims there.
23 Needs to be a warm, caring, protected place
24 security should be doubled, I think- because I would feel more
vulnerable in a group of sexual assault survivors, almost like somebody
would come to the event, lie and say they are a survivor, and then hurt
one of us. Maybe I've just learned to be too paranoid over the years.
25 Pain work seems to be what most survivors avoid, so I think the focus
needs to be there.
26 its an interesting concept
27 maybe a movement therapy class or art therapy