Meeting Format

An Introduction to SASA

OUR WELCOME

(suggested opening for meetings):

We welcome you to Sexual Assault Survivors Anonymous and hope you will find here the hope, camaraderie and recovery that we have been privileged to experience.

We open and close the meeting with a moment of silence followed by the Serenity Prayer:

Loving higher power, grant us the serenity to accept the things we can not change, courage to change the things we can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

We are a spiritual, self-help group of women who are guided by a set of 12 Suggested Steps and 12 Traditions as borrowed from AA, along with some slogans and the Serenity Prayer. There are no dues or fees. Everything that is said here, in the group meeting or member to member, must be held in strict confidence. We do not have any professional therapist working in our group. SASA is not a replacement for therapy or any other professional service when needed. The only requirement for membership is that you are a victim of sexual assault and you want to recover.
It does not matter whether the assault was initiated by a family member, an extended family member an aunt, uncle, inlaw, step-parent, cousin, friend of the family, teacher, coach, clergy, boyfriend or husband.

We believe we were affected by the assault whether it occurred once or many times, since the damage is incurred immediately. 

We learn in SASA not to deny what happened and that the assault was not our fault.

 No one deserves to be raped. We in SASA share our feelings, our experience, strength and hope. 

In dealing with our pain, it may feel as if we are pulling the scab off a wound that never healed properly, AND IT HURTS. However, it is easier to cry when we have friends who are not afraid of our tears. We CAN be comforted – that is why we are here. We will never forget, but we can, in time, heal the shame, grief and self destructive behaviors that often plague the silent survivor. In time, if we work the program, we will enjoy it’s promises.

We will now pass around and read the 12 Traditions.

We will now pass around and read the 12 Adapted Steps.

Today’s meeting is the (1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, or 5th) meeting of the month.
So it will be a (1st = Tradition – and there will be a business meeting from 7:45-8:00,
2nd = Slogan or Literature (Chair chooses), 3rd = Step, 4th = Speaker – up to 20 minutes, 5th = Open Topic) Meeting.

We will now read from the literature on this topic.

Remember, when sharing:

  • Members “pass” whenever we want. For example, we can pass the literature to the next person without reading. We can say “pass” instead of introducing ourselves, or we can introduce ourselves in a manner that feels safe to us.
  • Please do not respond to other peoples’ sharing. If you want to talk to them about it, ask them if you can during the break or after the meeting. Give them the right to say no.
  • Please, no interruptions, no advice and no judgment.
  • We encourage members to step outside the room at any time for as long as necessary.
  • Please address the suggested topic, or another recovery from sexual abuse topic.

The meeting is now open for sharing.

AFTER THE LAST SHARE

That is all the time we have. If you didn’t get to share, please try to find someone to share with after the meeting.

(If this is the 1st meeting of the month, the business meeting starts at 7:45, so close the meeting at 7:40)

We will now pass around and read the 12 Adapted Promises.

OUR MEETING CLOSING

(followed by a moment of silence and the serenity prayer)

In closing meeting, it is important for us to realize that no one here can tell us what to do. The Steps, Traditions and literature contain suggestions that we have found to be very helpful. Each of us will find the path meant for us in recovery. In SASA we do not give advice. Take what you like and leave the rest, but let there be no judgment or criticism of one another.

We are where we belong no matter who assaulted us, how often, or what the nature of the abuse was. We share many of the same feelings and consequences as other survivors and we can offer each other respect and loving support. As we come together for this support, sharing our experiences, strength and hope is essential. But let us always remember that what is said in this room, or member to member, must be held in strict confidence. Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of our program ever reminding us to place principles above personalities. Only in the safety of anonymity can we learn not to deny.

Let us all strive to maintain anonymity at the level of press, radio, television, films and the internet. If we run into a member outside a meeting, let us never jeopardize our anonymity by letting it be known that we met in SASA. Finally, we aim to limit our “outside” discussion of a given meeting to the topics discussed, careful not to break the anonymity of any member.

We want to remind those who have recently joined SASA that you are creative, courageous and caring survivors. It’s a miracle that you are here. Each day we accept and deal with the consequences of our assault experience, we become stronger people, and recognize and ourselves as survivors. We are sorry that suffering brought us together, but we hope you will feel the love we already have in our hearts for you. We know your pain. We want you to know you are not to blame, and most importantly, you are not alone.
We have come to the awesome realization that our pain is temporary, but denial and it’s consequences are forever -
and if any one of us can recover – so can we all.

WE END MEETINGS AS WE BEGIN THEM – WITH THE SERENITY PRAYER

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Loving higher power,
grant us the serenity to accept the things we can not change,
courage to change the things we can
and the wisdom to know the difference.
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