STAR brings trauma-survivors together to be ‘no longer silent, no longer alone’

Mike Yoder and I would never have met if we had not come to STAR II at the same time at SPI 2016. We both come out of conservative Anabaptism. We both have first-hand knowledge of how trauma-producing abuse changes lives.

After STAR II, Mike and his therapy group invited me to come to Milton, Pennsylvania. Together we hosted a Saturday night and Sunday morning circle process. As guest speaker, I was invited to speak from my own story. In both events, there were others like me who, as children, had faced some level of abusive parental patterns.

Several people who have never spoken publicly before were able to acknowledge their wounds. One young participant, recently engaged, was able to tell their partner about having suffered childhood abuse. An abuser, who had been in counseling, acknowledged for the first time that he realized that he had deep personal flaws and wasn’t sure why.

Vulnerability and truth telling have power. In sharing our experiences we challenged the deep sense of isolation that trauma often produces. We broke the power of fear and shame that urge us to be silent. The process was profound and a direct outgrowth of our time at STAR.

Mike co-directs GuideSpring a therapeutic practice in Milton, Pennsylvania. Guidespring utilizes individual and group therapy to serve individuals and communities seeking to be released from the heavy burden of unresolved trauma. Joy is a mission worker serving with InnerCHANGE: An Order of Christians Among the Poor. She is also an incest survivor who has walked the long road out of darkness into light.