Last updated: Wednesday July 22, 2009
The SOAR internet support groups functioned primarily through two anonymous mailing lists devoted to the discussion of sexual abuse by religious leaders, without regard to religion, country, denomination, gender or any other factor. The SOAR list was predominantly American in membership, but has now closed. American victims of religious sexual abuse are still welcome to join SOAROZ, but may feel more at home accessing an American-based support group. SOAROZ is predominantly Australian in membership, but welcomes members from all countries. It arose from the needs of Australian victims to be able to share more specifically the problems they face in a culture which is still less willing to acknowledge clergy abuse than America. SOAROZ is only open to survivors and supporters of those abused by religious leaders - it does not accept abusers themselves. The SOAROZ mailing list is not moderated ie. posts to the list are not censored prior to circulation to list members. However, it has one or more mentors, whose job is to maintain a safe space for members to share. To aid in creating a safe space to share with others, all members of the mailing lists make a pledge to follow the ground rules.
Email is both a powerful and a limited form of communication. It is a powerful form of communication because survivors and supporters who have been isolated by distance and fear can now join with others in a safe, anonymous conversation, letting go of the pain, healing the soul. You can take the time to connect down to the deepest part of your soul, stay in that space and express it without distractions or deadlines. But it is also a limited form of communication because all body language, facial expressions, and tonal inflection are lost. We do not have immediate feedback on how the other person is reacting to our comments unless they post a reply message. For this reason, it is especially important to think before you react to another member's post. If you feel hurt or attacked, please double-check before reacting in anger or hurt.
What would prevent someone from getting into the group by making up a story? Are you wondering who might be spying on us/intruding/invading our healing space?
The SOAR and SOAROZ email lists grew out of SNAP - the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests - an American organisation. You may find other useful information on the SNAP Home Page. This page is © 1997-2009. Please send your comments to the WebWoman