OUR MISSION

 Photo by F Dillon

Photo by F Dillon

Taking Back Ourselves is committed to empowering women survivors of sexual abuse, violence, and incest to be whole, healed, and connected to others.    
Taking Back Ourselves supports that purpose by offering healing weekends for women survivors that provide a deep and joyful multi-modal experience and create a powerful community of women that will continue long after the weekend.   
Taking Back Ourselves is committed to empowering women survivors of sexual abuse, violence, and incest to be whole, healed, and connected to others.  
 
Taking Back Ourselves supports that purpose by offering experiential Weekends of Recovery for women survivors from every background, race and creed, to provide a deep and joyful multi-modal experience and create a powerful community that continues long after the weekend.    TBO is committed to providing scholarships for participants who are otherwise unable to afford to participate.
Each weekend can accommodate a maximum of 28 women and 8 facilitators—remarkable therapists from across the US.   This ratio of therapists to participants in small groups is a powerful adjunct to recovery.  Each member of the TBO team has decades of experience and skill in sexual trauma therapy, body and authentic movement, and process work.

Each participant learns and implements tools for inner and outer safety, tells her story in small group where she will be heard—and with the power of community—creates a new template for recovery that continues long after the weekend.

Taking Back Ourselves (TBO) is committed to making the Weekends absolutely accessible to women who have little access to support because of race, culture, or economics.  But weekends like this are expensive to run.  TBO is vigilant about finding facilities that are welcoming to the work, provide enough physical and environmental space to be safe and nurturing, and are still reasonable in price.  We areextremely careful about choosing facilities that have NO strong ties to religious or philosophical institutions that may be reminiscent of past violations.  We are also committed to providing small stipends for the facilitators that donate far more in hundreds of hours a year to this project.

HOW WE BEGAN

 Photo by M Rauch

Photo by M Rauch

In September, 2001, the weekend before September 11, a group of committed clinicians facilitated our first Male Survivor weekend of recovery with nine brave men at a retreat center in the middle of a cornfield in Illinois. The Weekends of Recovery evolved and grew to be formidable and powerful templates for men to create avenues of healing not available in traditional therapeutic venues,  But over years, after 65 Weekends of Recovery for male survivors, we were haunted by the fact that women survivors needed to receive more support than traditional therapy, rape recovery centers or crisis intervention.  We recognized that women typically spend less on themselves or engage far fewer resources when it comes to self care. They spend their money on their children or their families before they commit to their own recovery needs. Struggles with toxic relationships, addictions or self worth take different but similar incarnations than with men: loyalties to toxic relationships, with alcohol, prescription drugs, or food—oftenwith difficult, painful sexual and social consequences.   

So in 2014, Taking Back Ourselves was initially instituted for women survivors of sexual abuse and assault, under the umbrella of the MaleSurvivor Organization.
In June of that year,  at the Hope Springs Institute, an unlikely place of refuge in the middle of rural Ohio, women survivors of sexual abuse participated in thefirst TakingBackOurselves Weekend of Recovery for women survivors of sexual abuse of any kind.  Since then, the women have come from all over the US and 4 continents—to heal and to create community.  They had traveled a long way to be there, some at considerable cost—a few at great risk.    They were survivors of incest, sexual assault, domestic violence, religious abuse, abuse in the context of sports and the arts, military sexual assault, war crimes, tribal and racial violence.    
At TBO, women left their isolation behind and created real safety.  They made real connections with one anotherand with the eight extremely seasoned facilitators, two of whom were men.  They were able to tell their stories and be believed.  They experimented with being vulnerable, connected to the girls inside of themselves, and made room for possibility and curiosity.  They explored their creativity with incredible art and movement.  Together they created community, hope, joy—and more life.  And, many have kept their connections with one another in creating community and to themselves, in the power they touched within.

Since then, women survivors have participated in TBO Weekends of Recovery in Ohio, Connecticut and California.  And, today,  Taking Back Ourselves is proud to announce that we are an independent non profit, dedicated to serving women survivors from every background.  We are committed to providing this extraordinary opportunity and providing an affordable and beautiful space for women, no matter where they are from, to create a strong community of recovery.