Support group helps survivors

By Julia Griffin

Ruston’s Domestic Abuse Resistance Team’s weekly Domestic Violence Support Group offers survivors a safe space to learn, grow and heal. Every meeting has a safe and private location and a separate group for anyone out of diapers through 17 years old. 

Erika McFarland, head of the support group, volunteered and interned with DART in college. After she graduated, she became a shelter advocate for the domestic violence survival shelter. 

She returned to DART in 2020 to become the survivors advocate, where she does supportive counseling and holds weekly support group. 

Individuals must be a DART client to attend.

“In order to keep it safe and private, we meet clients here at the office prior to attending the group,” McFarland said. “All members must first be a DART client. You can complete the intake in our office downtown.”

The support group is a peer support group.

“You get to be in a safe place where there are people who have a similar story,” McFarland said.

Group helps to educate survivors on understanding and processing their emotions, while giving them community so they no longer feel alone or isolated.

“The camaraderie and fellowship that the survivors build in a group helps them rebuild trust, which is so important because trust is usually lost not just in people, but also in themselves,” McFarland said.

She said the group is a great place to rebuild trust because it’s confidential, and no one is judging you. 

“It’s a place where you can just be,” she said. “The support group provides so much more than just a safe place; it builds a community.” 

For more information contact McFarland at 318-513-9373.