The Peer-Led Support Group (PLSG) at the University of Michigan was founded in 2010 and was created to serve as a safe space for sexual assault survivors at the university. The PLSG was designed to be very student-oriented – aimed for students, and facilitated by students – in the hopes that establishing these student connections would make survivors feel more comfortable in the group setting.
The PLSG was created in 2010 by Amy Burandt, Program Manager for Survivor Care at SAPAC, and two SAPAC facilitators, Stephanie Cogen and Melissa Robinson. Together, Burandt, Cogen, and Robinson created the PLSG from the ground up, filling the PLSG meetings with therapeutic activities, spaces for disclosure, empathetic ears, and an abundance of tea. Cogen and Robinson have since graduated from the University; yet, the future co-facilitators are earnest to continue the hard work that Cogen and Robinson have started, and make the group an even bigger presence on campus.
The PLSG runs once a week, and is a drop-in, confidential group for survivors to address concerns and find support in a safe and comfortable space. Each session starts with an introduction to the PLSG, and then proceeds to offer a safe place for disclosure if participants feel comfortable. From there, the group transitions into semi-structured activities which explore what it means to be a survivor, as well as effective ways to practice self-care. Because self-care is the primary focus of the PLSG, the meetings always end with therapeutic activities such as coloring or crafts, as well as a brainstorm on how participants can continue to take care of themselves after the meeting ends.
This semester, the PLSG takes place on Wednesday nights from 7:00 PM – 8:30 PM in the SAPAC Office, located in Room G509 of the Michigan Union (near the International Center). The PLSG is open to students at the University of Michigan – survivors of all genders and identities are welcome!