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Orange Healing Circles are for non-offending parents or others who had the responsibility of keeping their child safe from sexual harm and were unable to do so. Orange Circles are also for non-offending parents or others who had the responsibility of keeping their child from sexually harming someone, and were unable to do so. Orange Circles are for those working to heal and come to a more balanced place in themselves, their family, and within their web of relationships.

 
 


⌾  Circles begin periodically and participation is free.

⌾  Circles run for approximately 12 weeks, and last for about 1hr & 15 minutes to 1hr & 30 minutes each, depending on the number of attendees that week

⌾  All Circles are comprised of between 4 - 10 participants, and all participants must be at least 18 years old.

⌾  To participate, we highly recommend a firm commitment to attend the first three (3) meetings and the strong intention to attend all twelve (12) meetings.

⌾  Once a Circle is completed, participants are welcome to return and join subsequent Circles.

For more information see About Healing Circles →

As a parent of a child who experienced sexual abuse, I felt helpless and powerless. It was as if shame cloaked me and left a weight of failure on me. I wished it wasn’t true and remember thinking not my child, but it was, and I had to deal with it. Joining an Orange Circle helped me face what I didn’t want to face. I found out that I wasn’t alone in hoping this wasn’t happening, feeling like a fraud for a mom and desperately desiring to make things better for my daughter and myself. I connected to other parents that were supportive, understanding and nonjudgmental. Each story of healing inspired me and lifted me out of the pit of despair I previously occupied. Healing had come, and I found it in my Orange Circle.
— LTomay Douglas
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Some Frequently Asked (Orange) Questions

What constitutes “harm” or “abuse”?

Many people do not have a clear picture or memory of the harm (but have a strong feeling that something happened) and they have asked us if they can join a Circle. The answer is yes. Others have asked: Is it necessary to have had penetration or on-going episodes of harm to be eligible for Hidden Water Circles?; or If the person that caused harm was not in the family, or if the person that was harmed wasn’t a child or doesn’t identify with the phrase “child sexual abuse”, can I still come through Hidden Water?; or If I don’t think what happened is legally considered “abuse" because the person who caused harm was also under 18 years old, does this still qualify?

The guideline for us is: if any violation of a sexual nature, clear or unclear in detail, happened to someone under the age of 18, by someone of any age, known to that minor or not, including a stranger, and you believe this has had a negative impact, this qualifies to participate in Hidden Water.

Is everything confidential?

It is a general principle of Circle that what is shared in Circle is held in confidence and with respect. In the second session of Circle, Circle Keepers lead the group in co-creating guidelines and agreements for how the group will function together, which always includes a conversation about confidentiality, among other issues of trust and safety. Circle Keepers and the rest of the Hidden Water staff keep all personal information shared, inside and outside Circle, confidential. This includes the names of anyone participating in a Circle. Hidden Water does not collect any information about participants beyond their contact information and the Circles they have attended. Hidden Water has a strict policy of not providing any documentation about attendance or participation to anyone outside of Hidden Water.

The only exception to our practice of confidentiality is if information surfaces which leads Hidden Water to believe that a child is currently being harmed or is in imminent danger of being harmed; Hidden Water chooses to follow the guidelines of mandatory reporting and will inform Child Protective Services of any information that might keep a child safe.

The person who harmed my child was not a family member. Can I still join an Orange Circle?

Yes, definitely. The impact of childhood sexual abuse permeates the lives of adults, whole family systems and communities in very similar ways whether the person who was harmed was someone within the family system or was outside the family system (such as clergy, babysitters, neighbors, teachers, coaches, older friends, and even strangers).

 

I know sexual harm happened in my family, but I don’t know the extent of it. Can I join an Orange Circle?

Yes. Childhood sexual abuse within a family system can be a confusing, scary and overwhelming experience to address — particularly for caregivers who were responsible for someone when they were harmed and/or when they caused harm. Orange Circles strive to support parents and other caregivers in processing the questions and uncertainties you may have, such as: Is there anything I can do now? Is it better to "let things be" or should I try and understand what happened? Will asking these questions help or hurt my child? How might I support myself and my family in taking steps forward toward healing?

Joining an Orange Circle can be a courageous step toward uncovering the ways in which the sexual harm and the response (or lack thereof) might have impacted the whole family or familial system; it can also be an important opportunity to grieve. We welcome people at all different stages of healing to join a Circle and believe that being with others who are also willing to be with inquiry and uncertainty is a powerful part of the healing process. Parents, even to adult survivors or those who caused harm can play a critical role in healing the family system long after the events of sexual harm took place. Thoughtful reflection and consideration about what to do (or not to do) as the non-offending parent is often central to the healing of the family system.

I want to support my child, but why would I need to be a part of a “Healing” Circle when I didn’t sexually abuse anyone and the abuse did not happen to me?  

The impact of childhood sexual abuse reverberates throughout the entire family system. Parents of someone who was harmed or who committed harm have their own unique pain and challenges.  Because the focus tends to be on the persons who were directly impacted by sexual abuse or violation, there is often little support for parents and caregivers to process how the harm has impacted their own life or that of the other family system members.

Orange Circles strive to support non-offending parents and caregivers in processing the questions that might come up for you, such as: Could I have done anything? Do I need to take more responsibility (or less)? What has been the impact on my family and relationships because of what happened? How have I experienced secondary trauma reactions? What do I do with my own anger, depression, guilt, and helplessness? How do I relate to the person who harmed my child? How do I relate to the person who my child harmed? Is it okay that I feel harmed by the reactions and negative play-out of my child? How do I help break the silence in my family system? How do I support my own healing so that I can more effectively support the people I love?


For more FAQs, please see our FAQs page.

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The Gifts of Healing

There is no cost to participate in Hidden Water Circles. All Circles are gifted to current participants by previous participants who chose to help us “pay-it-forward”.

Hidden Water Circle Keepers volunteer their time and consider this work an act of service, which also furthers their own continuing healing, enabling the circle of healing to continue.

 
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What’s After Circle?


Self-care

After you have completed an Orange Circle, first and foremost, be present to your growing edge and keep taking good care of yourself. Self-care and connection with others are paramount. If you need support, please seek it out. You can also contact your Circle Keeper(s) who can help guide you to professional support.  Remember you are not alone.

 
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Also, there are several ways you can continue on your healing path while staying connected to Hidden Water:

Register For Another Circle

If you feel at anytime that joining another Orange Circle would benefit you, we always warmly welcome back past participants. If you also identify with another color Circle, you may consider joining one of those Circles. People who have been through Circle are uniquely valuable in subsequent Circles. There is no formula or graduation date for healing and it’s not uncommon for people to participate in multiple Circles.

Ask About Multi-Color Circles  

If you would like to participate in a Circle with others who have completed at least one Green, Orange, Blue or Purple Healing Circle, please speak with your Circle Keeper(s) and/or contact us. When there is enough need and capacity for such a circle, we will work with those who are ready to come together in a restorative Systems Circle process.

Join Us

If you are interested in volunteer opportunities, are inspired to write a testimonial or blog post, would be willing to speak to someone interested in joining an Orange Circle about your experience, and/or have any other ideas about staying engaged with our work, please fill out this short form and help us expand the circle.

 

Become a Circle Keeper

All Orange Circle Keepers had the responsibility of keeping a child safe from sexual harm and were unable to do so, and have completed at least one 12-week Orange Circle and a Circle Keeper training.  If after completing an Orange Circle, you would like to become a volunteer Circle Keeper for Hidden Water, please let your Circle Keeper(s) know, and they will recommend you for one of our trainings.  For more information, please see FAQs, What is a Circle Keeper? & How can I become a Circle Keeper? →

 
 

If you have participated in a Circle and feel you have benefitted from your experience, you are welcome to make a donation, based on your means and desire. Your donations are what make it possible for others to have a seat in the next round of Circles.

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Finally, we invite you to follow our Blog.

On our Blog, we share ideas, stories and events, as well as feature creative work from our Hidden Water community. We are also in the process of collecting Resources (articles, books, podcasts, films, etc) that Circle Keepers and participants have found helpful along our various journeys towards healing, empowerment and wholeness.

Below are the most recent posts for Orange and links to the Resources we are collecting. We’re adding more as we can. If there is something you think we should consider including, please write to us.

 

To see Resources for Orange,
Orange Resources→


To see all Resources,
All Colors Resources→


To see & search our full blog,
View All Posts→ 


[...] Although the abuse [...] had taken place decades before, for my niece the pain of what happened to her was still present, and the way that the surrounding adults had failed her had never been addressed by any of us. [P]erhaps I will never fully be free of shame for my part in that. But [...] the Orange Circle [...] helped me understand what I could do to be helpful to my niece now, in the present. I traveled to see her some weeks after the Circle concluded and we were able to talk openly about her anger and sadness, which she had never felt safe to talk about before. I believe we have started to create a relationship based on love and truth, something I wanted but had not known how to move toward until my work with Hidden Water.

— Orange Circle Participant (Suffolk County, NY) Read More →

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