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Student starts support group for sexual assault survivors


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The sunflower is the official symbol for More Than a Body.

A new support group called More Than a Body (MTAB) is being started on campus.

Westlake, Ohio graduate student Abby Farabaugh said the idea behind the group is based around freedom of expression and building self-esteem. Farabaugh was one of the original members of MTAB at her alma mater Kent State University.

MTAB is a community where allies and survivors of sexual assault don’t have to share their stories but can be surrounded by people who already understand their struggle, Farabaugh said. 

Members have the opportunity to bond through decompression events that build self-esteem and encourage self-expression. Farabaugh said things like poetry nights are meant to promote healing through artistic expression and encourage members to find creative ways of coping with their trauma. 

Farabaugh, who identifies as a survivor, came to terms with her experience with the help of the friends she made at MTAB. After coming to CMU for graduate school, Farabaugh saw a need for something similar in Mount Pleasant.

“A lot of the students who reached out to me expressed that they’ve been looking for something like this for a while,” Farabaugh said, “My hope is that I live up to what they’re looking for and that the organization can serve them and what they need.”

Midland junior Farryn Cook reached out after seeing a recruitment presentation Farabaugh did at an Organization of Women Leaders virtual meeting. 

“The way she presented about it, the organization just seems so positive,” Cook said. “The idea of supporting survivors of sexual assault is something really close to my heart.”

While Farabaugh brings MTAB to CMU, a community chapter has started in Columbus, Ohio. MTAB founder, Megan Taylor, graduated from KSU in May 2020 and decided to bring MTAB to her hometown.

“I started this project because I saw a vast amount of educational organizations that dealt with sexual violence, but I didn't see a community for survivors specifically,” Taylor said. “This is such a special group of people, ready to support and love you."

The official symbol of MTAB is the sunflower, chosen by Taylor. She said sunflowers wilt at night and then lift and face the sun during the day.

“It was too perfect because that is the core meaning of the entire project," Taylor said. "There are dark times. No one is pretending there aren't, but we are moving towards light and healing, striving toward growth.”

Anyone interested in joining More Than a Body can reach out to Abby Farabaugh via email at farab1am@cmich.edu

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