Network of mass shooting survivors helps victims cope with trauma

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MADISON, Wis., (WMTV) -- One year after the mass shooting at Middleton company Paradigm, survivors are still left to process their trauma. There is a network of survivors dedicated to helping each other get better.

There’s a nationwide group comprised of mass shooting survivors called The Rebels Project. The group was formed in 2012 after the Aurora, Colorado movie theater shooting by survivors of the Columbine High School shooting.

“When you become a survivor, you feel different, you feel like an outsider,” said Amy Over. Over survived the Columbine High School shooting in 1999. She was a senior when two classmates opened fire in the school.

“I was shot at, but I wasn’t shot. So my wounds are invisible. So it’s really important to have that validated,” said Over.

Over says in the years immediately after the tragedy, she was angry. She eventually went to counseling to process her trauma. In 2012, she helped found “The Rebels Project”. At first, they group was about 200 members. Today, that number is roughly 1,200.

The idea is to have a safe space where survivors can share their experience and learn about resources to help them cope with their trauma.

“There is nothing like meeting another survivor. It is very special when you meet someone you automatically just connect with because you’ve gone through that shared experience,” added Over.

Over says the road to recovery can be long but it’s worth it. She says the Rebels Project organization is, unfortunately, growing all the time due to the number of mass shootings.

For more information about the Rebels Project, check out their web site at https://www.therebelsproject.org/