Donna Brendel new



TwentyTHREE61 has a three-fold mission: 1) to help women and men heal from abortion, 2) to help women and men heal from sexual trauma and addiction, and 3) to educate our community on the need for healing in these areas.

Abortion is not an isolated event in a woman or a man’s life. Physical, sexual, emotional and financial trauma, neglect and abuse often precede an abortion decision. Abortion, although often chosen to alleviate the immediate concerns of a pregnancy that are thought to be insurmountable, creates additional trauma on top of the pre-existing trauma. And to numb the pain of continued trauma from the past and the new trauma of the abortion, new and/or increasingly damaging behaviors may emerge, which in turn add even more trauma into an already overburdened heart and life. This snowballing effect of trauma is devastating.

This is why twentyTHREE61 offers healing Bible study groups for all phases of the trauma that feeds into this cycle. We start wherever a person feels the need to heal most, whether it’s sexual abuse, abortion trauma or sexual addiction. But our clients often start with healing in one area, and then move on to heal another area of pain and trauma. It takes many months and years to work through all of the years of issues, and many of our clients have in fact worked with us for years. Some clients work through our studies in conjunction with professional counseling, which we highly encourage.

We schedule our studies based on the needs of our clients, and oftentimes groups form organically as new clients come to us. Once a group starts, we don’t advertise it because it becomes a confidential place of privacy and safety to share stories from the past and present.

Our clients form bonds and friendships with each other and our facilitators that continue even after the study concludes. Most of these topics are not safe to discuss in normal situations or even with most family members or friends. And since we deal with these issues on a regular basis, we are here, available to discuss the big “A” words with you — abortion, adultery and abuse — as well as a few other uncomfortable words, like pornography.

If you have any of these issues in your past or present, and if you find yourself struggling to handle life, focus on family or work, or crying at strange times and triggers, please reach out to us.

We have a growing number of peer-counselors who can meet with you and discuss a study and put together a group to help you through your journey toward healing. Men, contact Alex at 262-989-6553 or Women, contact Donna at 262-620-3608 or, or Amber at 262-325-1970. For Spanish speaking, contact Laura at 414-975-2270 or

Our first local Spanish-speaking retreat for post-abortion recovery is May 17-19 in Williams Bay. Women and men are welcome. Cost is $195 per person or $375 per couple, and scholarships are available.

Donna Brendel is the executive director of twentyTHREE61.