Self-Care for Sexual Assault Survivors

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The recent Supreme Court confirmation has made the past few weeks particularly traumatizing for sexual assault survivors. The past months years centuries haven’t been swell either.

I’ve been trying my hardest to avoid the topic for the sake of my mental health (or at least to keep a safe distance from it by not checking Twitter every fifteen minutes.) It’s difficult to escape it though. My heart hurts when I think about the collective pain many victims are feeling right now as they scroll through their feeds or watch the news.

If you are a survivor of sexual assault, please know I believe you and support you. I encourage you to do whatever you need to do to take care of yourself now and always. Check out a list below of some self-care ideas if you need them:

Note: I am not a medical or mental health professional, and any information and content on my website is not a substitute for professional, medical, or legal advice. 

  1. Talk to a mental health professional (preferably one who specializes in treating trauma victims), friend, or family member you trust. Ask for help when you need it. Check out this page if you’re interested in finding a therapist.
  2. Stay away from social media for as long as you need to. Hide specific people or pages from your feed and block any source that is toxic for you.
  3. Use the National Sexual Assault Hotline for confidential support: Call 800.656.HOPE (4673) or chat online. Check out the National Domestic Violence Hotline for domestic or relationship abuse cases.
  4. Do what you can to take care of your body. Sleep, eat, and exercise in whatever ways make you feel best.
  5. Express yourself. Write your thoughts and feelings in a journal, sing an empowering song, or try painting.
  6. Learn about ways to feel safer and make any changes necessary. Your wellbeing and safety matters.
  7. Avoid watching movies or television shows that include sexual violence. Pay attention to warnings and shut off anything that’s too distressing.
  8. Take action by seeking justice if, and only if, you desire to.
  9. Show yourself love in many forms. Pamper yourself with a bubble bath, celebrate your strength by getting a tattoo, or buy yourself something that brings you joy.
  10. Establish and use a crisis plan. Know who you’ll call when you need support, what techniques can help you calm down, and what steps to take in emergency situations.
  11. Find a support group near you if you would like to connect with other victims in a safe space.
  12. Distract yourself somehow. Play a board game or spend time with your pets. Participate in an activity that typically elevates your mood.
  13. Be easy on yourself. Treat yourself gently and stick to whatever boundaries you need to. Don’t ignore your needs for the sake of being convenient.
  14. Know that you can decide how you want to participate in any conversations regarding sexual assault. You have every right to take part or not, your story is yours. Being a victim does not mean you have to be a spokesperson.

 

Bottom line: Do whatever you need to do for you. I’m sending peaceful and loving vibes to all survivors of sexual assault during these trying times.

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