April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. It’s a month that brings awareness to the community regarding education on sexual assault and gives survivors a voice, but for some, this can be a triggering and a tough month.
I know this because I’ve been there. I’ve gone through the journey of healing from the trauma of my own abuse all while trying to be an advocate for others. If you want to hear my story of reporting my abuse as an adult, click here.
As abuse survivors share their stories on social media and other areas, it’s important to take care of yourself during this time. Here are 5 ways to be proactive as a survivor during Sexual Assault Awareness Month.
Triggers happen. If you know your personal triggers be aware of them so you can protect yourself. That might mean being aware of what you’re watching—maybe skipping a show you once enjoyed if you know it contains triggers for you. Or maybe just knowing when to fast forward through a scene.
It might mean taking a break from the reminders, too. Maybe from social media, or an organization you’re involved in. You’re allowed to give yourself a break.
- Phone A Friend
Having someone in your corner is amazing, but it also allows you to openly talk about what you’re feeling. Consider asking a friend ahead of time if it’s okay to call them when you need to talk through something. I have a friend that I do this with now and honestly it has helped so much.
- Practice Self-Care
Do something for yourself. If that means taking extra time to do something you enjoy then do it. There was a season of my life where I painted my nails once a week. It made me happy and it was my self-care time. Find what works for you and commit to that time for you.
- Consider Counseling
There’s nothing wrong with talking to a therapist. I like to call it word vomiting. You go into a session, say what’s on your mind, and then leave it there. Therapists also give you helpful tools to help overcome the areas of your life you’re struggling with. And the best part? It’s completely confidential.
I pray often, and even when things are hard. God is only a prayer away. He wants to hear from you and know what you’re struggling with. He wants to help. Your prayer doesn’t need to be fancy, it just needs to be from you.
Healing from assault is a process. It’s not something that’s done overnight. It is a journey. These tips are just tips I’ve used and continue to use when I need them.
If you want to get connected to a professional to further heal from your the assault, the National Sexual Assault Hotline is available at 1-800-656-4673. Here is a link to their website.
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