Publicity around sexual assault is a double -edged sword. On the one hand, I appreciate bringing awareness to an issue that affects so many of us. But hashtags such as #whyididntreport sometimes lead to increasing triggers and shame for those not ready to share their story publicly.
These campaigns are well intended and can be freeing and validating for many. But others are inundated with memories of their worst experiences and reminded again of all the ways they were not believed or supported. This can be such a lonely place.
For those sharing their stories: I stand with you in solidarity and support. Your openness is making a difference and is powerful. Please take care of yourself as sharing one’s story can lead to a rawness that needs support and nurturance.
For those not sharing their story publicly, I also stand with you in solidary and support. You need to listen to your own needs. Trusting yourself is powerful. Please take care of yourself as reading these stories (and sitting with your own) can also lead to a rawness that needs support and nurturance.
So what can we do for self- care? Confide in those that are trustworthy and understand your journey. Engage in gentle, mindful movement such as going for walks or to the gym. Read a book, journal, or keep a gratitude list. Most of all, be gentle with yourself. It is okay if you need more time alone or, conversely, don’t feel comfortable being alone. It is okay if you are more irritable or tearful. Reach out for support. Find a counselor or see one that already knows your story. Know that you are seen and supported.
Many of us are experiencing anger and rage in ways we are not used to allowing ourselves to feel. Being raised female in our society leads to a culture of minimizing our feelings, especially our anger. But anger can be helpful. Repressed anger causes all sorts of health problems. So find someplace to scream. Hit a punching bag. Allow that anger to course through you and feel its strength. Because we are strong and we will band together and move through this.
Christine Blasey Ford, Deborah Ramirez, and Julie Swetnick: a special thank you for your vulnerability and courage. I stand with you in gratitude and support for your honesty and willingness to share your story in support of preserving the integrity of our highest court. I am sorry those with the power to take a stand against violence and in favor of integrity failed so powerfully today. #metoo