I’m Exhausted- Getting Through the Era of #MeToo
Contributed by Rosie Bauder, LPC, NCC
Last week, millions of people watched their TVs, phones or computers for footage and updates of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s testimonial before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Dr. Blasey Ford spoke to her sexual assault in high school by Supreme Court nominee Brett, Kavanaugh. This and many other instances shared in the news and social media can be unwelcome reminders of other survivor’s own sexual assault.
For those with a history of sexual violence, which can be defined as sexual assault, harassment, or childhood sexual abuse, public events such as Dr. Blasey Ford’s testimonial can be empowering. These events can also be triggering and retraumatizing. There are a variety of emotions and reactions that can occur as a result, ranging from sadness, hopelessness and fear, to anger and rage.
Many survivor stories have been publicly shared since the beginning of the #MeToo movement just over a year ago. But sometimes, hearing details of one’s assault shared in the news or social media are unavoidable and can have a harmful impact. If you identify as a survivor of sexual violence, you might be thinking, “I’m just so tired, how can I keep going, how can I get through?” Here are some suggestions to navigate through those times that feel especially challenging.
1. Sit it Out
If you feel impacted by hearing the stories shared through the news, media, and in communities, it’s okay to turn it off and sit it out. There are typically several stories or posts released by various news outlets reporting on a story, so you might find that you’re exposed on multiple platforms. Consider logging out of news and social media sites that might give you notifications of the latest news. Taking a mini vacation from your phone is a great first step.
2. Reach Out
Consider reaching out to someone whom you trust- maybe a family member, friend or partner- and let them know that how you’re feeling. You might also want to reach out to a mental health professional if you notice that your thoughts or feelings are impacting your day to day. The National Sexual Assault Hotline through the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN) has both a 24-hour phone hotline as well as Live Chat. Both are available here.
3. Remember- You Are Not Alone
You are not alone. It can be incredibly isolating when hearing about the treatment of survivors who share their stories publicly; as progress continues to be made in advocating and honoring those with a history of sexual violence, there is still more work to be done You are not alone in your suffering, nor will you ever be. Write down the phrase, “I am not alone, I am strong, and I can get through this” as a reminder that there are countless others who are working to eliminate sexual violence.
You are not alone, you are strong, you can get through this.