Self-Care Tips for Survivors

Frequent exposure to sexual violence in the news can present particular challenges to survivors. It may bring back painful memories for a survivor before they’re ready to revisit them. While it may not be possible to avoid unwanted reminders of sexual violence, it can be helpful to have some self-care strategies at hand. Practicing self care—which means taking proactive steps to feel physically and emotionally healthy and comfortable—can help survivors cope with the effects of trauma like sexual violence.

“Descriptions of sexual violence in the news and on social media can be difficult for some survivors, and may even cause flashbacks, anxiety, or trouble getting through the day,” said Jodi Omear, vice president of communications. “Though each survivor’s healing process is unique, many people find that having some of these helpful self-care strategies can make the difference.”

Helpful self-care strategies can include anything from spending time outdoors, exercising, deep breathing, journaling, or practicing an enjoyable art form. Even caring for basic needs, such as getting enough sleep and eating food that results in that individual feeling healthy and strong, can be beneficial for survivors. In addition, some survivors find it helpful to talk or spend time with a friend, advocate, or other supportive individual if that is something they are comfortable doing.

It is important for survivors to remember that if they ever feel uncomfortable, it is always fine to turn off the TV, walk out of a movie theater, or avoid checking social media. If a friend or someone else brings up sexual assault, it’s okay to tell them, “Now isn’t a good time to talk about this” or “I don’t feel comfortable sharing that right now.”

Check out RAINN’s resources for more strategies and information on self care:

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