If you don’t have any plans for this weekend, now you do https://t.co/0vO8zKrl5r
— Mashable (@mashable) September 28, 2018
Today’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearings have been hard for many, but especially those who have a history of sexual abuse or assault. Whether or not you watched the proceedings, it was hard to avoid hearing about them on the news and on every social media outlet.
Some people are only now realizing that some of their own experiences were abuse or assault. Others are experiencing renewed rawness of emotions that they thought were long past. Many are sad, anxious, outraged, depressed.
For many survivors, it’s not only whatever abuse or assault may have occurred. It’s also about the reactions of others, the important others and even loved ones who trivialized, dismissed, or minimized the trauma. Those who told survivors in one way or another,
“Who cares if you were upset then or now. It’s in the past! Get over it! Snap out of it! You’re making a big deal out of nothing. You weren’t actually hurt. This was nothing compared to [someone else’s painful experience]. I’m sure he didn’t mean it that way. He wouldn’t do that to someone so unattractive! He didn’t really do that much. Quit playing the victim! You’re always so dramatic! Be strong! Deep down he’s really a good guy. It was your own fault for being there. For drinking. For wearing that outfit. For trusting someone. For being friendly. For being bitchy. For being vulnerable. For acting tough. For not saying ‘no’ the right way. Why can’t you just be cool about it? You’re lucky he showed you attention. He only does that to girls he likes.”
It can be hard to reject the destructive, victim-blaming messages we may have internalized for years. Seeing someone else go through that process can be very upsetting. But it can also be an opportunity to recognize that while there are those who minimized or disbelieved or just didn’t care, it still wasn’t your fault. Just as you can see that it was not the fault of other survivors, it was also not your fault. It was always the fault of the assailant, no matter how powerful, successful, “nice,” or well-looked-upon.
Teen Vogue has some concrete suggestions for keeping yourself together during social crises that are PTSD triggers. Take care of yourself; you are worthy of care.
It is common for PTSD symptoms to spike during times of social upheaval, especially for those who are in marginalized groups or who have abuse histories.
Nicole Sanchez, a lecturer at UC UC Berkeley Haas School of Business, has some useful insights about how we can support marginalized friends and coworkers during critical events. She’s talking about race, but much of the dynamics also apply to events affecting LGBTQ folks (and other marginalized groups).
(Threadreader compiled version here.)
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed, anxious, and depressed about world events. Even more so when many others in your social circle (online or off) are feeling the same way.
Dr. Glenda Russell is a licensed psychologist and researcher in Colorado with whom I had the great fortune to work during my training in Michigan. She has some important and reassuringly concrete things to say about moving forward during frightening times.
This clip is only five minutes long, but if you’ve been feeling discouraged and scared, it can really help.