I’ve been watching the news these past few days with a mixture of hope and heartbreak. Hope because it takes so much courage to come forward and speak out. Hope because taboo topics like sexual assault and domestic violence are now a part of our mainstream conversation. Hope because the patriarchy is being challenged in a way this country has never seen before. Hope because this amount of upheaval feels like a revolution. Hope because I choose to believe a safer world is waiting for us on the other side.
But there is also fear. It registers palpably in my body. As a survivor of intimate partner violence, I know all too well the fear and risk that comes with speaking out. I know the devastation and shame of what it feels like not to be believed. I have been reading some of the social media posts by leaders I respect who have vocalized their support and belief in survivors like Dr. Ford and the comment section is filled with so much vitriol and victim blaming. People questioning her credibility and motives, viciously attacking her character, and hurling hateful insults. The assault of words in this news cycle is dizzying.
If you are a survivor of trauma, the intensity of these times can feel both galvanizing and overwhelming to the point of freeze. Practice radical self-care. Tune in when it feels supportive. And know that it’s OK to tune out when it feels too triggering. Get out in nature, place your bare feet on the earth, exercise, hug someone you love, laugh, dance, cry, or simply place your hands on your heart and take a deep breath. Do whatever you need to support your nervous system and anchor back into your body.
If you choose to add your voice to the collective conversation, know that you get to decide what to share, with whom to share, when to share, and where you share. You also get to choose NOT to share. In the landscape of social media, sharing can be healing, but it can also be re-traumatizing. YOU get to decide. Standing in solidarity and support for survivors who speak up and for survivors who stay silent. There is no right or wrong way to heal. There is only what’s right for you. #BelieveSurvivors