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Self-care When Sexual Assault Is In the News

Whenever sexual assault and related topics are receiving intensive coverage in the news, conversations at home, at work or school, and in the media are a strain on the many survivors of these forms of misconduct. It is important to take care of yourself at times like this. 

TIPS FOR DEALING WITH COVERAGE OF SEXUAL ASSAULT

  • Make plans that include self-care.
    Make a plan for yourself that includes time with supportive relationships, activities that promote your well-being, and rest.
     
  • Take a break, if possible.
    Be aware that ongoing news coverage, social media, and even conversation wtih family and friends can be taxing. Consider what opportunities you may have for breaks from these things and allow yourself those breaks if you can.
     
  • Take time to breathe deeply and use grounding strategies to stay present.  
    Notice what your senses are taking in. Notice the supportive sensation of your feet on the ground. Being able to stay present allows your body and brain to calm its stress response so that you can respond in a thoughtful way that does not worsen the brain’s trauma response.
     
  • Try to avoid unrelated stressors.
    This is not the time to discuss a conflict with a friend or colleague, break up with a partner, or make a substantial life change. Have compassion for what you are experiencing. It will help you to avoid judgment of yourself and others.
     
  • Allow yourself a range of emotions, but seek help if needed. 
    Every one of us has multiple responses in times of stressful news, emotionally, socially, and politically - and will continue to do so as we move forward. It is important, however, to seek help if your reaction is interfering with your ability to function in daily life. Seeking help is especially important if you are unable to sleep, are experiencing poor concentration, flashbacks, numbness, or high levels of tearfulness or emotional ups and downs.

UVA students can find help at CAPS and the Women’s Center. The Women's Center can also provide information about sources of help for others.

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