If you're a survivor of childhood sexual abuse or of sexual assault as an adult and recent media coverage concerning Donald Trump's obscene language and predatory behavior has stirred up your pain, you are not alone. Even NPR's radio talk show host Diane Rehm has experienced the pain of that scenario and you can read about it on her show's Facebook page. Last week writer Kelly Oxford, who was sexually assaulted at age 12, put out a call on twitter for women to tweet about the first time it happened to them. NPR's The Two-Way reported on October 11, that over 130,000 responded. So whether your memories are new or the ones you've had for years are resurfacing with another layer of pain, you are in good company and the following suggestions are here for you; for anyone—female or male—whose painful memories have been triggered by recent news about Donald Trump, and by the stories of the women who have had the courage to come forward.
1. Talk about it to someone you can trust. Someone who respects you and cares about you; perhaps a spouse or a friend, a clergy person or a therapist, or perhaps you prefer speaking to someone at RAINN's hotline 800-656-HOPE ( RAINN is the Rape and Incest National Network; their website is www.RAINN.org)
2. Give yourself a media fast for as long as you need it. That means no TV, radio, newspaper, news online. It's a way of protecting yourself from the constant bombardment of images and words that can create a constellation of triggering input.
3. Take care of your body. Get regular exercise and eat a healthy well-balanced diet.
4. Listen to music that you love. Music can evoke a range of feelings. Perhaps you need music that calms you, or maybe music that makes you happy, or that that makes you sing, or makes you dance with joy. Let music transport your mind, body and spirit to a safe place.
5. Keep a journal, or express yourself through art.
6. Call a friend to meet you for coffee, or to go to a movie with you, or for a walk or some other activity. It's important that you don't isolate yourself.
7. Immerse yourself in the beauty of nature, and I borrow Anne Frank's wisdom for that suggestion as she wrote: "The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quiet, alone with the heavens, nature and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be."
I hope these suggestions are helpful for you. If youre so inclined I invite you to add suggestions that you might recommend, in the comment section of this blog.
Websites for finding a therapist or support groups: