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21 Self-Care Tips Sexual Assault Survivors Might Need Right Now

Turn. Off. The. News.

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We recently asked members of the BuzzFeed Community how they're taking care of themselves as stories of sexual assault and harassment flood the media.

Between ongoing coverage of the allegations against Harvey Weinstein and people coming forward on social media with their own stories of sexual assault and harassment, you might need to take extra care of your mental health right now. Here's what has helped some of our readers.

Remember: These aren't meant to be medical recommendations, but they're tactics that have worked for others and might work for you, too. Be sure to work with a professional to find the best methods for you.

1. Bookmark some happy and distracting things to scroll through so you have a quick escape from the news.

Anna Borges / BuzzFeed

"I have ‘happy pages’ on standby on various apps on my phone. Whenever I see a news article/post that’s hard to read, I switch over to my favorite documentary, or #corgibutts, or makeup tutorials on YouTube. They’re always just enough to block out the tidal wave of shit that’s going on in the world."

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2. Don't feel pressured to share your story if you're not ready.

dear survivors who didn't feel ready to participate in the amazing #MeToo tag: be kind to yourself. your story is yours to share when ready.

3. Watch a revenge flick, horror movie, or just something with a badass protagonist — whatever you think would be cathartic.

Netflix / Via calebholloways.tumblr.com

"Watching SVU, as well as watching the horror flick I Spit On Your Grave, which is a revenge movie after a girl gets brutally raped."

aperel612

"I like to watch scary movies from the 80s. They're usually so bad they're good and I can watch the bad guys get what's coming to them — something that sadly doesn't always happen in real life."

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"Watching Jessica Jones."

magsbf17

4. Or read or watch something super romantic, cheesy, or feel-good to make you feel okay about the world again.

NBC / Via reddit.com

"The biggest thing for me? Romance novels. Truly! I love, love, love reading about love, sex where she enjoys it and has agency over her decisions on what she wants and how she likes it."

m4b60ed0d7

"On days I felt like I couldn't get out of bed because I didn't want the world to see me in the state I was in, I would turn Parks and Recreation on and immerse myself in the positive vibes the show radiated."

allisonm43ca20e81

"For some reason the cartoon Justice League has always helped me. It's half an hour to escape and not think about what happened."

quinnd3

5. Let out some anger in a kickboxing class.

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"My closest friend from high school sexually assulted me and to be honest I didn't realize he assulted me until a week after it had happened. It made me so angry and I felt like I couldn't trust anyone ever again. So, I decided to take my anger out in a kickboxing class. It makes me feel like I'm stronger, more confident, and if someone tries something again, I at least have a fighting chance at stopping it."

amittty

6. Engage your senses in a way that directly distracts you from a trigger — like wrapping a blanket around you when you're dealing with memories of when someone touched you against your will.

Loryn Brantz / BuzzFeed

"Whenever I start to think about my experiences with sexual assault, I do what I can to protect myself from my own brain. If I'm thinking about a time that someone put their hands on me or groped me, I wrap myself in a blanket so I know that the blanket is touching me and not them. If I'm thinking about times I was catcalled or verbally abused, I put in earbuds and play my favorite music so that's all I hear."

malonepaxton

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7. Stop forcing yourself to wear a brave face, and feel your emotions instead.

Brute Reason / Via the-orbit.net

"If I want to cry, I cry and I don't force myself to be strong. If a story doesn't make me emotional, I don't beat myself up and make myself feel guilty for not feeling sad or emotional."

jennifers216

8. Download an app that will help you look after yourself.

9. Ground yourself by writing out the things you're grateful for.

Taylor Miller / BuzzFeed / Via buzzfeed.com

"I was raped almost 12 years ago for the first time, and countless more times by my ex-boyfriend. To take care of myself I meditate for 20 minutes every morning and write down five things I'm thankful for."

kempermckenzie

11. Practice art therapy, like painting, drawing, sculpting, or whatever you find soothing.

Victoria Bilsborough / Unsplash / Via unsplash.com

"It helps me to create things with new memories attached to them in order to avoid flash backs."

stephanied42

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12. Stay on top of your therapy appointments — or start therapy in the first place.

NBC / Via boco-the-engineering-chocobo.tumblr.com

"It’s been really helpful just to be able to talk things through with someone, especially with the amount of triggering material that’s in the news."

mirandas4fda1457d

14. Look up some badass and empowering slam poetry.

View this video on YouTube

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"I love listening to poetry slams about women finding their own strength."

fep314

15. Lean on your loved ones.

NBC / Via maybeifiwasntgoingcommando.tumblr.com

"Find a supportive group of people. I was five years old when I was abused. I was fifteen when I came out with the truth. The silence took a toll on me and made me very sick living alone with my scars. But once I said something, I was overwhelmed with love and support from the people I thought would never care. So talk to someone, whether it be family, friends, or a therapist. Knowing that you're not alone is all the validation I needed."

rheaday1997

16. Look for a safe haven in unexpected places where you don't have to worry about triggers.

Clark Young / Unsplash / Via unsplash.com

"I found a store that was open 24/7. I would go around 3:45 am and grab my groceries so that I had a 100% chance of not running into my rapist. This sounds insane to me now, but at the time that allowed me to shop without having a panic attack and made me feel safe."

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17. Keep busy and get out of the house, whether with friends, hobbies, or even just errands.

Netflix / Via giphy.com

"Isolation for days (sometimes even hours) can really do a number on your mental state. Keeping busy really helps me to delve into things I enjoy/that get my mind off the trauma."

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18. Have a check-in session with yourself.

HBO / Via carolinesalvatore.tumblr.com

"I talk about it with myself. I let myself feel, and know that it's okay to feel, because I am a human being that's allowed to have feelings. He hurt me, and it's not okay that he hurt me, but I am not broken. I am not destroyed, or malfunctioning, or anything but strong."

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20. Find a support group or create an informal one yourself.

Airtime / Via giphy.com

"I have started going to a support group for survivors on my campus that has changed my life. They've helped me learn to stop beating myself for needing to skip an evening of homework and allow myself to rest. I now congratulate myself for surviving another day once I tuck myself into bed because that's a large accomplishment of itself."

jennifers216

21. Just... avoid the news for awhile.

Dan Meth / BuzzFeed / Via instagram.com

"Avoid any detailed stories, articles, hashtags, or other posts. As someone with PTSD related to my trauma, this is a very triggering and difficult time to be in social media and the news."

kdgerlac

If you need to talk to someone immediately, you can reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) and or the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741. Suicide helplines outside the US can be found here.

Note: Responses have been edited for clarity and length.

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