I frequently check the news. I like to stay up to date on national and international news. Lately, sexual assault has been a common news topic. The #metoo movement and now #timesup have brought attention to this once taboo subject and new stories of abuse seem to arrive each day. This is good, but it can be difficult for those of us who are survivors. Sometimes, a story may be a little too much like our own story. Finding people who understand can be healing, but reading about similar abuse can also be triggering and difficult.
I decided to listen to the Larry Nassar accuser, Rachael DenHollander. She gave a very passionate and detailed speech. I could only listen to the first five minutes before I was overwhelmed with a sickening feeling in my gut. I am proud of DenHollander for her bravery, but it was impossible for me to hear her entire speech. She did the right thing in bringing Nassar to justice, and I am thankful that he had to listen to her and all of his victims share their pain (and their strength). But, as a victim myself, I just couldn’t handle it.
It is important for survivors to be in touch with how they are feeling when these news stories abound. I want to be knowledgeable of current events, and I want to support the brave women who are speaking out; but I also need to keep my own mental health in mind. I feel anxious and upset. I wish that I had not attempted to watch the video. Sometimes, I can go from feeling just fine to very anxious when triggered. PTSD is unpredictable at times.
I am glad that Larry Nassar is going behind bars, where he belongs, for the rest of his life. But I know that recovery is not over for many of his victims, and it is not over for me.