CW: Sexual Assault
This week on Twitter, my timeline has been full of posts with the #WhyIDidntReportIt hashtag, in response to all the ignorant people who really don’t get how difficult it is for survivors of sexual assault to report these crimes. Some have gone to the police, their parents, school administrations, and the like, but were met with disbelief or questions that put blame on them instead of their attackers. Many haven’t said anything to anyone because they knew it would amount to a billion questions that again, would put the blame on them—Were you drinking? Were you walking alone? What were you wearing? And so on.
Say it with me now: The single cause of rape? Rapists.
So many people (and not only cisgender women) are affected by what’s going on with the Kavanaugh hearings and all of the news related to sexual assault since the #MeToo movement rose to the next level. One one hand, it’s really powerful when we do speak up and support each other and strive to affect change. On the other, it’s draining, triggering, forces people relive their worst nightmare, incurs comments from the worst people, and makes me want to hide in a couch fort.
But you know what? It’s okay to hide in a couch fort for awhile. Self-care and mental breaks are enormously vital for those of us who are triggered by these events and the horrible trolls who don’t believe us. (I also feel that women who trash other women are particularly revolting.)
If you need to step away from social media or turn off the TV and read a book you love, then do that. The other day I posted a photo of a happy bouncy llama. I needed that visual break. A friend of mine also stopped to take photos of the sky because it moved her, and she posted them for a break from the dumpster fire.
Because the news is really heartbreaking these days, here’s a happy llama. pic.twitter.com/QgUntlNcxY
— Yes, THAT Cait Gordon 🥄♿️ (@CaitGAuthor) September 24, 2018
Derailing the focus to something positive is often a grounding tool for people who manage PTSD. Let them post their sparkly unicorn GIFs, happy baby photos, or a review of a film they love.
You’re not less of an activist or a human if you need a break or to excuse yourself from the discussion. You live in you. You know yourself better than any of us. You have the perfect right to take care of yourself.
I must say, though, I’m dead proud of all the people offering support to each other at this time. There has been such a sharing of empathy and love, even between total strangers. In the midst of such horror, something in the human condition still shines through as kindness. That gives me hope for humanity.
Take care of yourselves, my lovelies. We need a world with you in it.
Also, for what it’s worth, I believe you. ❤
Cait Gordon is the author of Life in the ’Cosm, a story about a little green guy who’s on a quest to save half the person he loves. Cait has recently submitted the prequel to ’Cosm called The Stealth Lovers, a military space opera about legendary warriors Xaxall Knightly and Vivoxx Tirowen. When she’s not writing, she’s editing manuscripts for indie authors and running The Spoonie Authors Network, a blog whose contributors manage disabilities and/or chronic conditions. She also really likes cake