For those of us who’ve ever survived rape or sexual assault, watching Dr. Christine Blasey Ford give testimony supporting sexual assault allegations against Judge Brett Kavanaugh—explaining in detail what was certainly one of the most horrific and unforgettable days of her life—was triggering and emotionally taxing.
As Ford said during the hearing, these acts of sexual violence become heavy memories that survivors carry with them for the rest of their lives, often causing PTSD, anxiety, stress, and affecting our personal relationships for pretty much forever. Maybe it wasn’t even the story itself that was triggering; maybe it was watching Kavanaugh and Lindsey Graham’s unhinged toxic masculinity as they insinuated that Ford was a liar, and that the hearing was all a ploy by Democrats to make partisan gains. Whatever your experience was today, don’t forget to step away from the TV/computer/smartphone screen and make a little time to be kind to yourself.
First, here's a video of a prairie dog clapping:
Now go do some self-care.
Taking deep breaths is the body’s way of calming itself down and relieving stress. Find some peace by breathing in through your nose, and exhaling out your mouth for a few minutes. For a witchy twist: Hold a rose quartz in your left palm while you do this, and visualize inhaling positive vibes, while exhaling out toxic thoughts and energy. Focus on things that you can control right now, like your breathing.
While deep breathing can be grounding in itself, so can just taking extra time to be in the present moment and activating the senses. In these strange and troubled times, everything feels like it’s moving so quickly, and the 24/7 news cycle only exacerbates this. So today, allow yourself to just be here on earth. Go hug a tree. Notice things you wouldn’t normally take the time to notice. Give your pets affection for a couple minutes longer than normal. Or, literally walk outside and put your bare feet in some dirt.
Don’t Use Drugs and Alcohol to Escape
Look, I love smoking kush and drinking a glass of Pinot Noir as much as the next Portlander. But as my therapist has repeatedly told me, using things like weed and alcohol to numb yourself to the pain is not “a healthy coping mechanism.” Instead of turning to smoke and drink your negative feels away, allow yourself to feel these feelings so that you may fully process them with a clear head.
Talk with Someone Who Will Sympathize
Instead of blasting off a bunch of tweets and welcoming the world to respond, maybe instead you could share how you’re feeling with a therapist, or supportive friend or family member. Whether you discuss your own traumatic event or just voice your sadness/anger/frustration about today’s hearing, it’s good to not let this stuff to bottle up inside you. If you don’t feel like you have someone to confide in, see the list of resources at the bottom of this post.
Do Something that Makes You Smile
Take a load off and get away from the internet for awhile. Hangout with a friend who always knows how to make you laugh. Take your dog for a walk in Forest Park. Do some yoga stretches. Go see Crazy Rich Asians (again). Get a new plant for your workspace. Go grab vegan ice cream from Ruby Jewel. Go on a walk and get stupid-excited about the fact that it’s officially fall and now the trees are turning yellow. Okay, these are just things that make me smile, but you get it.
If you or someone you know is in crisis, here are some domestic violence resources. You can find a more comprehensive list from the Oregon Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence, or on Multnomah County’s website.
Crisis lines & helplines
Call to Safety Crisis Line: 503.235.5333, 1.888.235.5333 (toll free)
Linéa UNICA (Español): 503.232.4448 o 1.888.232.4448
National Domestic Violence Hotline:1.800.799.SAFE
Multnomah County Mental Health Line: 503.988.4888
Child Abuse Reporting Hotline: 503.731.3100
Domestic violence emergency shelters
Bradley Angle Emergency Shelter: 503.281.2442
Casa Hogar (Español) (Los Niños Cuentan/CWS): 503.933.7840 o 503.974.9882
Monika’s House/Domestic Violence Resource Ctr: 503.469.8620
Raphael House: 503.222.6222
Salvation Army West Women’s & Children’s: 503.224.7718
Domestic violence services
Gateway Center For DV Services: 503.988.6400
Volunteers of America Home Free: 503.771.5503
Safety First Supervised Parenting Time/Safe Exchange: 503.988.6270