Resource Roundup: How to not ruin your relationships in a world of "Me Too"
Are you nervous about interacting with women and gender nonconforming folks these days? That’s understandable; if you know at least 33 men, 6 women, or 2 nonbinary folks, statistically speaking, you probably know a survivor of sexual assault, whether they’ve disclosed it to you or not. And it can be tricky to know how to interact with someone who’s gone through such a horrendous experience (or who is likelier than you to go through such a horrendous experience) that you might not be able to fully empathize with. How can you help them feel safe with you, and how can you support the people in your life who fear sexual assault without overstepping their boundaries? Here are some resources to help you navigate just that. There is no one right answer to how to be there for others, but we’ve received overwhelmingly positive feedback about these articles. We hope you or someone you care about finds them helpful.
“Chances are you know a sexual assault survivor. Do you know what to say?” This piece from The Guardian offers the perspective of someone who didn’t always know what to say, and where they saw others fall short. It’s written with compassion and is a great intro if you’ve never really thought about this question before.
“How to talk to the women in your life right now” This article also goes for nonbinary folks and anyone who seems affected by the news in general. It details some of the common mistakes that people make in supporting others, and offers alternatives. The tone is (rightfully) angry, but the content is spot on according to lots of feedback we’ve received.
“Self-care after trauma” This guide from The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) goes for assault survivors just as much as it does for those supporting survivors. Those who aren’t experienced at offering intense emotional support to others (and, to be honest, those who are, too) often make the mistake of skimping on self-care. No matter how skilled of a caretaker you are, failing to take care of yourself almost always leads to burnout, which means that you won’t be able to support the people you care about as well as you might otherwise. So whether you’re a survivor or supporting a survivor, it’s probably worthwhile to read this and make it a priority.
If you’ve read this far, thank you. As Mr. Rogers said about how he handled crises as a child: “There was something my mother did that I’ve always remembered: ‘Always look for the helpers,’ she’d tell me. ‘There’s always someone who is trying to help.’” Whether you’re helping yourself or someone else you care about, thank you for being one of the helpers.