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6 Important Reminders for Sexual Assault Awareness Month

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Editor's Note

If you’ve experienced sexual abuse or assault, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact The National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline at 1-800-656-4673.

On Feb. 5, 2016, I was sexually assaulted. Prior to that, I was in an emotionally abusive and toxic relationship, which led to a lot of intimate moments happening out of fear of an argument. I struggled with both of these being “valid,” in my mind, especially when I hear others’ stories.

• What is PTSD?

Sexual Assault Awareness Month began on April 1. As someone who has spent quite a big deal of time sorting through my traumas and coping with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), I hope these reminders will help you if you struggling with your own story or the story of somebody you love.

1. All stories are valid.

There is nothing that can take away from what you experienced and the pain you may feel. Be careful with comparing traumas, because no two are the same and one is never worse than the other.

2. Remember your limits.

If you feel there is too much talk of assault or other potentially triggering topics, take a break from social media or whatever may be triggering you. Your safety matters most.

3. It’s OK if you aren’t ready.

You are not any less valid if you are not ready to share your story. You can be unready to talk and still deserve all the love and support.

4. Don’t invalidate others.

Try to not discredit or invalidate anyone else’s experience. Remember to use validating language, even when you aren’t sure what to say. All you have to say is: “I hear you. I am here with you in this.”

5. It doesn’t stop here.

Sexual Assault Awareness Month is only four weeks out of an entire year. Sexual assault is ongoing, even after the awareness month ends. Please try to remember this is an important topic. Try to educate and raise awareness every day.

6. Remember others’ boundaries.

If this hasn’t happened to you personally, be aware of others’ boundaries when it comes to sexual assault. Everyone is entitled to their own experience, and they choose what to share and not. No one is entitled to that information.

Photo by Kirill Balobanov on Unsplash

Originally published: April 3, 2019
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