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How To Cope With Sexual Trauma In The Media: A Guide to Self-Care

When sexual trauma is a trending topic of conversation on the news and on social media it can feel like you cannot escape the difficult memories of your past. Here is your guide to self-care for managing the media, staying sober, and maintaining your serenity.

Remember, it was never your fault. Don’t start believing that now.

You were drunk? That wasn’t an invitation for sexual assault. You were wearing a tight dress? That wasn’t an invitation for unwanted sexual advances. You were walking to work? That isn’t an invitation for verbal sexual harassment. You thought he was a good guy? It isn’t your fault he wasn’t. You froze during the act because your natural threat response system froze and you couldn’t fight back? That doesn’t mean it was your fault. Women might have a part in the event of their trauma that they have to take accountability for. A woman who was blackout drunk put herself in a vulnerable position of being too incapacitated to protect or defend herself. However, that vulnerable position of incapacitation is still no invitation for sexual assault, sexual harassment, or rape. It is never your fault. You never ask for it. Though the argument might be fresh and the dialogue is scathing, don’t let your beliefs about that change now. Remind yourself and every woman around you: it wasn’t your fault then, it isn’t your fault now, and it will never be your fault.

Retraumatization is real and you might really be experiencing it.

Traumas of the past can feel like they are very real and present again when they are being triggered by news and the media. Retraumatization is a real experience with real effects on the way you think, feel, and are able to operate in the course of a day. Act with caution. Limit your intake of social media and news. Talk to someone you trust about your experiences right now. If you’re willing and feel able to, you can talk about your experience in the past.  Most importantly, make time to talk to your therapist. Share your struggles with triggers at meetings.

Be gentle with yourself.

Don’t beat yourself up for “not being over it” or having not “recovered enough” because you are having difficulty coping with memories, news, and other people’s stories. You haven’t lived every day being inundated with sexual trauma specific triggers all over the news. You are doing a great job with your recovery.

Practice grounding exercises.

Retraumatization can result in feeling stuck in the past again. Not just the past of your sexual trauma but maybe the recent trauma of your addiction, your alcoholism, your eating disorders, your self-harm, and the other self-harming, self-defeating ways you lived with untreated trauma. Practice grounding exercises to keep yourself in the present moment as much as possible, creating safety wherever you can and however you can, for your personal sanity and serenity.


At Villa Tranquil, women have a safe and serene environment for continuing their journey of healing recovery after treatment. Our unique transitional living program offers the compassionate clinical care and structure women need to thrive in their sobriety. Call us today for information:  214-799-3080