For victims of sexual assault or sexual abuse, the anniversary of these events can be difficult to cope with. These days may be fraught with triggering memories and depressed feelings. For some people it may not be the exact date of their assault but instead a particular time of year that is triggering. Whatever the case may be, helping a friend deal with the annual remembrance of the trauma can help make it easier to endure.
It is essential to understand that how they choose to cope with the anniversary is a very personal decision. They should take the lead in deciding what is the best course of action. However, if your friend or loved one is having difficulty finding a way to cope with the annual reminder of their attack, here is a list of things to suggest.
Get Lost in Self-Care
Spend the day doing what feels right to them. Whether they want to spend the day shopping, watching movies in bed, going out for lunch, taking a day trip, or going for a hike, there is no right or wrong way to spend the day. Offer to accompany them, watch their children, or play chauffeur in order to allow them to process and cope in a way that is as stress free as possible.
Take the Day Off
Encourage your friend or loved one to take the day off from their job in order to eliminate any additional stress. The day itself is hard enough, adding extra work pressures won't make it any easier.
Some sexual assault survivors find that staying busy on the anniversary of their attack by volunteering or focusing on an activity that they enjoy can help them pass the day. One way that many celebrate their healing is by making care packages for local rape crisis centers that contain personal care items like makeup, deodorant, and little treats and trinkets. Many women's shelters receive lots of clothes but hardly ever get items like nail polish, teas, or blank diaries or journals.
No matter how the survivor chooses to spend their anniversary, be supportive and encouraging. Don't be offended if they choose to spend the day alone or change their mind about plans at the last minute. The anniversary of their attack is very personal and many survivors are unsure how to share their feelings and emotions during this difficult time.
If you are a sexual assault or abuse survivor and are having trouble coping, Legacy Freedom can help. Thousands of clients have learned ways to overcome their traumas and live happy and fulfilling lives. Call or click today to connect with our care team and begin your healing journey today with Legacy Freedom.