The holidays can be stressful. Between family visits, holiday parties, and cookie-baking, it can be hard to find time to take a deep breath and really enjoy the holiday season.
This is especially true for those dealing with the trauma of sexual assault or sexual abuse – and for those who love them. If your friend or family member has been a victim of sexual assault or sexual abuse, you might feel impacted by their experience as well. RAINN (the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) has some tips about how to support your loved one and take care of yourself during this difficult time:
- Listen to your loved one and don’t be judgmental. Allow them to express their feelings, experience, and emotions.
- Empower your loved one – but don’t push them to do anything they are not ready to do.
- Provide information to your loved one about resources and organizations that can help them – but remember that ultimately only your loved one can make the very personal decision to seek help.
Most importantly, remember that you are not alone. When your loved one is ready, he or she can find support at The Women’s Center of Tarrant County. (If your loved one doesn’t live in Tarrant County, he or she can visit http://centers.rainn.org to find a rape crisis center near them.) Professionals are available to help and listen.
And know that The Women’s Center, or your local rape crisis center and sexual assault hotline, can also help you work through your reactions to your loved one’s traumatic experience with sexual assault or sexual abuse.
We are also here to he
lp you find clarity in your own reactions to your loved one’s traumatic experience.
The holidays are stressful enough without the added burden of trauma associated with sexual assault or sexual abuse. We hope that the support you find at The Women’s Center brings you and your loved one a more peaceful and happy holiday season.