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Support, Response, and Prevention

Support and Healing

After a traumatic event, you may be in shock and have a lot more questions than answers. These feelings are completely normal and expected. Below are some tips for what you can do next, when you are ready.

  • Reach out to a confidential source on campus, such as the University Counseling Center or Victim Advocate Program to find out your options.
  • If you plan to report a sexual battery, act quickly as evidence is time sensitive. Do not shower or wash clothing or sheets that could be used as evidence. If you did this already, you can still report the assault.
  • Try not to question your reaction to the event. It is common for survivors to be paralyzed with fear or to not have a voice, when they try to scream. What happened is not your fault and your reaction is normal.
  • Accept the help of others. Allowing at least one other person to listen and understand what you have been through will validate your need to be heard. Confiding in a friend will allow you to share your story and provide needed support at this difficult time.
  • Keep busy. It is common to feel useless and to not know what to do with yourself after a traumatic event. Getting back to activities which promote personal satisfaction can provide feelings of value and usefulness.
  • Cry if you want to. Crying is a healthy way of releasing emotions, expressing loss and recognizing what happened to you. If you don’t feel like crying, don’t feel guilty about it. Let your feelings take their natural course and remember that there is no right way to feel. It is also common to experience mood swings and indecisiveness after a traumatic event.
  • Engage in exercise and relaxation activities. Sometimes vigorous activity is needed to release endorphins in the body. At other times, relaxation activities such as yoga or meditation are helpful in returning control, balance and calmness to the body.
  • Maintain a healthy diet. This will allow your body to feel stronger and to heal faster than binging on junk food.
  • Avoid stimulants such as caffeine, sugar or nicotine. These substances will only increase your bodies inability to rest, which is what it truly needs right now.
  • Go in search of information and support. Reading books or talking with others who have overcome similar circumstances will empower you and aide in your own healing process.
  • Take action. When you are ready to move on and focus on others, join a support group or volunteer to help others. Getting involved in a cause will give you a sense of meaning and purpose as well as a renewed sense of self.