Sexual assault survivors urged to combat election stress by getting involved

Women in the U.S.—particularly those who have been sexually assaulted—may feel anxious about what life will be like after President-elect Trump takes office.

Karestan Koenen, professor of psychiatric epidemiology at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and an expert on PTSD, trauma, and sexual violence, offered coping suggestions in a November 11, 2016 article.

“Having someone elected president who’s been accused of sexual assault is very triggering. It’s completely normal that people may be feeling distressed, scared, angry, and may even feel like they’re having some intrusive thoughts and memories or feel unsafe,” Koenen said.

Her tips for survivors included doing things that make you feel connected to others. “We need to do things that calm down our fight/flight response… We need to engage in meticulous self-care, so for me, that will be doing my own media blackout about this week [election week]. I will not watch TV. I will do yoga, meditation, and things that make me feel not alone.”

Read the article: Here’s How Survivors Of Sexual Assault Can Make It Through The Coming Days

Learn more

Helping victims of sexual violence overcome PTSD (Harvard Chan School feature)

Halting the Legacy of PTSD (Harvard Public Health)