April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM). You may have seen a lot of posts on social media, gotten emails, and overheard conversations on campus, at work, or in the community about sexual violence. SAAM is a great way to raise awareness, talk about prevention, and support survivors. It can also be a triggering or re-traumatizing time for survivors. Howard Brown Health’s in.power* team encourages you to take care of yourselves and others.

What can self-care look like for survivors?

  • Engage in Activism. Take part in social activism that is meaningful for you while also resisting the urge to go to every event for SAAM.
  • Move. Get involved in meaningful movement if you can – dance, run, walk, breathe, or stretch.
  • Enjoy foods that make you feel good, offer comfort, or help you feel like your best, healthiest you.
  • Create. Express your creativity. Read, respond to writing prompts, or find coloring pages that speak to you. Cook, sing, or dance.
  • Restore. Take time for yourself and relax. Focus on getting sleep if you can or take a restorative walk.
  • Seek Support. in.power* can provide you with free and confidential medical and case management services. We can support you in getting day to day needs met or connecting to a mental health provider, holistic healer, or support group.
  • Chicago has a number of beautiful places to explore and visit that are free or low cost. Check out Cook County parks fpdcc.com/ or things to do in the city windycitymediagroup.com/gay/chicago/events/upcoming.php
  • Take a Break. Unplug from social media and the news or take a break from SAAM events all together. Know that you don’t have to respond to or engage with social media posts about SAAM. Try avoiding the media in general and focus on reading or watching things that distract or bring you joy.

What can you do to care for yourself at work?

  • Talk to your supervisor
  • Talk to a trusted co-worker
  • Stay hydrated
  • Bring/carry grounding objects or photos of people and places you love
  • Take vacation or sick time if you can
  • Take a break outside
  • Listen to music on breaks

Self-care is more than just a bubble bath and a face mask. Self-care can be saying no to a co-worker or bailing on a party you RSVP’d to last week. Self-care can be sleeping all day or taking a nap when you get home from work. Self-care can be that deep breath you just took so that you don’t cry in the middle of your presentation. Self-care can be crying in the middle of your presentation. There is no right way to process trauma and there is no right way to care for yourself.

in.power* at Howard Brown offers free and confidential medical services and ongoing case management to any survivor of sexual violence. Our program is designed specifically for queer survivors who have experienced acute sexual assault, childhood sexual assault, or any type of sexual violence at any point in their life. You can work with one of our case managers to get help with finding a therapist, getting connected to community resources, looking for a job, and much more!

Email in.power@howardbrown.org or call 773.388.1600 (ext. 2839) for more information.