Because all of us are different, with unique life experiences, coping histories, and support systems, each of us will be impacted by sexual assault in a different way. There is no right way to react, feel or cope. There are coping methods that are healthier than others.
The following chart describes some “healthy” and some “not so healthy or destructive” coping methods. Please use it to assess the coping choices you are making now and to identify ones that you might want to change to or from.
|Ask for support, reach out||Withdrawal and isolation from others|
|Get enough sleep||Not enough sleep or excessive sleeping|
|Exercise||No exercise/compulsive exercising|
|Eat nutritiously||Not eating/junk food only|
|Take care of self||Compulsive eating/bulimia|
|Have a positive, creative outlet for feelings||Stuff or repress feelings/Minimize your feelings|
|Talk to someone supportive||Keep too busy to think or feel|
|Call crisis line||Rationalize|
|Gather information on what sexual assault is, what to expect||Take care of others’ needs/feelings|
|Nurture yourself||Detach/shut down|
|Do things to make yourself feel good||Self-medicate with drugs, sleeping pills, alcohol|
|Lower your expectations||Self-mutilation|