Today marks the 19th anniversary of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and with it a plethora of opportunities to raise awareness about and demonstrate support for survivors of gender-based violence in your community. Teal ribbons, town halls, and infographics abound. Here at Survivor Strong, we’re doing #SAAM a little differently.
The thing about being a survivor: every month is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Almost every day comes paired with at least a soft trigger or two, if not a full-on panic attack. We’re never not aware of sexual assault.
It’s in the news all the time, which is awesome because it means people are finally listening, but it serves as yet another reminder of the times we weren’t listened to–the stories that we carry with us everywhere we go.
So this month, let’s let everyone else be aware. On our behalf. And maybe let others carry a little weight for us.
This month let’s allow our allies to share in this work, so we can better focus on healing and growing. We are already aware of our trauma––too aware sometimes. Instead let’s be a little more aware of ourselves.
What makes you happy? What heals you? What nourishes your soul?
Let’s start by asking, “How am I doing today?” Because, when was the last time you really checked in? We owe ourselves honesty about where we are, so that we can focus on our path forward.
Let’s find things that make us smile and reasons to laugh (because even in hard times there are still things to be grateful for).
Let’s eat better, in a way that doesn’t just satisfy our cravings but also strengthens our bodies from the inside out. Let’s hydrate! And let’s try to move more if we can, focusing on reconnecting with our physical selves.
Let’s get crafty and start new hobbies or hone in on skills we are already cultivating. Let’s make things we are proud of and show off our talents. Let’s get psyched about our creative endeavours.
Let’s read for pleasure (if we like books) and let ourselves really enjoy music instead of just having it on in the background. Let’s take time to indulge in the things that really bring us joy and make us feel whole. Let’s return to our roots. Let’s grow wings.
Let’s find things about ourselves that we love, and let’s find things we are grateful for. Our kind hearts. Our soft smiles. Our rough edges. Our outrageous antics. Because each of us is a miracle all on our own, and we deserve a chance to celebrate that.
Let’s set goals for ourselves, because we deserve nice things too. Let’s make sure that our intentions are good and pure and fill our world with both love and hope.
And when we’re feeling overwhelmed by everyone else’s extra awareness this month, let’s support each other. Let’s remind each other that our scars make us unique, and the things we have survived have made us strong. Let’s be there for eachother and lift each other up. We are all so stinkin’ precious and resilient and amazing. Let’s make sure we all remember that.
We are survivors. We have been through the fire. We know how it feels to live through unimaginable pain and come out the other side. When we have been through so much already, we deserve a break, too.
This April, the allies can take over.
This April, let’s relax and recenter a little bit.
This April, let’s take time to rest, recharge, and renew.
Because this work should not be done on our backs and our backs alone.
If you’re interested in joining Survivor Strong’s digital community, for at-home self-care tips and opportunities to connect with our team, please send us a message at firstname.lastname@example.org. We have a lot to look forward to–and reflect upon together–this month.