Since the Nirbhaya Rape case that shook the entire nation and Delhi has since been called the Rape Capital, our newspapers have nothing but cases of sexual harassment, abuse and a lot of negatives when it comes to safety of women. Since Nirbhaya media started paying more attention and started looking more closely at what all is happening in the nation, which is sad that they actually had stories to talk about be it in papers or on TV. We still have protest, we question the laws and government. Another such gruesome case that took place was the Telangana rape case where the girl was raped and burnt... it is all so disturbing to read and hear but imagine what that human being at that current situation might be going through! I have myself gone through sexual abuse as a child, have been sexually harassed on the bus, on the road, I guess it's something that every woman would relate to in some or the other way. The first thing I for sure experienced was trauma. Maybe not of the degree of what a rape survivor goes through but it was close enough. Sayfty Trust, in collaboration with UN Women India, Twitter India, Manupatra & Jagran New Media, has come up with a Sayfty Survivor's Toolkit which strives to support the survivors in helping out with the legal, mental health, judicial, medical, and all other systems, which are major challenges for the survivors. Here is what the kit says and I believe that every person should give it a read, as it is super informative.
Explaining what trauma is, the toolkit says: "Trauma is an emotional reaction to a terrible event. Individual trauma results from an event, series of events, or set of circumstances experienced by an individual as physically or emotionally harmful or life-threatening with lasting adverse effects on the individual’s functioning and mental, physical, social, emotional, or spiritual well-being. Trauma and its effects are subjective - they are experienced differently by each person. Trauma can involve physical injuries. It can also shape an individual’s beliefs, values, and goals for their life."
How can A person recover from a traumatic incident that took place in the past if he/she can’t remember the details?
"You may not remember the details of your traumatic experience. But, that does not mean that it did not happen. Some survivors find it difficult to accurately remember the details of the incident. Immediately after the event, you usually feel shock and denial."
As per the kit, the longer-term reactions include:
- Unpredictable emotions (feeling angry one minute, then sad the next minute)
- Strained relationships with family/friends
- Physical symptoms like headaches or nausea
"While these feelings are normal, some people have difficulty moving on with their lives. Psychologists can help these people find helpful ways of managing their emotions. It is important to focus on how you feel about the incident and/or any related memories and honour your experience, however difficult it may be."
There is an exercise that the kit mentions and here it is:
Close your eyes and focus on your breathing. Tell yourself that you are safe and you are ok. Use your breathing as an anchor to help bring you to the present moment. Do this as many times as you want to or at regular intervals.