Finding a way to cope with your assault is very important. This gives you an outlet to channel all your thoughts, feelings and emotions through. There are many healthy ways in which a person can cope, and unfortunately there are many self destructive ways in which a person can cope. This post is going to focus on the positive ways because when you are already in such a negative state, it is hard to think of positive ways to cope. I have been there, I have been through the negative coping mechanisms and they just make a person spiral down deeper and deeper into the darkness. So I am going to talk about what other people do that helps them to cope, and I am going to talk about what I do to cope. Please comment below if you do something that is not listed because I know that others would love to know! There is no “manual” on how to recover from rape, sexual assault, domestic violence, molestation, incest, or sexual abuse; so this is my way of trying to aid in the recovery of others.
Art is one way people cope. Art comes in many forms from painting, drawing, writing, poetry, making collages, photography, performance art (if you play or want to learn to play a musical instrument), ceramic/pottery and making sculptures. Now, you don’t have to be an artist. You only have to enjoy what you are doing. I always wanted to paint, but I never knew how. I can draw, but I didn’t find it an effective coping mechanism for me (but hey, at least I tried it right?). I tried a “Paint Nite” you go to the website, pick a painting that you like, and the location, then they teach you how to paint it. It was really fun, and the painting actually comes out like the one they show you! I have done several of these.
Reading is another coping mechanism. It allows you to escape for a time into a place of your own choosing. Whatever genera of material you like, pick up some great books and get lost in them. At least for a moment, you will be able to focus your thoughts somewhere else.
Gardening. This allows you to use your creativity, and foster new life and new beginnings. If you like gardening but live in the city and don’t have an area where you can garden, there are many community gardens all around. If this is something that appeals to you, search for community gardens in your city. You also don’t even need to garden outside, get creative with indoor plants and design an indoor garden in any room!
Volunteering. Some people find it therapeutic to volunteer. Maybe you love animals and would like to volunteer at an animal shelter. Maybe helping the homeless is more your style so going and volunteering at a soup kitchen or a local shelter is something that would be a fit for you. Perhaps you prefer to donate blood and help with the efforts that go along with that, so an organization like the Red Cross or local blood drives would be something that you can focus a bit of your energy on. Or maybe you might enjoy visiting the elderly in nursing homes. There are so many elderly folks who never ever receive any visitors. One thing that I haven’t done yet, but I will be doing is getting a bunch of flowers, writing a bunch of handwritten cards/notes, and I will be taking them to a local nursing home where I will pass out a flower and a card/note to people who don’t get any visitors. I will sit and visit with them.
Exercising. This one is my coping mechanism. Exercising is a great way to cope with sexual assault and many other challenges that life gives you. Types of exercise include: walking, jogging, running, yoga, palates, cross-fit, dancing, boxing, kickboxing, weights, zumba, aerobics, bike riding, spin class, martial arts, swimming, rowing, horse back riding, or playing a sport you like. I box. I box because it allows me to channel my anger and frustrations out on the bag. It is also a great and tough workout! I also do yoga because I find meditation very helpful. I struggle with keeping a clear and present mind, and yoga helps me with that.
Hopefully this information with be helpful to you, if not now (which is completely understandable) then at some point in the future when you are ready.