April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM). I have been working on a post for just about a month now and I have decided that I am not going to finish it. There is too much violence in my life and I need a break. I think that is why I haven’t posted anything for a while. I can hardly bring myself to read the news or the posts of fellow bloggers. It is just too much.
Working with survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault means that I am surrounded and immersed in the trauma of others on a daily basis. I’ve worked hard at building boundaries between my home life and my work life but lately there’s been some leakage. The thing about intimate partner violence, or even violence in general, is that you cannot unsee it. You cannot unhear the stories of the people you work with. And once you are made aware you cannot unnotice the things that go on around you. You hear a neighbor yelling at his wife and your first thought is not wishing they would quiet down so you could sleep. You lay in bed wondering if you should call the police. You see a child misbehaving in the grocery store and you wonder what is going on at home; you wonder if this will be the time you call CPS on a stranger.
Once you are made aware of violence you notice it everywhere. It doesn’t matter where you are, the store, the movies, out to eat with a friend. I recognize violence in the movies I watch and the books I read. I hear red flags in the stories my friends tell me and I see them in the ways they interact with their partners. You become hypersensitive to the behavior of the people around you, and sometimes you stop believing that people are basically good.
This is why I am taking a break from writing about violence and why I am not participating in SAAM. I cannot handle it. I need a break. I need to be able to stop dreaming about violence. I will often end a meeting with a client by asking them what they are going to do to take care of themself this week. It is time I do that with myself. I do not want to stop writing. This blog is part of my self-care. So, if there’s anything you as my readers would like me to write about or a post you would like to see that is not related to sexual assault, domestic violence, or rape culture let me know. Thanks for reading and be sure to check out some other blogs who have done excellent posts for SAAM. You can also check out some of the posts I wrote last year here, here, here, here, here, and here.