Abuse stories in the news and how to cope with being triggered

Survivors of abuse may notice strong emotions or impulses to avoid emotions in some way

Two high profile stories in the news have recently brought light to the often hidden issue of sexual abuse.

According to North Island Survivors’ Healing Society, both involve adults in positions of power not taking steps to stop the sexual abuse of boys.

Most recently, a review released July 11 of the handling of reports of sexual abuse at Penn State University revealed a “callous and shocking disregard for child victims” in favour of protecting the university football program’s reputation.

Another report released June 25 revealed that Boy Scouts of Canada also failed to report allegations of sexual abuse by its group leaders to police in 65 instances.

Most people are not aware that an estimated one in five boys has experienced sexual abuse by the age of 18.

While the details of both stories can be disturbing to the average person, they can be particularly triggering and overwhelming to survivors of sexual abuse.

Survivors of abuse may notice strong emotions or impulses to avoid emotions in some way, for example keeping highly busy, overeating, over-exercising or using substances.

It is important for survivors of abuse to understand that being triggered by such a painful topic is a very normal response and there are things that can be done to help;

n pausing throughout the day to ask oneself “What do I need right now?” and listening for the answer.

n reducing intrusive images or emotions by using the senses of sight, hearing, and touch to mindfully study what is happening in the here and now

n reaching  out to a supportive person whether that is a trusted friend, an understanding doctor, the Vancouver Island Crisis Line (1-888-494-3888), or a professional trauma counsellor.  It takes a courageous man to reach out and ask for help.

Campbell River has one of the only non-profit agencies in B.C that offers subsidized professional counselling for men affected by abuse.  North Island Survivors’ Healing Society currently has immediate openings in their men’s program.  To book an appointment or for more information, call 250-287-3325.