Here are some tips if you are holding a gathering for women to share their stories of sexual assault and abuse.
1- Think about the space for your gathering.
Be sure it is quiet and protected from interruptions.
2-It is important to have an opening and closing that supports connection between those gathered. Remind people that it is important to do something physical after to help their bodies.
3-It is important to have a list of resources of counselors who specialize in trauma. It will say this on the counseling page of a website- where someone describes their qualifications. This list is a referral list for gatherers who may need support after the event.
4- Let gatherers know they may feel shaken or have waves of emotion that night or the next day and next week. Many are already feeling this prior to the gathering. Tell them to really plan to do lots of extra selfcare that night or the next day.
5-Define selfcare for gatherers. Not everyone knows how to do this. Give examples. I have 25 tips for mental health wellbeing on my website. You can download this and share it as a handout. Or share some other lists.
6-Think about how gatherers transition from one speaker to the next. Who will help move to the next person?
7- Please discuss flooding and have a way for someone to step back or step out if they need without feeling they are hurting others. You may want to have extra support for someone who becomes flooded. Flooding can happen when a person is listening to all the stories.
Take good care. This matters. Thanks for all everyone is doing to hold these gatherings. Please plan to take good care of you too.