Keys to Coping with Hate Crimes and Trauma

We have seen so many different violent crimes over the courses of our lifetimes, but especially in the past year. It can be so difficult to know how to cope. The most recent situation with the murders of asian women in spas was an example of such violence that impacts us all.

Here are ways to focus on making changes for yourself that can lead to an impact on the system around you. But that work has to be your own. No one can convince you that this work is needed or important. At the same time, I don’t think that the majority of us want to continue to live in a place where we harm each other. This is written for those who want to focus on what they can and should do. It’s hard, never ending work.

Here is what I suggest:

  1. Incidents like these aren’t isolated. We have to remember that there are systems in place that inform all of us. These things can be perspectives about gender, race, ethnicity, and sex work. They can be about a lot of other things as well. What I want you to remember that there are individual circumstances, but there are also broader more complex circumstances involved. We have to have encourage complex conversations about these situations. We want to look at all of the information involved and have important dialogues about this. Otherwise, assumptions and more categorization will take place, which is a part of the base problem.
  2. Sorting this out doesn’t mean there will be instant solutions. We want solutions. It makes sense, but when we’re focusing on change, information and learning comes out of the experiences themselves. This can’t be taken for granted. This means that many of the discussions and processing that is done will not lead to an immediate solution. Instead, it may lead to ideas on how to make things better.
  3. Responsibility: There is a lot of stuff out there right now about people being critical about others for various reasons. Let me first say that this can be understandable and even warranted. However, nothing will change if we don’t contend with ourselves. The truth is that all of the systems that lead to racism, misogyny and any other type of bias are systems that we all have contributed to. We have to focus on what we can do to change things. This is very different than telling yourself you need to change nothing at all. Accountability is a critical piece for making lasting change. And there is no doubt that there are many people who deserve to be held accountable. But it’s also important for us to do our own work. And when it comes to sociocultural issues, we all have work to do. I’m suggesting that you walk right into the discomfort and think about your part in how other people are viewed or treated. If you’re doing this right, it will feel very uncomfortable. However, the awareness will be empowering as well as it’s something that you can then change in the future.

Dealing with the Trauma

Dealing with the trauma is something that we can’t do alone at all. We need connection and support. There are wonderful trauma therapists out there who you can talk to. But you can also begin with sharing what you notice about the difficult and challenging things that you’re experience. You can also share how you feel. Many times, it’ll be people from your own community who will best understand. However, there are people outside who will often be supportive as well.

Grounding

It’s important to rediscover ourselves in space and time. Traumatic events can take us into the scary future, or can make us try to figure out the past. Identifying things in your present space that are OK can really be helpful. A Simple Guide to Grounding is also a small resource I developed to help give you some simple techniques to practice that can help you get into the present in a way that increases your sense of safety.

Discharging

These situations can lead us to hold a lot of energy and emotion. It’s important to find ways to discharge this. We can discharge through getting open and sharing with others how we’re feeling. That openness can really begin the healing process.

Obviously, these aren’t the only keys for making these changes and healing. There are countless changes that need to take place. And trauma itself can often take time to heal. But we all have to start somewhere, so I suggest we all start with ourselves.

Take care of yourself please. And others as well.

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