four things every sexual trauma survivor needs to hear (**trigger warning**)

Yesterday was National Mental Health Day, raising awareness about people who are struggling to heal from, live with and cope with mental health issues in a sustainable, life-giving way. 

Yesterday was also the day when even more explicit news broke about a Hollywood producer who assaulted and raped multiple women.  The audio tape that the police captured of him trying to coerce a young woman into unwanted contact with him made me physically ill.

So yeah. Yesterday was basically a perfect storm for women who have undergone sexual trauma who continue to deal with depression, shame, emotional scars, unwanted memories and PTSD.

Last night, a friend called me in tears and I listened to her talk about how this news story, which feels inescapable because it's the feature story of every major news network, is a powerful trigger for her and so many other women who have experienced sexual assault, who are fighting their way back from every woman's nightmare.

If that's you this week, sweet sister, just know you're held in Light and Love this morning.  You have permission to do whatever you need right now -- whether it's a media fast to spare you graphic details that re-open your healing wounds, listening to powerful music written by sexual assault survivors (Kesha's "Praying" is my current favorite), speaking your truth out loud or in a journal no one ever sees...or, for some of you, watching a man who reminds you of your assailant being brought to national justice.

And if you're a friend or a family member who's walking this road with someone who's healing from sexual trauma, wondering how to walk this road well with them, there are four simple things that every survivor I've ever talked to said they needed to hear.  Four simple things I said to my friend last night, that I will tell her again today.

1) I believe you.

2) It's not your fault. 

3) What do you need?

4) I'm here -- and I'm not leaving.