The end of the year and holiday season can be a time of joy for many, but for Native survivors of sexual violence and the advocates supporting them, it brings unique challenges. LISTEN HERE for a discussion between MIWSAC staff about the unique challenges that come up for survivors and for advocates at this time of the year.
Some of the things that can bubble up include:
- Family Dynamics: The emphasis on family gatherings during the holidays may expose survivors to their abusers or trigger memories of past trauma. Navigating these familial dynamics can be emotionally taxing and contribute to a sense of isolation.
- Financial Strain: The financial demands of the holiday season can exacerbate existing stress. Survivors and advocates may find it challenging to allocate resources for gifts, travel, and celebrations, diverting attention from critical self-care and advocacy efforts.
- Emotional Toll: The societal expectation of joy and celebration can clash with the internal struggles of survivors. The pressure to conform to festive norms may lead to feelings of melancholy and exacerbate the emotional toll of the trauma experienced.
- Continued Advocacy Strain: Advocates working tirelessly throughout the year may find it difficult to take a break during the holidays. The demand for support services persists, placing an additional burden on those committed to addressing sexual violence within Native communities.
Recognizing and addressing these challenges is vital for fostering a supportive environment for Native American survivors and advocates during this season. By acknowledging the unique difficulties faced, we can work towards creating spaces that prioritize healing, understanding, and resilience. Take the time you need to practice the full circle of self-care and please reach out to someone if you need support this time of year!
If you or someone you know is in need of additional support, help is available.