Healing from Trauma
You Define What Healing Means to You
Sexual and gender-based violence can impact you in many ways, including psychologically, emotionally, spiritually, financially and physically.
It's important to remember that there is no right way to heal, feel or react. You may experience a wide range of feelings, such as shock, fear, disbelief, recurring memories, outrage, confusion, sadness, despair, and anger. You may choose to heal alone, with friends and family, or with the support of professionals. You may tell no one, a very select group of people, or your whole community. All of your feelings and choices are valid.
Consent Comes First is here to hold space for you as you navigate all the feelings and processes. Reach out to our email firstname.lastname@example.org to connect with a team member. We are here to listen to and support you.
Below you will find ideas to nourish yourself, colouring books, and information on the impact of trauma.
What can you do?
You Are Not Alone
You can talk to a counsellor, call a distress line or get peer-to-peer support. We can make a referral for you to receive counselling through Toronto Metropolitan University or with an external community resource. We can explore with you what resources would be helpful for you both on and off-campus. Two resources on campus are:
- The Centre for Student Development and Counselling, opens in new window: They provides confidential, on-campus, individual and group counselling. 416-979-5195
- Toronto Metropolitan Medical Centre, opens in new window: You can obtain medical attention at the Toronto Metropolitan Medical Centre during regular business hours but they cannot provide specialized sexual assault care. They can test for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) or pregnancy. If necessary, referrals to local hospitals or specialists can be arranged. Payment through OHIP or a similar out-of province insurance plan is required. 416-979-5070
Self-Care is a Radical Act
Self-Care is ways we nourish ourselves. It doesn't mean we don't recognize the way systems directly impede our ability to show up for ourselves i.e. capitalism, racism, colonialism.
Here are free, online resources that you can access for more self-care information and activities. Look further down this page for more ideas about how you can practice self-care.
- Healing, Pleasure, and Sex After Trauma Resources (external link)
- Choosing Your Own Path of Survivorship (external link)
- Youth Surviving and Thriving. Many Paths to Healing, external link (external link)
- (PDF file) PDF fileCaring for Yourself is a Radical Act, external link (external link)
- 4 Ways to Overcome Self-Blame After Sexual Assault, external link (external link)
- Trauma Stewardship - The Effects of Hearing Difficult Information, external link (external link) (Video)
- Self Care for Friends and Family of Survivors (external link)
- Women's College Hospital Self Care Package (external link)
You Voice Matters
There are many ways to have your voice heard about sexual violence and gender-justice. Speaking out can be empowering for some survivors if and when you are ready. Alternatively, you may choose to tell no one, tell only yourself, share your story in your self-help group, or confide in trusted friends or family. Anything you choose to survive is powerful and is your choice.
There are many ways to take action on campus through group programming, advisories, workshops and events including joining the Consent Action Team, our peer leadership program. Learn more ways to get involved on our Take Action Page. Have your own project idea or campaign? Reach out to Consent Comes First we would love to work with you.
You Get to Define What Justice Means to You
Justice can look different for each of us. Some of us will tell no one, some of us still need to tell ourselves, some of us will want to share with close friend and some of us will want the world to know. We may report right away and some of us may wait for years before telling anyone. Some of us may choose to go to the police and some of us may choose to use alternatives like transformative justice. We get to choose what happens next.
People may judge the choices we make or have to make. But no one knows your experience better than you. Reporting to the police is only one option of a multitude of choices, and for many survivors from marginalized, criminalized and policed communities, it may not be a viable option. Our social location including but not limited to race, class, gender, sexuality, and ability, impacts not only the way we are targeted for sexual violence but how we can access support and if we are believed. Use this guide to gather the information you need to decide what works for you. Remember whatever choice you make, it’s your decision.
Connect with us if you want to explore your options email@example.com. You can also check our Reporting page that gives options for both internal and external reporting. If you are interested in transformative justice you can learn more about it in the Creative Interventions Toolkit (external link) , read Dreaming Accountability (external link) by Mia Mingus, The Peak Magazine, Transformative justice issue (external link) By: The Peak Magazine (various authors). Recommended articles: “Relationship tools” (Erica Horechka, pp. 23-26); “On accountability: The role of choice” (Micah Hobbes-Frazier, pp. 27-28).
Your Body Your Choice
If you have been recently sexually assaulted, you may want to seek medical attention. This is a free service that you can go to be tested for sexually transmitted infections (STI’s) or pregnancy as well as document any of the harm your body was subjected to. It's important to note that you are not obligated to reported to report to the police if you recieve medical attention. Consent Comes First staff can support you by helping to connect you to services and attending appointments with you where possible. Learn more on our Getting Medical Attention page.
Healing Comes in Waves is a podcast for survivors to explore healing after harm. Too often, the conversation about sexual violence focuses on what was done to us but not how we choose to heal.
This season we talk to survivors, educators, and advocates about how to attend to feelings, make connections and figure out what justice means to us. Listen to Healing Comes in Waves here: https://www.torontomu.ca/sexual-violence/education/healing-comes-in-waves/
Self-care is about creating and maintaining practices that help you sustain your energy and spirit. When you give to others but neglect yourself, feelings of resentment can arise because you sacrifice your own needs. Taking care of yourself allows you to enjoy time with others while also sustaining yourself. Self-care is not selfish. It is being intentional in your day to reflect, nurture your body, remember your heart, grieve your sorrows and attend to your daily needs. Below are some ideas for you to attend to your self-care.
Have ideas for a self-care project or campaign?
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org - we would love to work with you!
We Heal Together: We Are Spectacular Nebulas in Healing Journal
The We Are Spectacular Nebulas in Healing Journal is designed to help you think about your thoughts, challenge them, or just put them on the page and let them go. This journal is for Black survivors to rest their weary thoughts, a place to sit and have a chat and a place that is here for you to revisit as many times as you need to.
Written by Dee Marksman-Phillpotts.
Cover Art by Jessica Campbell (@campjesss)
Organizations or institutions are welcome to download and print the colouring book for non-commercial use, i.e. use with the community, but we ask if you are using sections in your own materials or repurposing the colouring book, please email us for permission at email@example.com
We Heal Together: A Colouring Book For Black Survivors
We Heal Together: a Colouring Book for Black Survivors is an initiative of Toronto Metropolitan University Consent Comes First, the Office of Sexual Violence Support and Education Office and Carleton University’s Sexual Assault Support Centre. Click on the image below to download.
This colouring book was inspired by the We Heal Together support group founded by TMU student Casandra Fullwood. Thank you for all the work you have done to create safer spaces for Black survivors.
Post your images on social media with the hashtag #WeHealTogether. Organizations or institutions are welcome to download and print the colouring book for non-commercial use, i.e. use with the community, but we ask if you are using sections in your own materials or repurposing the colouring book, please email us for permission at firstname.lastname@example.org
Begin by Listening: Colouring Book for Survivors & Allies
Begin by listening - a Colouring Book for People Affected by Sexual Violence is an initiative of Consent Comes First. It was written by Farrah Khan and designed & illustrated by Carita Marsili. Feel free to print and share the colouring book for personal use. Post your coloured images on social media with the hashtag #ConsentComesFirst. This is a choose-your-own-adventure book. Fill the pages with colour, journal when it feels right and skip pages that are too much. You are writing a new story.