Coping with Triggers: How Sexual Assault Survivors Navigate Cases Involving Russell Brand and Danny Masterson



In a world grappling with the aftermath of high-profile MeToo cases, sexual assault survivors face triggers and turmoil. Discover how they navigate the storm.

In recent weeks, social media has been inundated with reactions to the sentencing of actor Danny Masterson to 30 years to life for the rape of two women.

Concurrently, allegations of sexual assault against British comedian Russell Brand have surfaced in a joint investigation by the Times of London and Channel 4. While these cases are crucial steps in holding abusers accountable, they can also be profoundly triggering for survivors of sexual assault.

How Sexual Assault Survivors Navigate Cases Involving Russell Brand and Danny Masterson

Survivors, many of whom have identified themselves as victims of sexual harassment or assault, have voiced the need to step away from the relentless news cycle. This emotional response is not uncommon post-#MeToo, as these cases can evoke painful memories and psychological distress for survivors.

Trauma psychologist Karol Darsa explains that trauma can have long-lasting effects, imprinting itself on the emotional brain and the physical body. Triggers, involuntary reactions, can be activated when survivors encounter reminders of their trauma.

The limbic system, responsible for storing emotions and sensations, takes over, while the rational prefrontal cortex goes offline, making it challenging to distinguish between past trauma and present reality.

Samantha Manewitz, a therapist, adds that everyone responds differently to triggers depending on their stage of healing. While some survivors may find empowerment in seeing abusers brought to justice, others may feel overwhelmed by the reminder of their own trauma.

To cope with these triggers, experts recommend taking breaks from media consumption, particularly social media and news coverage.

The National Sexual Assault Hotline often sees an uptick in calls during high-profile cases, with survivors seeking emotional support, self-care tips, and strategies to manage the immediate impact on their lives.

Scott Berkowitz, the president and founder of RAINN, underscores the importance of balance for survivors who find themselves constantly reminded of their own experiences.

Taking a temporary hiatus from social media, turning off the TV, and engaging in discussions unrelated to sexual violence can be restorative and helpful.

Ultimately, it’s crucial to acknowledge that feeling triggered is a physiological response beyond a survivor’s control.

Rather than stigmatizing these reactions, it’s essential to focus on coping mechanisms that aid in recovery. The positive outcome of cases like Masterson’s being taken seriously can offer hope to survivors, emphasizing the potential for justice to prevail.

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