Coping with Triggers

A woman of color with curly hair looks down with a furrowed brow. She is holding her hands together and her eyes are closed. She has on a white shirt. Someone is behind her with their hands on her shoulders. Polina Zimmerman/Pexels

This guide explains “triggers,” or what we like to call “activators,” which are things that activate the nervous system into its alert state. There are several ways of handling activators that gender-based violence survivors can use to tell their brains and bodies that they are safe when they are reminded of a traumatic event.

“When we are triggered our body needs help understanding that we are actually safe/safe enough after being reminded of a traumatic event. Sometimes, we are triggered when another experience retraumatizes us and unburies past pain (for example, being a sexual assault survivor and getting cat called on the street).

Our brains, nervous systems, and relationships with ourselves, and with others, are our best resources in these moments.”