As someone who is actively engaged with the online community surrounding sexual assault awareness, I am constantly surrounded by news stories on the topic. That means that for the past few months– and especially the past week– my various news feeds have been bombarded with stories about Bill Cosby.
I want to start out by saying how much my heart is going out to all of the survivors who have spoken up against Bill Cosby and to the survivors who have chosen to not go public. My heart is full of support for these individuals and their loved ones, and full of anger towards the justice system that has repeatedly failed them, the media and individuals who have shamed and silenced them, and their assailant. There has been a lot of good, survivor-supporting press on the topic– to view some of that, click here, here, or here.
Each and every time I hear the name “Bill Cosby,” an overwhelming sense of anxiety and fear overtakes my mind and body. And I actually feel badly about my reaction– I should feel content with the fact that this is getting so much press coverage. I should feel all of that anger and disgust towards this man, but not fear or anxiety– after all, he is not my assailant. He does not know me. Statistically speaking, I will never, ever encounter this man.
But then I realized that I might not be the only one feeling this way, and I considered what I would tell someone who came to me with the same thoughts. Your triggers, your thoughts, and your experience is valid. It is yours. If you need to turn off the TV when a news story comes on or avoid specific articles on Twitter, that is okay. If you need to take a step away from a conversation surrounding current events or have a cry or talk though your feelings with a friends, that is okay. Allow yourself to feel and process and take care of yourself in whatever ways you need to. You deserve to feel safe.