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How to Become a Trauma-Informed Congregation

These suggestions will help your church better care for survivors of abuse.
How to Become a Trauma-Informed Congregation
Image: Nick Fewings / Unsplash

Since October 2017, the #MeToo movement has helped an increasing number of sexual assault survivors break the silence that bound them with shame. Sexual assault in its many forms—including, but not limited to, rape—is traumatic at any age. Unwanted touch, comments about an individual’s sexuality, and even lewd looks may cause trauma. Any survivor can experience posttraumatic symptoms—flashbacks, nightmares, and feelings of terror and anxiety—or full-fledged post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). They may avoid people or places that remind them of the trauma and block out memories of the event. Survivors may become depressed or develop distorted thinking about themselves or the world: It must be my fault, God doesn’t love me or he would have protected me, or All men are dangerous. The onset of these symptoms may be delayed, appearing for the first time months or years after the assault. Left untreated they can torment for decades.

As debilitating as these ...

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