Traumatic Events & Emotional Triggers 

While we are all feeling anxious, isolated, and a loss of control as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, survivors of domestic and sexual violence are faced with additional emotional hardships. Long after the physical threat of abuse has ended, survivors grapple with the resurfacing of traumatic memories. Trauma from domestic and sexual violence leaves an imprint on usboth in our bodies and in our minds. Triggers arise when survivors experience certain sounds, tastes, smells, feelings, or events that cause the traumatic memories to resurface. Many survivors are finding that the necessary precautions that have been put in place to keep us safe from COVID-19 are triggering the all-too familiar feelings of isolationfear, and confinement that they experienced during their abusive relationship.  

One survivor describes her experience 

Even though I’m out of the abusive marriage, the stay-at-home mandates really triggered me. Everything happened so fast. Everything I built my “new life” on after getting out of the abuse, the places that were my “safe places” to go, the family and friends I gained, I was told I could no longer go or see. I immediately felt the isolation that I had not felt since leaving the abuse and that feeling triggered flashbacks of the abuse. It was as though I was right back there again. I was not okay. 

Another survivor describes how she is working hard to cope with the additional stressors:  

“With the shutdown… my stress level is raised and my vulnerability to past hurts initiated by triggers loom near the surface of my very being. My heartbeat accelerates, my instinct to put on my boxing gloves increases, and my choice of language is affected. I want to yell and scream and fight. It takes a long walk, a yoga session, a safe conversation, a safe long held hug to overcome the initial impact of the trigger. Remembering and respecting the steps I have taken to heal helps to diminish the power a trigger can impose in my world.”   

Whether you are in need of assistance to help you cope with something that happened to you 4 hours ago or 4 decades ago, we are here for you. For free and confidential support, contact us any time: 

24-Hour Help Line: 1-800-848-5991
Hablamos Español: 1-866-728-2131
Safe E-mail: