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3 Tips for Watching Triggering Media, Movies, or Documentaries  

3 Tips for Watching Media, Movies, or Documentaries

By Dana Rosenwasser
February 28, 2019

When stories of abuse and violence come to light through movies, documentaries or other media, many of us are compelled to want to see them and yet are often not prepared for the strong reactions we may experience while viewing them. In addition, many of these reactions may linger with us even after the movie ends. If you are a survivor of violence or abuse, it is very common to feel like you are actually “re-experiencing” your own trauma. Here are some tips you can use to take care of yourself.

1. Create a Support System

Watching a movie or documentary alongside supportive people can help you feel more comforted. You can choose to watch media with family members, friends, or people who have had similar experiences as you. You can turn to them to help you work through any feelings or reactions you have during or after the movie.

If you don’t have any immediate support, our Hotlines can provide support and referrals to services if you are in New York City. Visit our Hotlines page or scroll down for more information.

2. Accept That It’s OK to Stop

There may be a point in the documentary or movie where you feel it is just too much and are flooded with emotions.  It’s important that you don’t feel obligated to watch the rest of the segment or return to finish it. Give yourself permission to turn it off, walk away, and leave it in the past.

3. Know That Help is Available

There are many national and local organizations here to help support you.

If you are in New York City, Client Advocate Specialists at our Domestic Violence Hotline are able to provide both support and referrals to services. Our hotline is available 24-hours a day, seven days a week, and is both free and confidential. Call our domestic violence hotline: 1- 800-621-HOPE (4673).

For help outside New York City, contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or visit their site.

If you are in New York City and are a survivor or rape or sexual assault you can call the Client Advocate Specialists at 212-227-3000.

For help outside New York City, the RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) operates the National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline, a free and confidential hotline that is available 24/7. Call 800.656.HOPE (4673) or visit their site.

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