Safety as Self-Care
There are several things that we train our students to do post-fight. We have them look around them to break tunnel vision and gain awareness of their surroundings. We have them assess the situation to ensure that they are not still being attacked and can get away safely. And then, we have them get to safety.
Getting to “safety” in the classroom looks like going to a pre-designated spot or person while the whole room yells out “Safety!”. We have had many iterations of going to safety in our class. It started off as “Call 9-1-1”, but then we realized that not every situation requires law enforcement and not everyone feels safe around law enforcement. In Colorado, we have settled on “Safety,” and in Southern California, they say “Go get help.”
We wanted our students to seek safety no matter the situation. Been attacked? Seek safety. Had a weird interaction? Seek safety. Just set a hard boundary with a friend? Seek safety after that as well. What this means is safety becomes more than just a place we go to. Like most things in IMPACT, there is not a one-size-fits-all answer. There is no one place that is “safety,” and safety may look different for every person and every scenario.
What safety then becomes is doing what you need to do to care for yourself. That could be calling law enforcement. It could be calling a friend or therapist. Curling up on the couch with your favorite snack and Netflix show? Also safety. We also teach students a number of ground techniques (breathing, tapping, shaking, grounding into your senses, etc), and they can choose whichever one works best for them.
We recognize that not everyone knows what safety feels like, but we strive to help people find their safety. When you are moving through the world, begin to recognize what your safeties are. Where do you feel the most cared for? Who is your ally? Who is there to support you? What brings you comfort? Then seek those things out whenever you need them.