I’ve struggled with my own trauma exposure responses and burnout when doing this work. When I was writing the press guidelines
on how to report fatal domestic abuse, reading countless newspaper reports of violent murders, I felt haunted by dead women. I had vivid nightmares, my friends were exhausted by me talking about homicide cases and I became impatient and angry that nobody else seemed to care about the fact that a woman is killed by her partner every three days. I started scanning my friends’ relationships for any signs of coercion or control and I felt a resentful gulf growing between myself and my male friends. Had any of them ever raped a woman? Who could I trust? How could they ever understand the threats that women are constantly navigating?
Prolonged exposure to violence and trauma affects the way you navigate the world. If you’ve experienced enough abusive men coercing, hurting and killing women, your brain’s survival response is to shortcut into categorising people as 'safe' or 'unsafe'. Very quickly, the unfamiliar or uncomfortable becomes 'unsafe'.