In Defense of Trigger Warnings

You know what I really love? Reliving my sexual assault every single fucking day and not being able to control it. Trigger warnings are what make my days a little less stressful by allowing me to mentally prepare myself before reading what may be an upsetting article. If you still don’t understand why triggers are important, read on…

Triggers aren’t a sign of weakness/ being too sensitive.
Triggers are a normal reaction to a traumatizing experience. We see/ hear/ feel something that reminds us of what we went through and the memories come flooding back. You know how certain smells might remind you of vivid memories from your childhood? For me, lilacs make me remember walking down the street every day since I was four when they were blooming so I could gather bouquet after bouquet. Triggers are just like that except with an extremely negative memory.

They’re not about being offended by everything.
Trigger warnings aren’t for what might be an offensive topic. If you think that’s what they’re about, you’re misunderstanding their purpose. Like I said, they’re to warn readers that the following content might be triggering to some people. That’s it.

No one is trying to take away your free speech.
When people want trigger warnings, it’s not about us saying “You can’t talk about that. It’ll upset me.” It’s saying “Hey, this might be upsetting. I’m telling you so that you can mentally prepare yourself or come back to this later.” It’s a way to be respectful of people who have PTSD or have gone through trauma.

It’s not exposure therapy.
Exposure therapy is done in a controlled environment by an educated psychologist. Otherwise, you’re not helping. You’re really just making it worse.

We don’t like triggers either.
Would I like to live in a world where trigger warnings were unneeded? Yes. Would I like to live in a world where triggers didn’t exist? Hell yes! But unfortunately the reality is that we live in a world full of people who have survived sexual assault, domestic abuse, war, eating disorders, substance abuse, etc. We live in a world where scars from those experiences don’t disappear overnight. Trigger warnings are about making their lives a little more bearable. Is that really so bad?

Related content:
When You Oppose Trigger Warnings, You’re Really Saying These 8 Things

Thank you for reading this article. You can find my full backstory here.

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3 thoughts on “In Defense of Trigger Warnings

  1. May I ask how to know when to post a trigger warning on a blog? I am new to all of this (I am the mother of a sexual abuse survivor), and I have started blogging my experience working through all of this as a parent. I would hate to cause a trigger for someone reading my blog, but how do I know when to include a trigger warning? Due to the subject of my blog, I almost feel as though my entire blog is a potential trigger. Could you help me understand how to be sensitive to anyone out there in cyberspace that may stumble across my page? I would genuinely appreciate any advice you may offer.

    Like

    1. Good question! I sometimes am unsure whether to add trigger warnings to my articles too. When in doubt, I would recommend adding one just to be safe. Common things that need trigger warnings are articles/pictures/videos that describe sexual assault, victim blaming, abuse, self harm, violence, suicide, etc. It is impossible to be able to anticipate every possible trigger, as they are very individual and can sometimes be unexpected (for example, some people are triggered by scented candles). So we just post trigger warnings for the most common causes of triggers. I hope this helps.
      I also love the premise behind your blog! I think that subject could be very helpful for people who are trying to be allies to survivors. Even as a survivor, I sometimes find that it can be difficult. I look forward to reading your articles.

      Liked by 1 person

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