Trigger Warnings make for difficult discussions. Many people think they’re great, but others think they’re a waste of time. Any conversation about trigger warnings can go down hill very fast. And they often lead to people mocking social justice warriors. But I think the discussion is worth having.
I’m not easily triggered. I’ve been through things that would traumatize people without any real lasting affect. As such, I ofter forget to put trigger warnings on my posts. Nonetheless, I think trigger warnings are important. There are people who have gone through a traumatic event, whether recently or years ago, who are easily reminded of their trauma. Sometimes the reminder is bad enough to send them to the hospital. A lot of people say that those who are easily triggered should just get help and stay off the internet. But these people generally are getting help. Many of them see a therapist weekly, or even daily. They are on more medication than most of us could even imagine. Some even find themselves going in and out of psych wards. They are dealing with the trauma, but they will always have the scars. To tell them to get help is presumptuous and dismissive. And, what’s more, it isn’t always possible to just stay off the internet. We rely too much on it as a society. It could be the only way to contact people, it could be the main source of entertainment, or it could be required for work. So to tell someone to just avoid the internet is also presumptuous and dismissive. Especially since a person could do their best to avoid triggers and just happen across one because someone posted something on Facebook, or their was an ad in an article, or because a comment was made in a chat room. Triggers happen, and the person who experiences triggers shouldn’t be blamed or dismissed for having those triggers.
Which is why I believe trigger warnings are necessary. Trigger warnings take no time to put at the top of a post. They let anyone with a potential trigger know that they might want to avoid reading the article, but they don’t prevent anyone from reading them. Whether you experience a trigger or not, you can read posts with trigger warnings. You are in no way inconvenienced. So, if no one is inconvenienced by adding a trigger warning, and no one is inconvenienced by seeing a trigger warning, but someone could actually be harmed by the lack of a trigger warning, isn’t it best to add a trigger warning?
There is an issue with certain people being triggered by the trigger warning, but it seems to me that the trigger would be worse if they were to read the article. It has been suggested that “soft” trigger warnings could be used which go more along the lines of “Trigger Warning: r-word” instead of “Trigger Warning: rape.” I’m not sure how helpful those with triggers will find that, but, so long as people with triggers are requesting trigger warnings, I think it is only fair to add them when necessary.