Repost: Trigger Warnings

Happy Thursday all! On our blog and in our literature we always try to  include a trigger warning if we feel it’s necessary. I came across this great post on why trigger warnings are important and how to phrase them.

I would like to talk with ya’ll about trigger warnings.

First off, what is a trigger warning, anyway?

A trigger warning usually consists of bold, capitalized, or linked text describing in a broad way what text follows it. It can be in the form of a cut, or simply the title of the text in question, warning readers what kind of triggers can be found there.

What are triggers, though?

Triggers are things that cause a strong, heavy emotional response in a person. These usually occur after something traumatic has happened to them.

Triggering material has the potential to remind a person of a traumatic event.

So it hurts their feelings, so what?

No. It didn’t hurt their feelings. Some of the things that may happen whilst a person is triggered include anxiety, tears, flashbacks, body memories, anger, insomia, and the various symptoms that go with each condition. Reminding a person of a traumatic event in their life has potential to cause this.

Being triggered can be debilitating.

Ok, so what kinds of things can trigger people?

This can be a little difficult, because there are certain triggers that are obvious and certain ones that are not.

Triggering material includes, but is not limited to:

-Sexual assault. Anything that describes it in a more detailed manner than the words ‘sexual assault’ do, should probably be put under a trigger warning.

Abuse. This includes verbal, mental, physical, and sexual. Triggers for abuse can be described in a warning in a variety of helpful ways. “Triggers for child sexual abuse,” “Trigger warning, domestic violence,” or “Trigger warning: police physical and verbal abuse,” are several acceptable trigger warnings.

Self-harm. Those who have self-injured in the past need not view material related to it if it will upset them, or incite a relapse of behavior they have chosen not to continue.

Eating disorders: Those how have experienced disordered eating in the past count too. This includes anorexia, bulimia, EDNOS, and binge-eating disorder. You can include the particular disorder, if necessary, in the trigger warning.

Suicide. Descriptions of suicide can be very triggering to those who have lost loved ones to suicide, or to those who have attempted before.

Trans and homophobic violence. Trans and queer people can be triggered as well by descriptions and images of homo/transphobic violence, descriptions of body dysphoria, and general intolerance towards them. It’s something they’ve encountered often, sometimes their whole lives, so consider it please.

Addiction and alcoholism can be triggers for abuse survivors, and former addicts as well.

Images can be triggering as well; take note of this. Images that denote violence (i.e. blood, gore, people who have obviously been abused), images of self-harm, thinspo, etc. can be very destructive.

Okay, I want to avoid this, but how do I do it?

Trigger warnings can help you post the content you desire, and still give people the option of seeing it or not, based on what it is.

You can put triggering material behind a cut, with a text warning above stating what is under it. (This is very good for triggering images)

You can put a trigger warning in the title of your piece, giving others the option of scrolling past it if they desire. Make sure it precedes the actual title, or is at least in caps or something bold and visible.

You can add a trigger warning at the top of a block of text. Again, make it big and bold so others can’t miss it.

Another great thing you can do is add trigger warnings to posts you didn’t create, but you feel should probably have one.

It can be difficult to forsee every trigger out there, or be sure how to describe triggering content in a safe, not-too-detailed way. If you aren’t sure about it, add a trigger warning.

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