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Friday, 17 June 2016

Trigger Warnings And Why They Are Essential


The following link will take you to an article written by Gina Berreca for the online site The Lima News and was posted on 10th June 2016, 6 days before Jo Cox was murdered. Trigger Warnings...
I submitted the following as a reply because Gina, an English Professor at the University of Connecticut, clearly does not understand what a trigger warning is.

"You clearly do not understand what a trigger warning is. It is not a "you might get a bit emotional over this" neither is it a "you're gonna need a tissue for this next bit" it is far more serious than that. For anyone that faces the challenge of mental wellness a trigger warning can be essential for their safety and for those around them. It is more like a Red Flag and do not swim here because you are at risk from drowning. Trigger warning are set in place when there are stimuli that could be hazardous to the individual or the public at large. Jo Cox was murdered by someone who has a history of mental illness and, almost certainly, he or those around him missed a trigger warning. You see? If you ignore or fail to notice a trigger warning people can die. This is not an extreme view this is common place and is not something to be ridiculed or down played"

Now, I do see what Gina is trying to say in that we shouldn't be removing the challenge of literature and we should always attempt to lead people out of their comfort zones. However, by saying that she will refuse to use a trigger warning she is being irresponsible. It has come across so badly that it could be read that we shouldn't protect our children and that the whole concept of trigger warnings is a kind of dumbing down. Gina, has portrayed herself as an uncaring individual who is more concerned about teaching how she wants to and she belittles and ridicules the serious issues which can arise with anyone. Her inclusion of the "If you’re afraid of cats and you’re assigned “Winnie-the-Pooh,” do you need a Tigger warning?" phrase is hugely offensive and shows her breath taking lack of understanding.

I posted this reply and submitted it for moderation by The Lima News, it was deleted and removed. This is also a challenge to free speech and proves further that the media do not understand or wish to even consider the possibility that mental health has wider issues and concerns. Or that a well qualified and respected teacher, who you would hope would be fully aware of the issues surrounding mental health, may have got this one very, very wrong. This is such an important issue that I felt I wanted to publish it on my own blog and I welcome replying posts without editing or removal.

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