Lowena dhywgh. It’s Mark, and today it’s my turn to say hi. If you’re wondering what the first sentence is, it’s just me greeting everyone in Cornish.
My topic today is trigger warnings. Touchy subject and one that can often be very emotive, but I found myself reading a story that came with a trigger warning, and I was surprised at the effect it had on my experience reading that story. Now, the plot itself was about a woman who had been blamed for a fire that killed her abusive parents, was sent to jail, and was subsequently abused there. At the start of the story, we join the protagonist on her release from prison.
It’s a great story, intelligently written, and guides the reader with an emotional maturity that impressed me profoundly.
Then we came to a chapter where the author added a trigger warning, and instantly my attitude changed. My heart began racing, and I felt a level of stress that surprised me. A triggered response. However, the author still wrote with empathy and guided me, the reader, through the traumatic scene with the same emotional maturity they had used throughout the previous chapters, and I wondered what use the trigger warning was intended for? The subject matter? The entire story was about abuse, death, consequences and attempts at redemption, so what help could a warning do that the synopsis didn’t mention?
I am conflicted, I admit. I believe PTSD is debilitating to live with and often ruins multiple lives, but on the other side of the coin, aren’t we capable of choosing to not read a book or story that touches on the subjects that trigger us? I don’t know if that’s my insensitivity or a belief in the readership’s ability, but I welcome everyone’s views. Maybe you can help me see it from a different perspective.