Post # 1
Hi bees. I’m just curious what your thoughts are. Today, my good friend shared some pictures to her Instagram story that sent me reeling. She’s recently started a job working with sex trafficking survivors, which I admire the hell out of, and as a person who is passionate about ending sexual violence and who does work in the field myself, I’m always interested in discussing the topic. I also believe that it’s really important to share info about what’s happening to the public, and I do so fairly often, always with trigger and content warnings. But my friend has never posted about these things publicly much before, however she is currently at a conference, and today she shared two pics of really emotional and fairly explicit sexual assault survivor accounts (presumably, from some paper they gave her at the conference). As an advocate, I am glad that she’s sharing that truth with others, however as a rape survivor it shook me. My friend usually just shares pics of her dogs and such, so I clicked her insta story on a quick break at work, and I guess I was just caught off guard but it really affected me and I’m still struggling to completely calm down. While I want to encourage her advocacy, I’d like to advise her to put a trigger warning on posts like that in the future. That information should absolutely be shared, but I think it’s also important to be careful to make sure people know what they’ll be seeing. Would you say something? I don’t want to discourage or make her feel awkward about it, and I’m embarrassed to tell her that it affected me.
Post # 2
I would not say anything but I’m not into policing what other people post. I have a friend who sometimes does clean up on crimescenes and deaths and can post some grotesque stuff, I just click through pretty fast if I see he’s posting pictures from work.
Post # 3
I mean, you didn’t have to read them? You could have skipped through once you saw what it was about.
Similar to slomotion, several of my friends work in dog/animal rescue and have posted some pretty graphic stories regarding abuse/neglect. A quick tap of the finger and it literally goes away.
So I wouldn’t say anything.
Post # 4
bookishbee90 : I wouldn’t say anything, if this becomes a regular thing where shes posting things that are going to upset you just stop watching her stories.
Post # 5
I would send a private message – just tell her that you think it’s great she’s sharing stories of sexual assault but as a survivor you’d really appreciate a TW, i’m sure she would be more than understanding!
Post # 6
I wouldn’t say anything and would scroll passed, but I also have a bit of an issue with the trigger warning culture.
Post # 7
I would not. I agree with whitums, I have an issue with “trigger warning” culture. Life doesn’t have a trigger warning, I don’t see why online should be any different. If you don’t want to see that content, click off when you see what it’s about.
Post # 8
I don’t really have a strong feeling either way. In your shoes I probably would not ask for a trigger warning – I’d just make a mental note not to click on her stories going forward.
But I wouldn’t blame you for asking for one either. I dunno, I have mixed feelings about trigger warning culture. I do think with something as graphic as rape, a trigger warning might be justified–but I’m still not sure I’d make it a “thing” by asking my friend to add it.
Post # 9
- Wedding: January 2021 - Dracut, Massachusetts
I wouldn’t say anything to her- just scroll on by. I’m not the instagram police
Post # 10
Don’t police her posts. I also think trigger warnings are a bit silly.
Post # 11
If you didn’t stop reading when you learned what the topic of her post was, how would a trigger warning have helped?
Post # 12
I think people should be more cognizant of the impact of their social media sharings on others. I’m also willing to mute or block people where necessary. Because she’s your friend, I would encourage her to put a trigger warning on her posts in the future. I can’t imagine that, given the work she’s doing, she would want to harm you (or other survivors) in the process of getting the word out. The very people who might be most inclined to find a way to support her work are likely to be the same people who have a personal experience of the traumas she’s talking referencing. Also, I’m certain her intention is not to have people scrolling quickly past her posts so she’s defeating her own purpose.
As a woman of color, I’ve had to tell some of my “woke” white friends that sharing images of black and brown people being abused and mistreated might do a good job of stoking the outrage of their other white social media friends but it’s actually potentially traumatizing to people who actually know and love (and are) Black and Brown people. Trauma porn is real and people with PTSD are most likely to feel the impact. It hadn’t even occurred to them – they just wanted to get the word out to as many people as possible as quickly as possible. Being someone who isn’t inured to images or stories of trauma is not a bad thing.
Post # 13
Thank you all for sharing your thoughts, and I hear you that most of you wouldn’t say anything. To clarify a couple of things: I know that a lot of people misunderstand “trigger warning culture”, but to be clear- I’m not talking about necessarily needing to put a trigger warning on absolutely everything that may be upsetting, but am using “trigger” here in reference to things that are likely to cause PTSD symptoms like flashbacks or panic attacks to be triggered for people who have experienced trauma. But also, when it comes to posting really upsetting things, it seems reasonable and important to be considerate, no? I would think most people would want to be. I am not suggesting telling my friend not to post what she wants, or advocating for policing what people post in general, but slapping on a simple “TW: sexual assault” would let a reader/viewer know before they’re taking in the info what they’re getting into. In my case, I’m interested in what my friend is learning and would have probably chosen to read it later had I known what it was going to be, but instead, without the chance to choose and prepare for reading it, it did trigger my PTSD and sent me into an unexpected panic attack at work. I don’t blame my friend for that, but if she’s going to start posting about it regularly, I think maybe it’s responsible advocacy to just make that quick fix. I of course could choose to just avoid her stories and posts in the future, but there are a lot of survivors in the world and I’m sure I’m not the only one seeing and potentially being triggered by it, which is what prompted me to consider saying something. Just wanted to clarify those points. Thank you for your input.
Post # 14
TwilightRarity : thank you very much for sharing your thoughts! That’s where I was coming from with my question, especially regarding other survivors- and I completely agree that people should be thoughtful about what they share. “The real world doesn’t come with trigger warnings”- but we don’t control the “real world”, we do have control over our social media and how we use it. It’s such a simple thing to add that can prevent potential negative impact, I don’t understand why people have such an issue with it. I’m glad that you let your friends know how sharing posts like that without warnings impacted you/could impact others. It’s often people with good intentions, as you said, and from people who of course aren’t trying to do harm, but it can still be harmful. I hope your friends were receptive! Thank you again for sharing.
Post # 15
I disagree with PP. I think it’s totally appropriate to let her know that her post was upsetting and that you’d have appreciated a warning, especially since this is a friend and not a random. She is clearly well intentioned and I doubt she has considered the way her actions might effect others, especially since she is new to this field. If it were me, I’d want to know if something I was doing was upsetting to a friend and might be upsetting others. It’s not about being the PC police, it’s about being considerate of the very real responses trauma survivors can experience when exposed to certain graphic images or language. I imagine as someone who works in the field she is sensitive to that and would want to know that there are ways she could improve her delivery. It’s true, it’s helpful, it’s kind.