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As good as the article is, that diagram in section 4 really makes no sense.
Never understood "trigger warnings". Talking about rape, discussing rape, looking at it from rational and removed points of view is actually good for most victims. It helps them contextualize it and deal with it. Though admitedly listing to idiots justify it is maddening.
Most vitims (of anything) have triggers like a particular smell, a sense of isolation, a touch on the wrong part of the body when their minds is wandering, etc.
(sorry, just sorta bugs me all the "trigger warnings". I mean, for god sakes, the article says "RAPE" right in the title. If you can't figure out we are going to talk about rape....)
I think we discussed this before. The overwhelming hurdles a woman (or man) faces when the whole point of the sexual relationship is to push "vanilla sex" standards, to "abuse" (by the outside world's eyes), or even in some cases to "be raped" sorta. or enact that, anyhow. Saying "my boyfriend raped me" is hard enough to get anyone to care. Saying "I had had sex with three men that night, but said my safe word for the 4th who I didn't trust" is going to get zilch attention outside the community.
But as this is the second report you are showing me, sounds like within the community there are voices being raised. Though the responses are very blame the victim-ish. "know your partner well", "ask around". If people close ranks, neither of those will be very effective.
And I hadn't even onsidered the "unintentional rape" that goes along with her point on "miscommunication". That you *think* your bottom is enjoying something, and you want to give them a good time and push the limits, only to find out you read teh whole scene wrong.
I read a blog post entitled "Trigger Warning: Cathy Brennan". Then I understood. I suggest the concept gets appropriated for extreme idiocy so we can at least strap pillows to our desks in advance!
But I understand your frustration with the warnings. Whenever I read "trigger warning", the article invariable doesn't seem to go into that much detail. When I read "trigger warning: in depth and frank discussion of rape and abuse" I expect it to deliver on that promise (dear Loaaard that makes me sound like a terrible person, but you know what I mean) yet invariably it's the equivalent of "I was raped/abused, end of story" with very little supporting detail that wasn't available in the part described by the warning itself! If that sort of thing is enough to trigger you into a flashback or panic attack you probably have far, far bigger problems than can be solved by people sticking the phrase "trigger warning" at the top of their blog post. And then you also hear stories of people having flashbacks and panic attacks after reading something even though they were warned and the article title and abstract was very explicit, but not specifically with the words "trigger warning" - as if the phrase "warning, you may be triggered" doesn't have the exact same semantic meaning. I know we're not supposed to do the "victim blaming" thing but there are limits to how far I'll go to not blame someone for being an idiot.
I guess that's my problem. I do "victim blame" a bit in this context. Not cause i think women and men should "get over it", nor cause i think that they should not read things they want to read, but more because there is this view now, that society should be aware that what they write is or could be "triggers" to someone.
But I'm not kidding when I say most people in group talk about the dumbest things flashing them back. A room with a bed they "remember". A restaurant with asian cooking. Having sex with someone and finding yourself in a position that you've done together 100 times, but this one time makes you say "get off me". The human mind is really unpredictable. By the time you are able to read about and discuss rape, odds are, the word "rape" isn't going to do it.
But I see if you are going to write a really emotional, or first person point of view; if you are writing fiction that goes deep in to description; why it would be worth saying "this is more than your average discussion".
I'm just thinking that (more than?) half the time if the content of an article would trigger someone into a flashback, the warning itself would probably be enough too! Imagine a scenario where someone reads the phrase "trigger warning: abuse etc." and then starts thinking "perhaps I shouldn't read this, then, it'll bring back memories, that's something I don't want to relive oh I remember now... it was... shit..." and full-blown panic attacks just thinking about thinking about it. Yet, without that seed being planted there, perhaps they could have read the full thing without a problem. As you said, it's mostly unpredictable.
Formalising it as "YOU MUST PUT THESE EXACT WORDS AT THE TOP!!!" sort of bigs it up, it adds emphasis, it makes it a far more visceral concept. But a more subdued abstract that explains what you will talk about I think would be more of a reassurance to people. It would completely remove the expectation that reading about this stuff will cause you to have a panic attack - and thus, it enables open discussion that could possibly help people without sticking a big sign on top saying "FEAR IT!!! FEAR IT!!!".