Content note for flashbacks, child sex abuse
I remembered today the very first time I experienced a trigger. It would be more than twenty years before I’d have a word for the phenomenon.
I was eight years old and a sexual assault survivor. I’d told my mom, the police, and my school knew, too. My third grade class was in a room besides our classroom, possibly the cafeteria with the tables moved out and replaced with chairs. I’m not sure.
But we were there with one or two of the other grades watching some Christian kids movie like one of the McGee and Me tapes. Anyway, a character came on and he had the same first name as the man who had assaulted me. And I started crying. I asked my teacher to leave the room. I told her why this was upsetting me so much.
And she was mean to me in her response. She told me that since it was such a common name, one of the most common men’s names, that it was ridiculous for me to get upset every time I heard it. And she refused to let me leave.
And that, my friends, is why I use trigger warnings. Because triggers are being trapped in the worst moments of your life, unable to escape, and being told to shut up about your unbearable pain.