Dear child eyes UK campaign
You really should listen when someone tells you what you're doing is triggering people,
So, on Sunday, kids arguing over a game of minecraft, husband telling me some office based anecdote I've heard a gazillion times, I click on the twitter app, and half switch off. We all know twitter's a funny old place at times, I still forget that, quite a lot. So, as I scroll down, I see an EVB post, that I don't fully get as I don't know the context, but it's suggesting to someone that the hashtag #rapemags, isn't really very nice. Woah, I log off "I don't wanna know what a rape mag is, sounds vile", and I slope off outside for a crafty fag.
And whilst I don't want to know what a rape mag is the lurid combo of memory and imagination is doing it's work...and I'm not even gonna type why was going through my head, as it seems ridiculous now, and I'm a bit embarrassed, but rationality and logic don't get much of a look in once anxiety has reared it's ugly head.
Of course, now I realise, that I'm heading towards a panic attack...normally I catch the little fuckers before they kick off, but imagination and memory had me distracted back there ("Jesus Christ, what if there's a rape mag, that he's written in? What if it's all written down somewhere?"). So now, the tight chest, the lead like legs, the numb arms, it's all there. And then I remember that at the mo I share a garden with my Dad, and he doesn't know I have panic attacks, he doesn't know why I have panic attacks, so what if he comes out into the garden now...and by now I'm stuck to the spot. So then, the spinning starts, and I'm trying to focus on a tree, but I can't, it's circling around my head and I start to think maybe I'm gonna pass out, or puke, coz that's how it works, once it starts, it feeds itself. I don't pass out, no one "catches me" having a panic attack, I get it under control and go back inside.
Much of the rest of the day involves me disappearing from time to time to get my anxiety under control, (I consider myself the head of the dept for discreet panic attacks). Then we move onto the night, husband departed back to his week digs for work, doors checked every ten minutes, knives hidden, a plethora of obsessive checking rituals, heightened awareness of every noise, odd moments of sleep, but mostly with nightmares worse than the sleepless pacing of the hallway.
And so it's Monday morning, I've got a meeting at a venue I've never been to, with someone I've never met. I arrive early- sometimes you have to timetable in those darn panic attacks, I survive the meeting (only had to excuse myself once to get my breathing and shaking back in check), tonight I'm reckoning on a bit more sleep, tomorrow I'm hoping I'll get the anxiety back under control, or if not maybe by Wednesday....until next time...
Being triggered doesn't just mean, feeling a bit sad for a moment, or not liking how someone's said something.
I can't speak for others, but I'm pretty confident I'm not alone here, being triggered means being thrown unexpectedly and totally off kilter, in every aspect of your life, for days at a time....feeling like you've gone backwards by years, and cancelling things in your diary in case you "lose it", and wondering if you're ever just going to be "normal"...and I've said all this, not to be self indulgent, although I'm aware it may seem so, but to try and put a bit more to that word "triggered", and just what it means....it's not just a phrase on twitter people use to disagree with you, it's real, and it fucks you over- and over again..
So, if someone says they're being triggered by your words, or wording, or actions. Or someone who knows their stuff in this field says that you're triggering people, it would kind of be, just nice, to maybe listen.
‹ An Open Letter to @ChrisDaviesMEP ‘Abusive relationship’. When did this become a thing? ›
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Thank you for sharing this honest account of your experience.
We have been told similar stories from our supporters who have experienced this exact suffering as a result of the magazines we campaign against. We have been asked by them to do this campaign and many use the #tag. We have contacted all retailers directly but they ignore due to lucrative contracts controlling displays. The magazines all have glorified sexual abuse stories on the front in every newsagents and grocery store. For instance, Tesco, Morisson’s, Asda and Sainsbury’s alone have over 4870 stores. That means that approx 20,000 mags like this are on display to children and survivors every single day. To mention the headlines would certainly trigger you and have done to many other survivors yet if we did not, we allow this material to flood our public places thus triggering many more. This means that we are all allowing profit making companies to trigger potentially thousands of people every day. We are also allowing them to teach children that sexual abuse is happy, next to smiley faces which is what distinguishes them from the actual news. They create a culture where such material is normal and to be gossiped or even laughed about. I am sure you will agree, we cannot allow this to continue.
Our #tag described the magazines exactly and was getting very fast results thus protecting thousands of people from the effects of triggering. We felt to call them anything other than what they are would be watering down the very serious issue of profiting from sexual abuse. We feel we are all silenced when we cannot use the words that describe the exact material we are fighting against. This is how huge companies get away with displaying such headlines because they know that we cannot say in public what they say. Child Eyes has said very clearly throughout our campaign, why not? Why should we be silenced when the issue is all around us? Why should we all allow this? There was a huge successful Twitter campaign recently to stop an internet crime (I do not want to trigger you by saying this although you may be aware). The campaign used a potentially triggering #tag and it saved thousands of people from witnessing and enjoying the material that was so horrific. I watched some for researched and was very ill for a week. Yet I couldn’t not research the issue.
To respond to one other point made. Our team are from a variety of social classes/backgrounds, we do not feel that any of our campaign is based on class values but is an issue for society as a whole.
We have taken your comments on board and we apologise for your experience as a result of seeing our #tag. This was never our intention.
We have now put a trigger warning on our page for any future material that we may have to use. The campaign on this is almost won. The guidelines are changed and all we need to do is make sure that retailers adhere. We will protect thousands of children and survivors from magazines that cause serious harm in public places.
It would be fantastic if you could also contact retailers about how such magazine headlines are triggering and how it affects survivors.
Thank you for taking the time to communicate with us. We hope that we can all work together to challenge media reporting of serious sexual crimes to reduce harm and suffering.