The Shield

Respect the comfort of trust

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Trust is like a blanket fresh out of the dryer.

When I put my trust in another person, I feel a protective warmth around myself, a soft shell to keep out the chilliness.

Imagine enjoying a sleepover and having late night talks with friends, ranging from absolute nonsense to deep philosophical discussions. Finally yawning and droopy- eyed, you fall asleep at 4 a.m.

Being triggered is like when friends yank your blanket away and yell at you to get up. It’s feeling suddenly vulnerable and wanting nothing more than to be wrapped in a blanket of trust once again.

Lady Gaga recently released the song “Til It Happens to You” accompanied by an unsettling music video depicting campus rape.

“Til it happens to you, you don’t know how it feels,” Gaga sings.

Sexual trauma will not happen to everyone in the world, but it is real. Not everyone has the typical horror story of violent or continuous rape, but it is real.

I am a survivor.

I was not violently abused or raped.

I was a little girl who put my trust in the wrong place, and all I wanted for years was the warmth of a blanket reassuring me the harsh cold wouldn’t bite me.

Not long before I started writing this piece, I was walking with my boyfriend down the sidewalk on campus, and some guys thought it would be funny to yell loudly at us as they sped by. They probably laughed at each other and went about their evening without another thought about it.

What they didn’t know is that I felt like the safety of being with my boyfriend slipped right through my fingers. A silly prank broke me down to a panic.

The problem wasn’t that I really felt like anything traumatic would happen. It was the loss of safety shoving me back to the time where I felt I could trust no one and was help- less in a world I didn’t want to be in.

I’ve met girls with stories like mine and like those depicted in Lady Gaga’s video.

Several of my friends have posted on Facebook that they were deleting their Snapchats because of the new “scary, horror face filters.”

With these filters, people can send you a video, smiling, then suddenly your friend becomes a terrifying, open-mouthed face that audibly screams. Personally, these filters don’t bother me, but I understand why some of my friends couldn’t deal with them. There’s fear in not knowing if you’d see your friend smiling or a vicious face.

Ultimately, these girls and I can’t shield ourselves from everything in the world that could possibly trigger us, but we sure as heck try to.

Snapchat probably didn’t consider that some people would be emotionally distressed by their scary filters, and I didn’t really expect them to.

Just be sensitive.

If you know something is a touchy subject, be careful about how you talk about it. If you’re posting a video with violence or gore, think about putting a warning before it.

We are survivors. We don’t need you to completely keep us from our triggers. We need you to respect the process of overcoming them.

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University of Southern Indiana's student publication
Respect the comfort of trust