This essay examines the rhetorical moves made on all sides of the recent conversation on trigger warnings. Calling for accountability to survivors, it positions trigger warnings as one practice of consent. Though in practice trigger warnings bring up issues of censorship, they can be understood as a way for survivors to take their power back by telling a bit of their trauma narrative and requesting accommodations and accountability. Unpacking the histories and the language of trigger warnings reveals how our culture thinks of survivors and how far anti-violence movements have to go.

About the Author(s)

Kathleen Ann Livingston is a queer femme storyteller and community artist / organizer. As a doctoral candidate in the Rhetoric & Writing Program at Michigan State, she is working on a collection of nonfiction essays on consent in queer culture and communities.



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