It pains me that Coyne was able to include this statement:

    As a survivor of sexual assault, the student described being triggered while reading such detailed accounts of rape throughout the work.

But happily moved onto a sentence like this later in the article:

    All of that saddened me, deeply upset me, and brought me to tears. But I am glad I did it, for in a way it’s enriched my life.

There is a HUGE difference to purposefully seeking out "disturbing ideas" for your own education and shoving those ideas down the throat of someone who actually lived through one of them.

What if this was a different situation? Someone who had PTSD and struggled with memories of war. Would you find it okay to watch a professor vividly describe a horrific scene to this person, and then still find it okay to marvel at the beauty and splendor of your professor's words? When did we stop thinking about the victim here? When did it become the norm to say, " Well, I'm fine with the topic, therefore everyone should be"?

I don't agree that literature itself should come with warnings. It is a personal choice to read books and a personal choice to subject yourself to reliving the memories. Universities, on the other hand, are a different story. Coyne even mentions that the particular course he discussed was a requirement, so the student didn't have the option of opting out. Frankly, I'm not even a victim or survivor of anything, but I would be deeply troubled by a thorough description of a rape scene.

I remember one class I took where we did an analysis of a documentary on pedophilia. You know what my prof said? "If you aren't comfortable with the film I've chosen, please let me know and I can give you another film to study." That's it. I don't use this word often but this is literally the only thing he needed to do: give the option to opt out. In the particularly situation Coyne discusses, how hard would it have been to say, "Hey, we're gonna be discussing rape here, give me a shout if that's not cool with you and we can sort something else out"?!

We have lost sight of the fact that consent is present in everything we do.

posted by edricarica: 1400 days ago