The reason I mention Wil Wheaton is that Wheaton’s Rule is very simple. “Don’t be a dick.” That’s pretty simple, right? So why are so many people incapable of grasping the concept?
Case in point: A member of a forum to which I belong recently made a comment describing being scammed by a mechanic as rape. This was triggering to me and to others, because it felt as if the most horrible experiences of our lives were being reduced to the level of being overcharged for a fan belt. When a couple of people said so, this person went on a rant about how our being triggered and hurt by it was our fault, because she was a survivor too, and it didn’t bother her. To this I respond: FUCK that noise! Just because it doesn’t trigger you doesn’t mean it’s not a trigger. It just means that it isn’t one of yours. To say that no one should be offended or hurt by something just because she didn’t see it as hurtful was incredibly self-absorbed, and to argue for the right to trigger others with her careless speech was completely out of line. When you step on someone’s toes, you say, “I’m sorry for stepping on you.” You don’t say “I have the right to put my foot there, and FUCK YOU if it hurts your toes.” There’s no such thing as the sacred right to say offensive things to others without being called out for it. Sorry, wrong number, wrong planet.
If you’ve survived and continued to have a reasonably normal life, more power to you. I know firsthand how hard that is. I still have those godsawful memory-nightmares in which I live through it all over again. And yes, I am triggered and deeply upset when people throw around the word “rape” like it wasn’t the most painful thing that has ever happened to me. And I don’t think I should have to apologize for that–I did nothing wrong, despite the way the rape culture in which we live likes to blame the victims, and I have fought like hell to get to the point where I am, where I can have male friends, where I no longer get a knot of panic in my stomach every time there’s a man between me and the nearest exit. I remember with perfect clarity what it was like to have someone I had trusted throw me down and force himself on me while I fought and screamed and begged him to stop. Yeah, getting overcharged by the mechanic is totally just like that.
Don’t be a dick.