Oxford University’s undergraduate law professors are providing “trigger warnings” before lessons about rape or violent crime so that students who might be made uncomfortable by such material can leave.
“Before the lectures on sexual offences — which included issues such as rape and sexual assault — we were warned that the content could be distressing, and were then given the opportunity to leave if we needed to,” one student said, according to an article in the Daily Mail.
This is, obviously, insane. Students are in law classes, presumably, because they have an interest in potentially pursuing a career in law. And the people in these fields — prosecutors, judges, attorneys, etc. — certainly cannot just up and leave the courtroom any time they feel uncomfortable.
After all, law jobs, by their very nature, in large part deal with things that are illegal — things which, by nature, are often uncomfortable or even downright disturbing. If you can’t handle talking about it in class, then you can’t handle those careers.
Now, this sounds like it should be obvious, but Oxford is far from the first place we’ve seen this idiotic logic at play. In fact, Harvard Law School professor Jeannie Suk wrote a piece in The New Yorker back in 2014 explaining that “student organizations representing women’s interests” have been so successful in pushing the idea that students “should not feel pressured to attend or participate in class sessions that focus on the law of sexual violence” that “even seasoned teachers of criminal law, at law schools across the country, have confided that they are seriously considering dropping rape law and other topics related to sex and gender violence . . . because they are afraid of injuring others or being injured themselves.”
This isn’t just annoying or stupid — it’s actually dangerous. After all, rape law’s being too “triggering” to teach will result in fewer people knowing how to prosecute rapists. It’s putting the misguided, abstract idea of achieving an emotional “safe space” above actual safety in a real, tangible way. Clearly, it’s time to wake up and take a look at our priorities — fast.