Sex Education Season 2: #MeToo Trigger Warnings – A helpful guide

If you’re stoked for Season 2 of Netflix’s Sex Education, because you, like me, have been waiting a year for its release, you’ll want to get right on that. But if you’re triggered by discussions of sexual harassment and assault, you should be prepared for a major story line on this topic.

Now, I still think you should watch the second season! I’d hate for you to miss out on all the other great elements of the show for fear of being triggered. Since I personally am not triggered by this, and I wanted to watch the show twice through anyway, I’ve taken this small task upon myself. I’ve made a trigger-free watch guide in the hope of making this season possible to watch, even for those of us who have this particular trigger.

General guidelines: This guide will be most helpful if you are watching with another person who can tell you when to look away and when you can look back. However, it will also work if you’re watching alone and keep a close eye on the time.

Disclaimer: Please take everything written here with a grain of salt. These are not my personal triggers, so I can not guarantee 100% that the list I have provided will let you watch completely trigger free. I did my best but I might have missed something. I therefore encourage you to watch with a supportive friend or someone who has already watched the episodes who can help you through it and be there for you just in case.

What’s in this guide?

  1. A timeline of relevant scenes to skip, down to approximate minutes:seconds with trigger-free scene summaries so you know if there’s anything important you missed.
  2. Technical terms for the event and themes.
  3. Not trigger free: A dry, vague summary of the event and relevant issues the story raises.

If you are not sure if this particular story will trigger you, my recommendation is to have someone you trust read list element 3 above so you can suss out the severity of the event.

Additional trigger: Self Harm. There are two scenes which could be triggering because of self harm, and they are:

  • Episode 1: 32:07 – 32:40
  • Episode 6: 31:35 – 34:03

Timeline

Episodes 1 & 2

  • Clear. Line begins in episode 3.

Episode 3

General guideline

for this episode there is a helpful visual to cue when you should look away and plug your ears: any time you see Aimee carrying the pink cake.

  • 2:10 – 2:30 Intro. nothing really happens yet, Aimee sees the perpetrator.
  • 3:19 – 4:15 The incident.
  • 10:49 – 11:40 Cue: You will see Aimee carrying the cake but you can wait until Otis leaves before looking away. Safe when: you see Eric and Otis in the library. Summary: Aimee tells Maeve what happened. Maeve encourages Aimee to report the incident.
  • 15:34 – 17:10 At the police station. Safe when: you see Jackson
  • 24:16 – 26:22 Visual cue: Maeve and Aimee in an interview room. Talking to the police officer.
  • 28:37 This bit is clear. You see Aimee and Maeve getting a ride home with the cops, and there’s a cute lizard.
  • 31:44 Also clear. Continuing on the drive home, Aimee and Maeve discuss other story lines from the series and it is worth watching this bit.
  • 38:19 – 40:35 Cue: in the car, the cop asks, “is this you?” Aimee arrives home. Her mom is drunk and asks Aimee about her day.
  • 43:05 – 43:35 Visual cue: the bus. Aimee’s PTSD theme begins.

Episode 4

  • 5:35 – 6:20 Visual cue: the bus. Aimee has PTSD

Episode 5

  • 6:21 – 6:50 Visual cue: Aimee getting her shoes from the closet. Aimee has PTSD
  • 23:50 – 25:14 Cue: Steve opens the door for Aimee. Aimee has PTSD. It is worth noting that Steve is a loving, supportive partner to Aimee at every step of the way.

Episode 6

  • 35:50 – 36:27 Right after Otis: “Ah ha ah ha you want some vodka.” Aimee PTSD. What you need to know: Aimee breaks up with Steve.
  • 45:02 – 45:13 No explicit mention, but you see Aimee walking home alone and she’s sad.

Episode 7

General guideline

The main trigger scenes in this episode happen when the girls are in detention. Visual to cue when you should look away and plug your ears: when you see the girls hanging around on the green couches. Not all the scenes in this setting are triggery, just the ones that happen after 29:10. Exception: the first PTSD mention does not have this aesthetic.

  • 7:14 – 7:40 Aimee PTSD. Immediately after Maeve says “Aimee guess what?”
  • 29:41 – 30:13 When Olivia says “It just got interesting.” The girls are in detention, Maeve and Ola argue about Otis. Aimee is triggered and says what triggers her.
  • 31:05 – 33:45 SKIP THIS SCENE. Cue: After Jean (on the phone): “Can I come see you?” All you need to know is: The girls all share their own personal #metoo stories. The specific gory details are not important to the overall plot lines. It’s a beautiful scene, it contributes to the show and covers a wide range of experiences. You see the girls bonding and supporting each other and expressing their strongest selves. It’s important for people who don’t know much about this, or are skeptical of the validity of the #metoo movement – to watch. But if you’re the victim? It’s not directed towards you and you are under no obligation to see more of this. Safe when: “You know who loves ginger nuts? Eric Clapton.”
  • 40:16 I think this segment is safe to watch, but here are some things you should be prepared for: Olivia delivers a fun and interesting line that includes the phrase “non consensual penises” and that’s it. Then we have the smash scene. This is worth watching in my opinion because it is empowering and cute and badass, and personally I really enjoyed it. There is one brief mention of the trigger material, and here are the cues: Aimee says “I’m angry that I’m not good at baking cakes.” And then delivers another line about Steve. Then, in her third line, the incident and PTSD are referred to: **TW** “I’m angry that a horrible man ruined my best jeans, and nobody did anything, and now I can’t get on the fucking bus!”
  • 46:47 The girls show solidarity and support each other. To help Aimee through her PTSD, they all take the bus together.

Episode 8

  • Clear. Does not contain these specific triggers.

The Event

Technical terms for what happened: sexual misconduct. Basically, something of a sexual nature happened without consent.

Summary: Aimee is taking the bus to school when a stranger masturbates next to her.

The PTSD Theme

After the event, Aimee suffers from PTSD.

She is affected in the following ways:

  • She can’t take the bus
  • Sees/hallucinates the perp in random places
  • she struggles to be intimate with Steve

If you found this helpful, please let me know. Feel free to share. If you have a time correction or something I missed, please let me know.

Enjoy all the rest of the brilliance of this show!

Soft Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate chip cookies are my favorite sweet thing, and I like them soft and chewy, so that’s what these are. No chunks or raisins invading my cookies. I’ve also added some of my favorite variations below.

Variations:

Checkerboard – mix dark and white chocolate chips

Peppermint twist – put 1 cup of chocolate chips in a bag or container. Add 1 capful of peppermint extract (about 1/2 tsp). Shake it up and let it sit before adding to the batter.

Almond supreme – substitute 1 teaspoon almond extract instead of vanilla.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil / coconut oil
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 c applesauce
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 4 tablespoons almond/soy milk
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 package (about 1/2 cup) instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.
  2. Cream sugar into oil/shortening. Add milk and vanilla and beat until fluffy. Blend in applesauce. Then add dry ingredients and mix well. Stir in chips.
  3. Drop by teaspoon onto greased baking sheets and bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 8-10 minutes for chewy cookies or 10-13 minutes for crispy cookies. For extra soft cookies, take them out even if they don’t quite look done – they’ll keep cooking a bit outside the oven. Place on a cooling rack.
  4. Make a lot because they’ll go fast.

Epic Vegan Chocolate Cake

chocolate cupcake with rainbow frosting

Chocolate cake that is not too rich, light and fluffy, tasty as heck, and vegan. Bonus – no raw eggs, so you can eat the batter! It’s part of the experience.

This is the best chocolate cake in existence. Even before I started baking vegan I used to use this recipe.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon vinegar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 cup water OR instant coffee
  • Vegetable oil pan spray

Directions

  1. Preheat over to 175º c. Lightly grease one 9X5 inch cake pan. Vegetable oil pan spray works well.
  2. Sift together the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Add the oil, vanilla, vinegar, applesauce, and water / coffee. Mix together until smooth.
  3. Pour into prepared pan and bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 35 minutes for cake or 22-25 minutes for cupcakes. Remove from oven and allow to cool.

Best Vegan Vanilla Cake / Funfetti

Vanilla cake without the eggs is a challenge – but we can do it! Make the funfetti version, what are you, a grown-up?

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond/soy milk
  • Vegetable oil pan spray

Directions

  1. Preheat over to 175º c. Lightly grease muffin tins. Vegetable oil pan spray works well.
  2. Sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt. Add the oil, vanilla, applesauce, and almond milk. Mix together until smooth.
  3. Pour into prepared pan and bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 30 minutes for cake or 15-20 minutes for cupcakes. Remove from oven and allow to cool.

Fluffy Vegan Blueberry Pancakes

Vegan pancakes that fluff up properly are hard to come by – so I’ve adapted a classic pancake recipe with the vegan substitutes I’ve found work best.

Makes 6 medium-sized pancakes

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (OR spelt)
  • 3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar (OR brown/coconut sugar)
  • 1 1/4 cups almond/soy milk
  • 1/4 cup applesauce OR 1 tbsp ground flax seeds dissolved in 1/4 cup water
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons coconut oil (or vegetable oil), room temperature
  • 3/4 cup frozen (or fresh) blueberries

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Make a well in the center and pour in the almond milk, applesauce and 1 tablespoon coconut oil; add blueberries and mix until blended, lumps are okay. Don’t overmix!
  2. Heat a frying pan over medium high heat. Grease the pan with 1/2 tsp coconut oil. Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each pancake. Brown on both sides.

Issue 14.1 – Fiction

Proud to be featured in this beautiful publication.

Issue 14 - Fiction

In the beginning, God created heaven and earth. And God said, “Let there be love!” And there appeared before him a vast spread of playing cards. And God said to the archangel Azrael, “What is this?” And Azrael replied, “Your greatness, this is the game of Memory.” And God said to the angel, “How do we play?” And the angel explained the rules of Memory. And God turned over the first card and saw Adam. And he turned over another card and saw Eve, and they were a match. And God was pleased.

Then God said to Azrael, “How many cards are there?” and the angel replied, “As many people as ever will live on Earth.” And God said, “How many is that?” And the angel told him “It is Aleph Null.” And God said, “That is a large number.” And the archangel Azrael said, “Infinity is not a number.” And…

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Short Story Contest Finalists

This is really exciting!

We are excited to announce our list of finalists for our first Themed Short Story Contest! The finalists are listed in no particular order, and the winner will be announced on Wednesday, July 4th. Congratulations to all our finalists! We’ve so enjoyed reading your work!

Shades of Undecided by Colleen Rothman

You’re Here Now by Lisa Cupolo

Anygirl – Serbia – 1942 by T. M. De Vos

Hook Wounds by Katie Sherman

The First Lady by Shelly Lynn Stone

The Mystery of the Inner Workings of Life by Staci Greason

Things She Packed by Laure Van Rensburg

Memory Game by Liora Sophie

In the Aspens by Mary Robinson

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Aziz Ansari Acted Like an Ass, and Is Now Being Made to Feel Embarrassed For Acting Like an Ass

An article was recently published and in my opinion, incorrectly titled “The Humiliation of Aziz Ansari.” I would like to offer my alternative title: Aziz Ansari acted like an ass, and is now being made to feel embarrassed for acting like an ass.

His career is not over (or is it? If you have articles that show that he’s been fired from a show or hasn’t gotten another role since, please send them to me, I’d be happy to be proven wrong on this point), nobody sent inappropriate photos of him to his boss or his family*. The only thing that happened is that someone told a story about a date with him, and now the internet is exercising its right to call her a liar and explain to everyone why what he did is “not that bad.”

Are you mad yet? No? Well then, please keep reading!

I’m not going to link to the article that prompted me to write this, because I don’t want to give it more traffic. But here are some things it says:

Grace’s account is “proof that women are angry, temporarily powerful—and very, very dangerous.”

If you’re making this face right now confused emoji you’re in good company. I’m sorry, you needed proof that women are angry? Very, very dangerous – you mean like guns and big nuclear buttons? Temporarily powerful?

If anything, the article is proof that the opposite is still true – women still cave to the power of men, at the expense of their own personal safety and comfort. Some have argued that Grace didn’t say no – but she did say a lot of other things, all of which I would expect Ansari to have understood. He’s smart, you know – he wrote a book about dating. I even read it a little over a year ago. He’s funny, and he had some good ideas. So I honestly expected him to understand ‘Whoa, let’s relax for a sec, let’s chill.” To mean, I’m not entirely okay with what is going on here at the moment, and I need you to stop doing what you are doing so we can talk about what we are both comfortable with, and without me feeling pressured. Yes, I expect him to understand that. It’s not such a reach.

Do I wish that women could communicate more clearly and say “no” more assertively? Yes, I do. But do you know why we sometimes don’t? Because of fear of being beaten, or raped, or murdered, or sold into slavery. Real fears of real things that are, unlike women complaining on the internet, very, very dangerous.

Aziz responded to Grace’s account that he had no idea that she was experiencing things that way. Suppose he is being honest about this: this is still a big problem. It is this that I have argued over and over again that is the cause of so many cases of sexual assault; the not paying attention, the ignoring, the doing it anyway, in short – the entitlement.

If men were as scared to make advances on women as women are afraid of men, then I would be willing to sit at a table where someone suggests that women are powerful and very, very dangerous. Until then, though, it’s anybody’s guess how the author of that article drew that particular conclusion.

*The account is compared to “revenge porn” in the article that must not be linked.

Let Me Tell You What Ruins The Moment

 

I was on a date with this guy, and we were talking about hobbies. His is martial arts, so I told him about my experience learning and volunteering for IMPACT Israel.

Date: Rape protection for women? Lemme guess: Punch to the face, knee to the groin, run away as fast as you can?
Me: No.
Date: No? What else could they possibly teach?
Me: Well, of course they teach you a good knee to the groin, but it’s not just that. It’s also about setting clear boundaries.
He smirked while I demonstrated creepy and non-creepy ways a guy could ask me what time it is while waiting for the bus.
Date: So run away!
Me: I don’t want to, I’m waiting for the bus. I need to get to work.
He was skeptical about the idea that someone standing too close to you and making you feel uncomfortable was something that happens to women on a regular basis. He was impressed with the style of physical fighting skills I described, but the concept of setting verbal boundaries seemed to register with him like teaching women to be uptight and paranoid.
Date: Only creepy guys do that! I could recognize a creeper from a mile away!
Me: OK, fine.
Me: But not all guys are creepy, right? I believe most men aren’t creepy. Some men are good. Some guys are cute, and kind, and they love us. They’re boyfriends, husbands, dads. What are you supposed to do when it’s your boyfriend, who loves you, who is making you uncomfortable?

I can’t even count on one hand anymore the number of stories I’ve heard from close friends that go like this:

  • Boy meets girl
  • boy and girl engage in consensual romantic activity
  • boy initiates sex
  • girl says “No, I don’t want to.”
  • boy thinks girl doesn’t actually mean what she said
  • without really understanding that that is what he is doing – ends up raping her

WHY does that still happen?

Date: But what are you supposed to do? Am I supposed to ask before I do anything?
Me: Yeah.
Date: Everything?
Me: Yeah.
Date: Ask before every single thing? Pffffft!
Me: Yeah, why not? It doesn’t ruin the moment.
Me: But do you know what totally ruins the moment? Touching someone without her consent. Huge turnoff.

13344542_1157187760994513_3899135592563392909_nLike many other Internet junkies out there, I’ve been reading the story about the Stanford rapist, his father’s nauseating letter defending him, and the victim’s testimony. The conclusion I’ve drawn from it is that young people (probably everyone, but particularly young people) are so terribly misinformed about consent. If you are drunk, you can not give consent. And if you are not sure if the woman you’re with is drunk or not, what are you supposed to do? You’re supposed to not have sex with her. Because if you don’t know if she can give consent, why would you risk violating someone in that way? And if you aren’t sure if she wanted it, even if she said yes, or she said no but you think she meant yes and you aren’t sure if she means what she means – just don’t do it. If you’ve ever had sex with someone who has given their consent and not regretted it in the morning, then you know that consent doesn’t wear a mask. Consent looks like “Yes, I do want to have sex with you!” It’s obvious when someone is saying yes. Which means that if it’s not obvious, they are saying no.

So what do we do? How do we fix this problem? My younger brother initiated a simple campaign to try and make a difference. His campaign is called Free Consent, and its goal is to raise awareness about what exactly consent looks like. Their slogan is, “If it’s not yes, it’s no!” They held a conference just last week with workshops and guest speakers to discuss this topic, and they’ve visited high schools all over the northern part of the country to help spread the word.

13301500_10154178202265365_6235709197252153524_oAnd the best part is, here’s something you can do: join the campaign! Post a selfie of you holding a sign bearing the words,

“If it’s not YES – it’s NO!” #freeconsent

It’s not so hard to understand. And who knows? Maybe we can actually start reducing rape cases around the world. It’s worth a try, isn’t it?