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!

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?

12 Sex Ed Things That Aren’t Even About Sex

Even if you are pro abstinence only education (and you believe that it works) there are crucial things you can tell young people without even talking to them about sex at all. While I am mainly aiming for girls here, most of these topics do apply to young boys as well.

By the way, I am in favor of comprehensive sex ed far beyond what is listed below. These twelve items made it into the post because I think there is no excuse for not giving this information to young people regardless of your religious beliefs.

  1. Self Image. No matter what you look like, you are beautiful. This is so important, especially for young girls, at any age. Fat is not a synonym for ugly. Girls should be taught to love their body because this is an enormous measure of self worth for women in a society that places so much importance on how we look.
  2. Options for your period. It’s 2016, and disposable pads and tampons are not the only options anymore! Not only are there other options, but disposable pads and tampons are just about the worst choice for any woman these days. Girls should be provided with information about cloth pads and the menstrual cup, both of which are significantly less expensive, more environment friendly, and healthier by far than the disposable options.
  3. Gender identity. Most people are lucky enough to be born with the sex organs that match the gender they were assigned at birth. But not everyone’s gender is the same as their sex. That is an important distinction that seems irrelevant to those of us who are cisgender. But for transgender kids and teenagers, this conversation could save lives.
  4. Sexual orientation. Surprise! Not everyone is straight. Not all preteen girls start to like boys. And that’s okay, and it’s normal.
  5. How your body works. Even programs that sell themselves as comprehensive sex ed mostly only cover basic anatomy of the internal reproductive organs, and if you’re lucky it’ll be scientifically accurate. The vagina is not the only significant part of a woman’s body just because it’s the one the penis goes in. We need to know what are all the different parts we have and what they do, at least in the same way we understand that we have lungs and arteries and kidneys. What is the clitoris? Is it the same as the urethra? Also, why don’t my lady parts look like that porn star’s? Am I weird?
  6. What is virginity? Is it important? Can I lose it to a tampon? No, you can not lose it to a tampon. Your virginity is not defined by your hymen. If you have one. Also, what is the hymen? Where is it and what is its purpose? (Hint: it is not a layer of saran wrap buried deep inside your vaginal canal that is punctured the first time you have sex. If that were true, where would our period come out of?) Laci Green explains this expertly in her video, “You Can’t POP Your Cherry!” 
  7. Relationships. Even if you believe young people are not having sex, there’s no denying they are having relationships. They need to know about heartbreak, how to deal with it, how to move on. And please do not underestimate the amount of pain an eleven year old can experience from being dumped. Just because their bodies are small doesn’t mean their emotions are not strong.
  8. Abuse. Early warning signs of abuse. What are the red flags they should look out for when dating someone? What if you are being abused right now? How do you get help? How do you know if you are being emotionally or verbally abused, if it’s not physical? For more info, see Common-Warning-Signs-of-Domestic-Violence  and teen-dating-violence-factsheet-a
  9. Safety. It’s not just about condoms. It’s also about wearing a seat belt, and not getting into a car with someone you don’t know, or someone you do know who is drunk. For girls, often it’s about how to set clear boundaries, how to say NO, how to throw a good punch without hurting yourself.
  10. Consent. This should have been higher up on the list, really. What does consent look like? (Hint: it only sounds like an explicit and enthusiastic “Yes!”) When do you need to get consent from your partner? (Hint: always) Does it ruin the moment to stop and talk about things?
  11. Respect. Girls deserve to be respected by their partners. If someone does not respect you, get rid of them. You deserve respect.
  12. Sexual Desire. Whether or not you give kids information about sex, they need to know that it is normal and okay to have those weird and new feelings that they are experiencing. Especially girls. Even if you emphatically encourage young teens not to have sex, they still need to know that it is okay to want it.

If you are in favor of kids and teens knowing about sex – great! If you are not – at least give them the knowledge they need to be healthy, self confident, and not have to spend 200$ a year every year from age 10 to 60 on something they didn’t choose to have.