I have come across scholarship around violence quite frequently in my time at LUMS. It is imperative that students engage with topics (in and out of the classroom) that can be sensitive, challenging, or emotional. This includes topics related to war, trauma, ethnic/religious subjugation, and sexual assault. However, it is equally important to understand that these discussions do not carry equal weightage for all students. For some, these may trigger memories of unfortunate experiences. I have seen instructors and students discussing violence without paying heed to fellows around. We need to change this, we need to become more sensitive.
Here is a list that can help us plan better:
- Share your plans around the topic beforehand (for example, if you are teacher, you can send the reading with a brief statement that discusses your goals for that class).
- Add content/trigger warnings.
- Be mentally prepared for strong emotional reactions (be present and available).
- Do not put people on spot for sharing personal experiences (but invite people to share their feelings and thoughts).
- Provide debriefing opportunities (for example, stay a little longer after the class ends or schedule office hours).